Drawing inspiration from the street style of Australia, England, China, and Italy, jet-setter Rachel Beagley’s stitched and studded shoes are anything but formulaic. After a stint as a buyer in Asia, the self-taught designer developed her own offbeat vision for what footwear should be. Walking the streets of London, she saw a gray area between heels and sneakers. “I wanted cool flats that weren’t ballet slippers,” she says, “And I wanted to make shoes that were reasonably priced but not cheap-looking.” She launched her own label, New Kid, in 2004. The unusual kicks are a welcome departure from exorbitantly priced ballet flats and platform heels of Frankenstein proportions: her booties, oxfords, and loafers are embroidered in colorful patterns and embellished with understated hardware.
After several seasons in China, Beagley recently relocated to Florence, in a country known for fine leather and craftsmanship. Though the move has brought a slightly more refined aesthetic (as well as higher-quality leathers and fabrics), Beagley maintains her unpretentious sensibility. "It’s fun to break the traditional Italian rules," she says. "There’s always a twist to every style — the silhouettes look familiar, but they’re not the same as everything else out there." Her fall collection is stocked at Gargyle and Urban Outfitters. Click ahead to see more.BEGIN SLIDESHOW