Meet the hip hop inspired footwear designer – Cleo Barbour

Cleo Barbour- the designer the footwear industry has been waiting for

Cleo B – full name- Cleo Barbour is a young, footwear designer who is preparing to take the fashion world by storm. Her quirky and eccentric take on statement shoes is set to carve her a niche soon! Born in Cheshire, she completed a degree in Footwear Design after taking on the four year intense training course at the prestigious Cordwainers College London. After that, Cleo was lucky as she managed to bag herself an internship at Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence. Then going on to work with other well-known British designers like Nicholas Kirkwood, before launching her very own brand, CLEO-B, three years ago.

Her adventure with fashion world started at a very early age. “I think I have always been interested in fashion since I was a kid. My ambition was to design either accessories or clothing and then, as I got older, I realised that it is definitely accessories.  Finally, it became obvious to me that it is shoes I want to focus on”, she admits.

With her fast-moving career, Cleo’s dream may come true in no time! As a result of her unique creative flair, Barbour’s collection has a distinct signature style: bold, colourful and one of a kind design which is both wearable and feminine.“I learnt so much about Italian standards of shoe making”, which is no doubt obvious in her designs.

So far Cleo has achieved a lot. Her previous collections were well received by international media and Fashionistas alike, attracting several orders from the likes of Charlotte Dellal. So, what is her proudest moment so far? “Probably my London Fashion Week adventure. It is my third time, and the opportunity to have my own stand in The Exhibition is indescribable”, she says.

Cleo’s spring/summer 2012  ‘It’s Like That’ collection was inspired by hip hop. The collection comprises of full-on 80’s colours. ” RUN DMC lyrics had a big impact on this work because at the moment, hip-hop is my big obsession.” Most importantly,this collection shows the brand’s advancement into bag making, notably,The Cassette Pouches.

And what about her muse? Is there any particular person she has in mind when designing?  “No, definitely it’s not a particular person.  I think that when I work, it is a group of people I have in my mind:  funky women who search for something unique and want to express themselves with accessories they wear but if you want to know which designer I would most like to meet now, it would definitely be Vivienne Westwood.  She is a genius!”

As for the future of her label, Cleo is determined to continue to design funky, luxurious but on budget shoes and bags, so that one day she may be referred to as the ‘Queen of the shoes’. With such unique style, I am sure she will!

CLEO B is sold online and at Dover Street Market, 17-18 Dover Street, London. 




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