Jaime King On How Her Tots Inspired Her Cool Kicks Collab with AKID
At our Mamas Making It Summit earlier this year, attendees were treated to wise words of advice from entrepreneur and actress Jaime King and AKID co-founder Ashleigh Dempster. The friends and mothers of two recently decided to join fashionable forces, resulting in the coolest collab of kicks that will have parents wanting grown-up sizes for themselves.
Fresh off the heels of AKID's collabs with Kanye West's Kids Supply and Despicable Me 3, the LA-based brand's collection with Jaime King — whose indie film, Bitch, hits theaters next month — is comprised of seven unisex styles. Priced from $80 to $90, the range includes suede slip-ons and boots in fall-ready hues, with each pair accented by a detachable accessory. Standouts include a pair of olive green stompers with foxtails (perfect for crunching through fall leaves) and burgundy slip-ons adorned with pom-poms. (Convinced that your closet needs them now?)
Read on below to find out what led the two mamas to collaborate, how Jaime's kiddos inspired the designs, and more, then scroll through the gallery above to see the full lookbook — which stars King's two adorable sons, 4-year-old James Knight (seen below) and 2-year-old Leo Thames — and shop the cool kicks over on AKID's website.
How did the two of you connect, and what was the moment that led you two to collaborate?
Ashleigh: Jaime and her son James Knight have been fans of the AKID from day one; I am forever grateful for their support. When Jaime mentioned that she wanted to collaborate, it was a no-brainer. The entire process was seamless as we are very much on the same page from a design perspective. She really gets the brand DNA.
Jaime: My son loved the line [and] every single pair so much; anytime I tried to put him in anything else he would just flip out. I met [Ashley] because my friend Jenny Cox does PR for her and we have a lot of friends in common. I went to a couple of [events] and that's when we started talking and became friends. It was really actually kind of funny, when we were designing the collection together, we were first writing down ideas and [Ashleigh] was like, "OMG we are literally making that right now." She's always ahead of what every mother wants. Then it was about, "What are you not making yet?" It all just came so naturally [to] design shoes for tiny little feet.
Were there any specific people, places, or things that inspired the aesthetic and designs?
Ashleigh: It was all very much a "great minds think alike" scenario. The initial concepts we put together didn't end up translating when we moved into production. After multiple rounds of tweaking both the concept and the materials, we were able to perfect the line to create the final collection. I am very proud of the final product and want every single pair in my size!
Jaime: A lot of the color inspiration [came from a] fall palette and James Knight's things, but all still vibrant. He [and] Leo Thames are very much my muses. James Knight is all about pinks and purples [while] Leo Thames is obsessed with trucks, but they're both extremely creative.
Jaime, did your kids have a say in the shoe designs?
Jaime: James Knight was really helpful, I'm sure Ashleigh wouldn't have thought a 3-year-old would help me make my final selection! I would lay [all of the samples] out and have him touch each thing and choose. We had a whole bunch of options [and] it was agony, I wanted every single shoe — there was this orange and so many [other] amazing colors, it was really hard because I could go forever [designing].
When you were first brainstorming the styles, what were some of the "must-have" design elements?
Ashleigh: We both agreed that the collection needs to be fun and playful!
Jaime: I wanted it to be easy to put on; there was always an element of fun. Originally we wanted googly eyes but they wouldn't stick. We also wanted to design a shoe that would last forever — fast fashion is really harming our planet, so we [wanted everything to be] great quality so that you can pass them down to your other kids.
What's your favorite shoe style from the collection, and how would you style it on your little ones?
Ashleigh: I am a boot girl! Maybe it's my Canadian roots. We love a good boot! I would style a pair of the Foxtail ATTICUS boots on my little guys with a cool pair of baggy sweats or camo pants with a T-shirt. Simple with an edge!
Jaime: Right now we only have the purple pair because the line just launched online. [As far as clothes, James Knight] only wears Gardner and the Gang, which he loves.
Besides each other (obviously), who are some other women who inspire you?
Jaime: At the moment, my friend Erica [Chidi Cohen], who just wrote a book and opened a supportive space for women [called] LOOM [in Los Angeles]. In France they have crèches (affordable or free childcare services subsidized by the government) for example, but in the U.S. pregnancy is seen as a disability. I hope to see LOOMs all over the world one day.
Ashleigh: My close circle of friends in LA consists of a group of women that are each blazing their own way in their respective industries. It wouldn't be fair to name just one or two because they are all equally inspiring to me!
What's your current favorite "mom hack"?
Jaime: Crateful! [As moms] we try to do it all, but there's no such thing, [so] from now on we’re having meals delivered. Now there’s always food [in the house] and I have the nutrition that I need, the energy that I need, and something that is all good and organic.
Ashleigh: I swear by Uber and will often use them do drop-offs and pick-ups for everything and anything including work documents, birthday presents, and candy from our favorite shop when I'm stuck at work or home. Also, Glamsquad when you need it! And the big thing for meal prep (and just eating healthy in general) is having everything cut up in advance so you can just grab and go in the morning.