Felicity Cooney brings the age-old technique of leather crafting alive to create sustainable sandals and bags. The namesake label designs leather pieces, sourced from a local Brisbane tannery. Felicity discovered her passion for leather crafting through her studies at New York’s prestigious design school, Parsons. Each design is carefully handcrafted and perfected in her Sunshine Coast studio. After honing her talents at a fashion label in New York, Felicity has returned to her Australian roots and is exploding onto the design scene.
TEO: What inspires your designs?
Felicity: The amazing materials I find; beautiful coloured leather sets me rolling and I just have to design something!
What does your creative process involve?
I usually source the leather first and then sketch the shoe. I always design something I would want to wear. I make a pattern, cut the pieces out and assemble them. I find the construction process very meditative.
When did you know you wanted to focus on leather?
I have always been interested in shoemaking. I started collecting vintage cobblers’ tools and eventually had an amazing collection. When I decided to start my own label I just knew it was going to be shoes!
How do you ensure your designs are sustainable and follow ethical practices?
I didn’t want to produce my own label within a factory or sweatshop. I create my pieces in a studio to follow the ethically made principle behind my label. I can’t ignore the importance of sustainability as a designer—small changes will eventually make a huge difference to the environment.
How did you decide where to source the materials for your label?
One of the hardest things about leaving New York was losing contact with many amazing suppliers—but it is a pleasure to work with local Australian businesses. After exhaustive research I found great leather suppliers in Queensland. I’m still looking for someone who sells cool zippers!
How would you describe your time studying at Parsons?
I loved my time at Parsons! It was incredibly challenging and competitive, which allowed me to hone my craft as a designer.
What label did you work for in New York?
I worked for a swimwear label called Solid and Striped. It was amazing to see the label flourish throughout my time there, and to celebrate each success as a small team.
How did you get your label off the ground?
The support and love from my friends and family helped to begin the label. It officially launched in May 2016, so we are very new but delighted to have our customers respond so brilliantly!
If you could have anyone in the world wearing your sandals or using your bags, who would it be?
I love the style of Yasmin Sewell. I would be absolutely thrilled to see her in a pair of my sandals.
What’s next for the label?
We are so excited to participate in the the Brisbane Finders Keepers Markets in November.
Find Felicity Cooney on:
Photos: Rachael Baskerville