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Thom Solo Has Ambitions as Big as the Heels He Designs

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In Behind the Brand we uncover the stories behind New England's brightest emerging brands and look ahead to what their future holds.


A style from Thom Solo's Solestruck capsule collection, via

Thom Solo, a 24 year old Newton-based shoe designer, may be young—but he has already learned that networking and social media are the key to big time success. This School of the Museum of Fine Arts graduate applied his background in wood carving, plastic molding, and leather work to footwear, starting with a humble Aldo shoe and quickly building his brand. From his teen experiences in New York nightclubs to the endless scroll of Instagram feeds, Thom accumulated the contacts and mentors that would place his shoes on the adventurous wearers that they command.

Known for his towering flower-embellished and cutout stilettos, the designer's next collection—titled "Conte des Fees," French for "fairytale"—will keep heel heights to a wearable five inches. While the first two collections said "it's okay to be avant garde every day," the next will aim to be slightly more commercial without losing the sense of fantasy his brand is known for. Following a capsule collection for Portland, Oregon-based e-retailer Solestruck, which sold out in two days and was produced entirely by hand, Thom has learned lessons in scalability, subsequently employing 3D printing in his upcoming work.


A first look at one of the "Conte des Fees" styles

Like his earlier collections, "Conte des Fees" will interpret characters through footwear, pulling inspiration from mermaids, crystal queens, and unicorns. From a breathable silicone ankle boot with a fish hook-shaped heel to thigh high black leather boots with a hoof and unicorn horn heel, the shoes are a departure from the typical Disney princess roster. Rather, they should fit in with the darker world of soon-to-be-released blockbuster Maleficent—understandably, Thom found inspiration in Lana Del Rey's "Once Upon a Dream" song from the movie's soundtrack.


A screengrab of Thom Solo in Britney's "Work B*tch" video

Thom always envisioned his footwear on otherworldly celebrities and the pages of high fashion editorial shoots. He was catapulted last year when his shoes made an appearance in Britney's "Work B*tch" video—a continuing upward trajectory that just this week landed a pair on Lady Gaga. Thom plans to release his new work this summer, and in partnership with a Los Angeles showroom, don't be surprised if you see his celebrity following grow.
· All Behind the Brand posts [Racked Boston]
· Thom Solo [Official Site]