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 Ms. Barnes in her new Fall 16 collection shearling and suede pumps.
Ms. Barnes in her new Fall 16 collection shearling and suede pumps.

With a degree in Math + Engineering, ANDDDDD an MBA {yes girls}, Ms. Tiannia Barnes was well on her way to becoming a superstar in Corporate America. But one day fate would change all of that and now Ms. Barnes can add Shoe Designer to her roster of capabilities.

Launching her namesake line only 2 years ago, Tiannia says “that shoes chose her, she didn’t choose shoes.” She began sketching shoe designs, in full color, at random places like restaurants, at home, wherever and whenever she felt inspired. She eventually shared her designs with friends who were fully supportive and encouraged her to take the leap.

After endless research, she landed on a shoe design school in Cleveland, Ohio – nonetheless and begin an intensive class inclusive of pattern making, pattern cutting and assembly, and finally manufacturing.

Her shoe aesthetic is fun, sophisticated, edgy, and distinctive. The fall collection features a fur ridden ankle strap sandal for goodness sake. Her shoes have been seen on platinum recording artists Maddie and Tae, actress Sarah Gadon and more.

Ms. Barnes is a force to be reckoned with. As she maintains and grows her shoe business through her showroom and website Tianniabarnes.com; she still works in Corporate America and juggles both those acts all while being a mom.

After chatting with Tiannia we learned that with a little bit of faith, focus, and the relentless pursuit of passion, you can achieve anything.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the shoe show.

From The Bottom Up!™: Who inspired you to become a shoe designer? 

Tiannia Barnes: The things that inspire me are just my travels. I get a lot of inspiration from different colors and cultures. The thing that really pushed me was internal – it was finding my passion and I decided to pursue that and it led me to shoes.

FTBUP: What were you doing prior?

I’ve worked corporate America as an IT Program Manager. I continue to work in my current career and as I work on my brand full-time until I am able to make a complete transition. Building a brand, being a mother, and working a full-time job requires extreme focus and balance.

FTBUP: What is your design aesthetic?

TB: Classic foundation, with a touch of timelessness and boldness. Each of my shoes have to have some edginess to them and a standout detail to bring them out. If you look at each and every single one there is some bold detail that brings out the shoe to bring out and express what I really want in my line.

FTBUP: Out of your collection, what is your favorite style?

TB: I love them allll. Tough question. My favorite is my flat, in particular the leopard print option. They are so comfortable and can be paired with anything, a red suit, a green suit or jeans and t-shirt and still look fly. I like the unexpected. I love the gold addition at mid-toe vs. cap-toe which is so different. I walk around the city and I see people looking at this shoe – even men, who compliment me on it.

I am also in love with the shearling right now. I wish it was on a runway show right now for fashion week, that would be a great win for me.

FTBUP: Who are your style influencers?

TB: I love fashion all together, but I love Gucci. They’re very timeless. You can buy a Gucci shoe today and still wear it 5-6 years from now. I love Nicholas Kirkwood, he’s pretty awesome and I like Giuseppe Zanotti because he steps outside the box with some of his designs.

FTBUP: How do you see your brand evolving within the next 5 years?

TB: I would love for my brand to be internationally known – Dubai, Paris, London. I travel a lot and that’s where my inspiration comes from so I would really love to see my shoes on my travels.

FTBUP: Why shoes?

TB: Shoes chose me, I didn’t choose shoes. About 4-5 years ago I just started raw sketching; the shoes started coming to me, I would sketch them anywhere on napkins, pieces of paper etc. I’m not an artists by trade, I have degrees in Math and Engineering and an MBA, but the shoes were calling me. I sketched them exactly as you see some of them here, in color and as they were designed. I started showing my friends and they were really into it. I had a vision and put it on paper. So I decided to start researching shoe design schools and looked here in New York and of course it was very expensive. At that time it was more of a hobby, but I love to learn and wanted to take my skills to the next level. But I found a school in Cleveland, Ohio believe it or not and the instructor and I really hit it off. It was pricey, but I saved the money. My instructor gave me a one-on-one experience and I left for an intensive immersive program for 10-12 hours a day where I learned pattern making, pattern cutting and assembly, and manufacturing. I made every shoe from hand. Once everything was done, I said ok this is it. I felt like God was pushing me towards this. And now I am living my passion and walking in my destiny. I believe my purpose is providing inspiration and that is why God is accelerating my progress.

What was your first shoe?

TB: The Jackie – named after my mother; The Pearl – named after my grandmothers; The Regin – named after my sister.

 FTBUP: Describe Tiannia Barnes in three words.

TB: Passionate. Adventurous. Intellectual.

FTBUP: What’s your process?

TB: I get up and mediate and let my day flow. It’s all about your spirituality, relinquishing control and letting things flow. I just try to figure out what I am doing. But I let it flow.

FTBUP: Who is the Tiannia Barnes woman?

TB: She is a very fabulous woman. She is a go-getter who is very confident. Her shoes add on to her style. She can be a stay at home mom or a CEO. A light follows her. She is stylish and fab!

Here’s a sneak peak at Tiannia Barnes Collection included whats coming for fall…

Keep up with Tiannia on IG @TianniaBarnes and stay shop her collection on TianniaBarnes.com.

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