Caroline, a Swedish transplant in Norway, is a lifelong shoe lover. She saw a need for transitional boots that could move seamlessly from one season to the next while showcasing clean and elegant yet edgy design with quality craftsmanship. She founded BALD. with her partner (pictured above). Here is her story.
Caroline, why shoes?
Growing up in a city with all four seasons, I couldn't just put on a dress every day and call it a day. I learned early on about the importance of jackets and accessories and shoes and that's sort of how my love affair with footwear came about. I eventually majored in shoe design and worked in the industry as a shoe designer for quite some time so shoes are a big and natural part of my life.
What were you looking to create with BALD.?
I wanted to create a mid-level brand that was still synonymous with high quality and with good design that could last several seasons. I felt like many brands tend to create a shoe collection as a sort of addendum to their main ready-to-wear collection and I didn't like that. I wanted shoes to be the focal point. I also majored in shoe design in college so it felt like a natural segway for me. I find shoes to be fascinating because they tend to be so technical and it's not just about making a great looking shoe, particularly boots. They are a whole challenge on their own.
Tell us about the brand's ethos.
Our concept was to aim for slow fashion. While there are a lot of brands pushing the envelope when it comes to recycled materials etc., etc., we feel that a great way to be sustainable and conscious shoppers is to buy a pair of shoes, take good care of them, and wear them for a very long time. Shoes and jackets shouldn't be something that you buy and discard after a few wears, unlike a lot of ready-to-wear.
We decided to center our production in Portugal which is a major production center for shoes. They're really some of the best in the business and we feel very privileged to be working with them.
What's the meaning behind BALD.?
Bald is the definition of "clean cut". Our aesthetic is very much based on defined lines and having a clean sheet per se. We added the dot because it refers to the fact that there's no fuss.
Tell us about the aesthetic and the signature tapered heel.
The designs are 100% me and what I want to wear. Obviously some styles will be more defined than others and while we remain true to our brand aesthetic, we must always keep commerciality in mind. We like to be daring in our design but it must always be functional and wearable. The Leya is our signature style and it's so very me.
When we started designing, I was quite inspired by the cowboy look although I would say we are definitely more rock chic than Western. I played around with the design quite a bit and one day we decided to twist the heel and we loved it.