Name: Aimée Louise
Country: United Kingdom
Instagram account: @aimeelouisebotanicals
My name is Aimée Louise and I’m artist based in Deal, Kent, UK.
I moved here about 5 years ago after working in London in the Theatre and antiques fields and finding that days were going by so quickly with the grind of city life.
Part of my upbringing was on the Suffolk coast and as I approached 30 I decided I wanted a calmer life and to go back to living by the sea. I came across Deal quite sporadically walking one day with family and it reminded me of where we used to live. There was an instant feeling of familiarity and freedom and before I knew it I was living here with my dog Wilfred. Moving to a place where I knew no one might have seemed daunting but for me it was a life changing move. It’s an informal and sociable town where harmonious coincidences often occur. I will forever be grateful for the friendships I’ve made here and how supportive the community is.
It can be bleak and quiet in the winter months, but I love that. Being so close to the sea, seeing the horizon everyday has had a grounding impact and helps to order my thoughts for the day and will always encourage me to believe anything is possible.
Spending more time in nature as I do everyday, either in my cottage garden or on walks with Wilfred has been hugely beneficial for me. You're exposed to the elements living by the sea, you feel the seasons and become aware of the slightest change. The natural world energises me and gives me great comfort. I think embracing the slower pace of life, even though it can be financially challenging at times, has made me cherish the simpler moments.
Now, I’m very much led by the seasons. During the Spring and Summer months I document my own garden and surrounding landscapes, collecting and drying flowers and grasses which I study and draw and use in my Christmas wreaths that I sell locally.
During Autumn and Winter, my focus shifts slightly to the darker skies and the moonrises. The flowers I have collected over the Summer become botanical specimens to study and draw from. I use dip pen and fine line ink pen detailing the twisted, preserved structures of the once living blooms. It can be a peaceful time spent in the studio.
As my work is hugely inspired by nature, I try to be as eco friendly as I can be. I always try to use the materials around me that I have in the studio and make as much as possible from scraps I have before I need to buy more, which is sustainably sourced. This is apparent in some small runs of cards I make using dried flowers or reusing drawings to use as collages. I also want a portion of my work to be available to everyone, so all my cards are hand drawn and signed, little original drawings you can keep and perhaps frame if you like.
Going forward, I would love learn how to make natural inks from plants and make paper from studio scraps. There’s so much to learn and it can be tricky to fit everything in sometimes and to figure out how to balance it all out, but I look forward to trying.
Which style of shoes will you pick for daily life and why?
Depending on the season, either a slip on shoe like the Margot in denim blue or trainer. I’m prone to wearing slippers outdoors to the beach so a Quilted Mule would be perfect too, but love a boot in the colder months. I’m either working from home or in town so something comfy that will also work to walk my dog (Wilfred) in – VIVAIA has all the options!
What factors do you consider the most when purchasing shoes and why?
Something comfortable! Whatever type of shoe, it has to be soft and snug for happy feet!
I also suffer from back problems so a shoe that has some support built in like VIVAIA does, is quite important.
How's your understanding of fashion and eco-fashion?
In the last fifteen years or so, I have definitely changed the way I buy clothes and shoes. I tend to buy second hand or be aware of a brand’s own eco awareness before I buy. I want to invest in pieces that will last but are affordable. The natural world is the main subject of my work and it’s important to me that ‘we’ as a race make steps to work with it sustainably and not use it selfishly. I think perhaps, changing the way we think would help. The re-use of waste materials is the path we need to be on and it’s exciting to see VIVAIA creating shoes using recycled plastics and using many natural, sustainable elements. It’s inspiring really and I hope to see more brands with this sustainable mindset in the future.
If you could describe yourself as a shoe, which type of shoe would it be?
I would be some kind of hybrid shoe, that would take me from morning to night and go with everything. I would be super cosy and feel like a cloud, lightweight, maybe a slight heel, for an evening swagger. Perhaps a slip on boot which you could walk for miles in and happily dance in!
What does a nice pair of shoes mean to you?
Wearing a shoe that is well made and easy to wear, really makes you feel at ease and gives you a certain confidence. Shoes can really change the way you walk, feel and hold yourself.
Your honest experience with VIVAIA
VIVAIA is honestly a brand that I would definitely buy from – I’ve already seen lots more styles this season I would love to wear and I know they will be comfy with their in built support! The shoes are very fairly priced for the high quality of the shoe you receive. The recycled packaging is beautiful and the helpful cardboard shoe horns are a great little extra to help care for your shoes and make them last as long as possible.
VIVAIA is a brand that motivates you to be more eco-aware and the fact that they lead with this is very encouraging. Their use of sustainable natural materials that help to make each shoe is very impressive, from the herbs used to scent their insoles to the rice husks and rubber outsole, the entire design of the shoes are entirely eco-conscious.
I also appreciate how transparent VIVAIA is with their customers about how the shoes are made and their work with many charities is not only uplifting, but shows their care for society.