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‘I’m not afraid of colour and a number of my designs incorporate sport inspiration and toned down futurism,’ Ashley Ebner of Toronto says of her footwear creations. (Tim Fraser For The Globe and Mail)
‘I’m not afraid of colour and a number of my designs incorporate sport inspiration and toned down futurism,’ Ashley Ebner of Toronto says of her footwear creations. (Tim Fraser For The Globe and Mail)

NOMINEE

Ashley Ebner gives shoe customers their say Add to ...

If the shoes fits, well, then why not just design it yourself?

That’s the idea behind Joker’s Closet, an interactive website created by Ashley Ebner.

The site invites women to custom design their own shoes, selecting colours from an available menu to be applied on one of six shoes styles, ranging from flats to wedges to strappy heels.

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“Joker’s Closet is a design house that gives customers control over placement of colour and textures on our seasonal designs,” says the 25-year-old, Toronto-based entrepreneur who studied footwear design at the London College of Fashion in Britain, graduating just last year. “Each season we will launch a curated palette of colours and textures. Customers can even go as far as selecting the stitching colour.”

The leather shoes are made by skilled craftsmen in Asia, and shipped back to customers in North America within three or four weeks. Each style, regardless of custom colour variation, costs $385 with two exceptions: The flats sell for $295, while a semi-hidden platform sandal with a wraparound strap and buckle detail costs $420.

That’s really not a lot of money for custom footwear if you know what women’s shoes cost these days. And Ebner knows. The self-confessed shoeaholic owns 117 pairs, and counting.

“I would describe my personal style as minimalist and playful,” says Ebner, who also took a course in 2012 to learn how to transform her hand-drawn footwear into three-dimensional images on her website.

“I’m not afraid of colour and a number of my designs incorporate sport inspiration and toned down futurism.”

Now that she owns the shoe shop, so to speak, she has even more styles to covet: “What I wear depends on my mood. Joker’s Closet allows me to decide,” Ebner continues. “I can be loud or humble depending on my selection.”

Before launching her own company less than a month ago, at the end of April, Ebner interned at MTV and worked as an events planner at the popular Toronto bar and restaurant, Lobby, when she was 19.

But her real passion is fashion, along with music, and at Joker’s Closet the two come together in a wild card of a shoe inspired by a favourite pop song, Take You Higher, by Goodwill & Hook N Sling.

“This song is flirty and playful, characteristics that influence my design process,” she says.

Follow on Twitter: @Deirdre_Kelly

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