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September 18, 2013

Behind The Scenes at Koolaburra

If you have been following my Magic Market Week trend coverage or if you adore shoes like myself, then you've likely heard of a brand called Koolaburra. Sheepskin boots and fashion forward styles with Western details are their specialty, and their footwear has been spotted on an array of celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Vanessa Hudgens. When I found out that this cool brand was based in Santa Barbara, I had to pay them a visit to learn more about their design aesthetic and fashion inspirations. 

Scroll down for a closer look at their down-to-earth corporate offices, located right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.

vintage Singer sewing machine
Koolaburra Santa Barbara offices

Laid-back vintage vibes and rustic design elements lend their offices a cool and relaxed feeling. Old records and knick knacks picked up on world travels decorate the shelves. That Singer sewing machine? It's over one hundred years old, and yes, it still works!

Koolaburra boots

Above, some of the brand's bestselling styles, including fold over boots and edgy embellishments.

State Street Santa Barbara

Office views include this scenic peek at State Street, the main drag in Santa Barbara's downtown district.

Koolaburra shoes

A peek at the spring 2014 collection above. Western details such as fringe (also seen on this fashion forward pair for fall) and stitching make their shoes the perfect accompaniment to boho dresses and faded denim. I've got my eye on the wedge sandals and the studded ankle boots, naturally!

Below, stacks of old records decorate the shelves in the office and add to the beachy, relaxed feeling.

Koolaburra Santa Barbara

I spoke with Kris Zacharias, footwear industry veteran and Creative Director of Koolaburra, about his design inspirations, favorite places to travel, and favorite blogs. In addition to street style, music is also an important source of fashion and design inspiration for him, citing Sonic Youth as a favorite. As he shows me a photo-rich mock-up of the redesign for the Koolaburra site, we discuss everything from camouflage prints to the popularity of the sneaker wedge. His passion and enthusiasm for the creative process is visible in the way he discusses his favorite styles and travel experiences.

Some of his top blogs? Shawn Stussy's blog, Travel Curator, and Man 1924, all of which are visually stunning. One of his top cities to visit for browsing street style and shopping? Tokyo, a place that's always been at the top of my travel to-do list. A closer look around the office reveals an array of interesting mementos picked up on his travels to Tokyo. Interestingly enough, he also lists Moscow as a place he'd like to explore.

Koolaburra Santa Barbara

Below, my favorite images from the fall 2013 lookbook, which fuses a strong bohemian energy with rich colors, bold prints (like in these beauties) and rustic treatments.

Koolaburra fall 2013 lookbook

Koolaburra fall 2013 lookbook

Below, a preview of my top picks from the spring 2014 collection, which is a nostalgic throwback to childhood summers away from home. Laser cut details, studs, feathers, soft leather, and fringe play a key role in the spring line. The laser cut detailing was actually inspired by vintage pin-hole punched tin lanterns.

Koolaburra Spring 2014 shoes

Shop some current Koolaburra favorites here:

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