After working as a designer for the likes of mega-brands Michael Kors and Calvin Klein, Ce Ce Chin found herself looking for a change.
"I moved to New York to pursue a dream in fashion, but after several years of working in the industry, my need for true authentic expression and creative fulfillment had not been met," she says. "As I moved up in the industry and then began to earn a higher salary, I had a 'golden handcuffs' panic, that I would keep moving along, but still not realize my own dreams."
Luckily, the same fear motivated Chin to launch her collection of affordable footwear, 80%20. Now entering its sixth year in business, the brand—named for womens' tendency "to wear our favorite 20 percent of our wardrobe 80 percent of the time"—has become synonymous with stylish, on-trend footwear that never skimps on comfort.
"I'm always thinking, 'what do I want to wear in my own life,'" says Chin, whose hidden-platform heels have become one of her design signatures. "Like if I'm going to travel to Coachella to dance for days, what shoes will be my companion to take me there. I love the way shoes can take a woman across a neighborhood or across the world, there is something very romantic about that."
Of course, there's plenty of in-studio effort required for the final product. "There's a lot of inspiration boards, sketches and swatches," she says. "It all swirls into a non-linear storm of prototyping and revisions. Then the shoes come to life!"
Our favorite style of the season, the "Edie," a pair of peep-toe leather loafers with a summery appeal, perfectly capture Chin's easy sense of chic. "I love the preppiness of if it, but it’s more Japanese because of the toe shape and the open toe," Chin agrees. "The perfect pedicure flat!"
$99-$200 at www.8020nyc.com