Jazmine Davis by Jazmine Kionna

High heels look great, of course. But comfortable? Not really. But why do we have to sacrifice comfort for beauty? Baltimore-based shoe designer Jazmine Davis asked herself the same question. A shoe enthusiast and practicing scientist, she knew there had to be a way to enjoy the best of both worlds. In 2017, she created Jazmine Kionna—a Port Covington-based vegan shoe brand whose patent-pending sockliner is designed to contour to your foot’s specific pressure points and minimize the impact of walking and standing. We chatted with Davis about the start of her mission to end #HighHeelHell in style.

What prompted you to launch a shoe brand?
In my high school years, I was the girl who always wore heels. But when I entered university, after losing both my parents, I lost myself. I didn’t care how I looked, how I dressed or what I wore. I had saved money doing an internship in Detroit. For my birthday, I spent my first purchase on designer heels. But they were completely uncomfortable! Four years later, I said to myself: “You can create, so why not [create a comfortable heel] for you?”

You are also a scientist. How did that play out in Jazmine Kionna?
I knew I wanted to merge my love for fashion and my love for science. I called all these shoe companies to see what soles already existed, what materials I could use. Then I organized my own discussion group where I asked people to experiment with certain materials. From there, I reached out to experts who could talk about comfort. We quickly wondered how to reduce the carbon footprint of fashion? What does vegan mean? How can we also integrate sustainability into the company?

What’s next for Jazmine Kionna?
I’m really excited about the upcoming changes. We have samples under review with new colorways and different heel heights, and we’ll likely introduce handbags sooner rather than later. We’re only online, but we may be considering doing more pop-ups to expand our base in Baltimore and explore options in other cities.

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