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MEET THE DESIGNER: MANIMAL

Manimal
Kristen Lombardi SHOP ALL
Growing up, Kristen Lombardi and her siblings got to pick out a new pair of moccasins every summer on the family’s trips to Maine, where they would visit at a store that specialized in the time-tested footwear. “I really loved going there—the smell of leather when you walked in,” she says. “And the guy who ran it was so cool. He was this rugged mountain man, and I thought, ‘That’s what I want to be.’ Just like every little girl!”Though it would be awhile before Kristen began her own career making moccasins and leather-and-suede accessories, she was busy creating things from the very beginning. “My mom is a sewer—she makes custom curtains—so I grew up in the studio helping out with scraps. That was play,” she explains. “I don’t ever remember learning how to sew. It just happened. I just knew how to sew on an industrial sewing machine.”It wasn’t until 2004, after she had gone to art school, attempted an organic denim line, and visited an Apache reservation during a trip to the Southwest, that Kristen started making shoes. Now, as she enters the mommy phase of her life, she’s making them in all sizes—and hues. “With children’s items, you can use a little more color and get a little weirder. We have to dress a certain way, but kids—they can do whatever.”And, children’s products aren’t her only new frontier: Having mastered the art of the sole, she’s also become more excited about creating other animal-hide accessories—jewelry, belts, and whatever else she thinks up next. —<em>erica</em> READ MORE


Growing up, Kristen Lombardi and her siblings got to pick out a new pair of moccasins every summer on the family’s trips to Maine, where they would visit at a store that specialized in the time-tested footwear. “I really loved going there—the smell of leather when you walked in,” she says. “And the guy who ran it was so cool. He was this rugged mountain man, and I thought, ‘That’s what I want to be.’ Just like every little girl!”Though it would be awhile before Kristen began her own career making moccasins and leather-and-suede accessories, she was busy creating things from the very beginning. “My mom is a sewer—she makes custom curtains—so I grew up in the studio helping out with scraps. That was play,” she explains. “I don’t ever remember learning how to sew. It just happened. I just knew how to sew on an industrial sewing machine.”It wasn’t until 2004, after she had gone to art school, attempted an organic denim line, and visited an Apache reservation during a trip to the Southwest, that Kristen started making shoes. Now, as she enters the mommy phase of her life, she’s making them in all sizes—and hues. “With children’s items, you can use a little more color and get a little weirder. We have to dress a certain way, but kids—they can do whatever.”And, children’s products aren’t her only new frontier: Having mastered the art of the sole, she’s also become more excited about creating other animal-hide accessories—jewelry, belts, and whatever else she thinks up next. —erica

BEHIND THE SCENES

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Inside Job Kristen Takes us to Work

And makes us want our own leather scraps to experiment with.

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Where Kristen Lombardi Looks for Inspiration

Sometimes she heads to a casino.

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