Hey guys and gyals, welcome to the fourth installation of Shoe Story. This month, we took a trip to Bedstuy Brooklyn to raid the closet of Ain N. Smith, Key Account Manager and Merchandiser of Designer Collaborations at Puma North America. DAMN, that’s beyond a mouth full and with a title like that, you best believe we were expecting to see some ‘stomp and shout’ worthy chaussures – and that’s exactly what we got!

Ain has been fiercely dedicated to fashion all of her life and has been specializing in footwear for almost a decade. She’s ‘clicked her heels’ at some of the top retailers in the country, either working the floor as she did at Nordstrom during college or in the corporate ranks as a Men’s footwear buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. Because of her love for fashion, Ain’s style is not only uniquely hers, but its also daring. She isn’t afraid to try new things, which made this closet raid one of my favorites thus far!

I’ve never seen a shoe collection that was so full of life. I’m talking textures on textures on textures – colors on colors on colors. This girl has everything from Velvet Gucci Sandals to Python Nicholas Kirkwood to DKNY Runway exclusives that look like Ostrich leather. Bounce over to the other side and you get two-tone Pierre Hardy Knee Boots, Red Suede Giuseppe Zanotti Ankle Strap Sandals, Metallic Brian Atwood Sandals and Pink Alexander McQueen Collection Puma’s, just to name a few.

And I couldn’t stop there! Digging through her accessories and clothes, we found a vintage handbag made from an Armadillo who’s name is Armando, a custom Jaguar hat and an Ostwald Helgason ‘Humping Dogs’ sweatshirt in the girliest of shades – pink and green. There was so much to devour and so little time, we already know we’re going to have to get ready for round two with the texture queen.

In the mean time, checkout the interview and satiate over her wears. Jouir…

Put your ideal outfit together, where do you start and what are you wearing? What is it composed of?

Honestly, From The Bottom Up! I definitely start with the shoes and then I work my way up. Most of the time I’m looking for comfort of some sort – not the sort of comfort you look for when you have to run around, but comfort in how I feel that day. Who I want to be that day. Shoes have been a long time interest and passion of mine.

Name your top 5 fav shoe designers?

Hmmm. That’s hard I don’t know if I can name a top 5 – ugh I don’t know. Let’s see, I’ll start with Alexander McQueen. I don’t own a pair of his shoes, but he’s been my favorite designer for a long time and I think his aesthetic represents my style in general. A lot of edge with a bit of sophistication. Clean, but interesting in detail. I enjoy the collection as a whole. Even as Sarah Burton has taken over, from the footwear to apparel, it’s a top choice for me all around. For my other designer choices, I would have to say, Nicholas Kirkwood, Amelie Pichard – she uses interesting materials. Her collections are small, but she’s doing something very fresh. I’d also have to say Brian Atwood, both of his collections and Pierre Hardy. His shoes are quirky with interesting layering detail, but they always have an identity.

Whose shoe closet would you love to raid?

Oh my gosh – Imelda Marcos! Minus the tax evasions {Laughter erupts} She has over 1,500 pairs of shoes!! Then it would have to be Rihanna who is SUPER into fashion and footwear. Her collection ranges from sneakers to couture with ease and versatility. Solange’s closet would be great. She also does more interesting shoes and something you wouldn’t normally see like quirky heels – things I immediately identify with. Finally, Anna Dello Russo. She’s one of the few people who can get away with so many different ‘styles’ which she ultimately makes a style all her own because she’s not limited!

Define your style in three words?

Just three? {ME: It doesn’t have to be just three} Ok – All Or Nothing. I’m the edge of two extremes. I’m either in all black or a completely clean palate or I’m in every single color of the rainbow and layered with accessories.

If your shoes could talk, what would they say?

“HELP.” This New York concrete is hard on shoes. I take them home and put ‘em in their boxes, but its hard.

So you’re a shoe, what’s your style?

For one shoe? Stated with disbelief that she can only be one shoe LOL {ME: you can be as many pairs of shoes as you want? What are they?} One pair is black, dominatrixy, not a big platform, but sexy. The other is colorful and playful one or more different fabrics with straps that lace up. Maybe they lace up all the way. The edge has to be there, even if its quirky.

How important is it to own great shoes?

Extremely important. A great pair of shoes can last you a lifetime. People underestimate that. Sometimes you will also mess up your feet if you have not so great shoes. Its not about price. I have less expensive shoes that are great. I work in the footwear industry and I have for years, so I understand a lot about how they are made and what makes them great. Its not just the name. Some of the shoes I own, whether they are designer or not, I love them all. There is a reason why they exist in my collection.

If you were stranded on an island, what three things must be with you?

Any three?? {ME: Yes. Any three} OK definitely a book. Something I can read over and over. Maybe it has pictures. Maybe it’s a fashion book, but it has words too. Pictures of family and friends and a sewing machine. {We both bust out laughing} LIsten, I have to be able to make clothes {ME: what are you going to make clothes out of…leaves?} Yes! What do you think fabric is made out of? {With a complete DUH face looking at me as if I am complete crazy – by the way I do KNOW this lol it was just funny} They’re made out of leaves and trees. Textiles come from the earth. As long as I have a way to create fashion then…I am full.

ME: Now its time for the flash round, are you ready? Ain: No LOL.

Glossy or Matte? Matte

Faux or Real? Real {with a stank face I might add and an ‘as if’ tone}

Paris or Italy? Paris

Here’s a sneak peek of this awesome and audacious shoe collection, full of love, life and texture. Indulge and enjoy:


Felt, Velvet, Mayan Mask, Bunny and Gucci.


Shining star. Brain Atwood laser cut sandals. 


Putting it all together. There goes that sewing machine.


Leaning Tower of Pierre..and Kitty. 


Spending ereythang on Alexander Wang.


Color block. Miu Miu.


Moroccan Dreams with Nicholas Kirkwood python pumps. 


Hanky panky. Ostwald Helgason. 


These transported me to the islands. Alexander McQueen for Puma. 


We <3 Customers. And she loves, Pierre Hardy, Prada and Giuseppe Zanotti. 


Live. Life. Laughter. 


Fashion abounds. Jaguar, Red, and Shades. Shoes by Zara. 


Fair Story. Puma, Christian Louboutin and Alexander Wang. 


Line up!


-800-call Gucci and Bunny.


Rangs and thangs.


Bi*TCH My shoes scale the walls! What about yours? Clockwise from top: DKNY Runway exclusive – NEVER sold in retail she owns one of the few pair worn by models on the runway, Vintage Armadillo Purse aka Armando, Prada Sandals, postcards from museum visits and Giuseppe Zanotti Red Suede Ankle Strap Sandals. 


DKNY Runway exclusives.


Armando the Armadillo. 


Prada snake skin sandals. 


Fall for joy.


“I’ve been shopping all my life and still have nothing to wear” says this closet. 


Cool selections from Puma. 


Topping it all off. 


The sophisticated lady in her favorite Givenchy shoes. 

You can’t keep up with Ain, but I can. Ha! LOL Just kidding guys and gyals. Follow her on Instagram @ain_nai.

And if you want to try and get your shoe game tight, like Ain’s, the best recommendation I can give you on that is to SHOP – everywhere, anywhere, and often!


1 comment

  1. November 21, 2014
    Aunt Dot

    Love that girl, although I’m partial, I’m her aunt. She has a big closet and a big heart.


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