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Jessica Rich and Zerina Akers

Source: Jessica Rich / Jessica Rich

Anyone who has ever stumbled around the club looking like a baby deer knows how important it is to choose the right shoe. “There’s that pitch between the base of the foot and the heel, and that means balance,” stylist Zerina Akers explained to HelloBeautiful.  

Jessica Rich, one of Akers’ favorite designers, gets dressed from the soles up. “I feel as a woman that’s the first thing,” the shoe designer told HelloBeautiful. 

“Because the way you walk into a room is so important for all of us.” 

Rich has worked her way to becoming a high-profile shoe designer. Her work has graced the feet of Chloe Bailey, Ciara, Serayah, Jordyn Woods, Muni Long, Issa Rae, Rita Ora, Lil’ Kim, Ashanti, Angela Simmons, and more. 

Her work caught the attention of celebrity stylist and Emmy award-winning costume designer Akers who teamed up with Rich to create a capsule collection of designs designed to make a statement with increased comfort. 

Jessica Rich and Zerina Akers

Source: Jessica Rich / Jessica Rich

Not only do the shoes have carefully crafted pitches, but the brand also offers heel tip replacements that can keep consumers strutting in mint condition for seasons to come. “I’m giving you more comfort this year because the girls are asking for comfort,” Rich added. She listens to feedback and understands the need to “work with your client about what works best for them.” 

The collection “really speaks to different body types,” according to the designer. Nadia, a jeweled sandal available in black and gold, can be worn at any size. Its ties can go up the leg or rest gathered around the ankle, allowing for different styling and increased comfort for larger bodies. 

“There’s some secrets to it,” said Akers, who learned the angles it could be tied at during their photoshoot. 

Jessica Rich and Zerina Akers

Source: Jessica Rich / Jessica Rich

The collection also includes a pair of Barbiesque pink heels that Rich describes as “the happiest color for women.” The shade of the ZAZA heels ($275.00) has been a favorite of hers for years though she said, “I’ve never really played into it.” She put her signature touch on the design by marrying her transparent elements with fluorescent nylon swatches that pop off the screen of the brand’s website. 

Another design in the collection, the Imani mule ($305.00), has an effortless slip-on design. Akers, who partnered with Mattel on a group of limited edition dolls, called the ZAZA and the Imani, the “perfect kind of Barbie doll shoes for the summer.” 

Imani Shoes

Source: Jessica Rich / Jessica Rich via Emily Blair Media

The iconic shade is all the rage now, but it has always added the perfect pop of color for fashionistas. “This is a lifetime collection,” said Rich, who sees the styles playing off one another. 

“The thing is about shoes, they really speak to your character,” Akers told HelloBeautiful. The Black Owned Everything founder sees shoes like the “ultra-feminine metallics” in the collection as having the potential to “elevate anything.” 

“You’re in jeans and a white tee? That shoe is going to set it off.” 

Rich, who dreams of Rihanna and Lori Harvey popping out in her designs, is eager to help her consumers stand out in new ways that suit their needs. 

“I’m excited to evolve as a designer,” she said. 


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