As Ashley Roberts turns her focus from music to fashion with a new shoe collection, she tells The Resident how London’s eccentric vibe sparks her creativity…
Ashley Roberts’ excitement and passion for life is catching, and embracing life and all that it has to offer seems to be her mantra. It certainly seems to be working for her – the ex Pussycat Doll and Dancing on Ice judge has recently launched a collection of boots, called Allyn.
‘I think that fashion is a representation of yourself, it’s an expression of what you might be going through or how you might be feeling that day,’ starts Roberts. ‘Growing up in the music industry and being a dancer, it’s always been a part of who I am. It’s a creative outlet and I always like to have fun with it.’
Starting out in The Pussycat Dolls means that fashion and art was always a huge part of what Roberts did, so it could be seen as natural progression that she has developed her style and moved into the world of shoe design.
‘When we did Don’t Cha and we were told we were going to have cornrows, I was like: “Hell yeah!”’ laughs Roberts. ‘I just loved the fact that we were doing something different and new, and it helped me learn about all the different parts of my personality.’
But after a while, she yearned for something that she could call her own, a creative process that would be her baby. ‘I was sitting in my flat in Notting Hill several years ago and I was thinking about how I wanted something that was mine, my own little business,’ she says.
Overall, I want women to feel kick-ass. I want them to feel empowered, strong, fashionable and cool. I want them to put on my shoes and feel good about themselves
‘I have a total shoe addiction and my wardrobes in both LA and London are stacked with boxes and boxes of shoes – it’s ridiculous,’ she smiles. ‘So I reached out to a few people I knew who designed shoes and it just started organically unfolding. I got together a small team and then built it from the ground up. There’s still a lot to do, but I’m excited about what’s to come.’
So what can we expect from the collection? ‘Some of them are really true to me, they are completely what I want to wear,’ says Roberts, who grew up in Phoenix, Arizona (expect a hint of cowboy style). ‘But then with some, I’m thinking about the consumer out there who might want something just that little bit different.
‘Overall, I want women to feel kick-ass. I want them to feel empowered, strong, fashionable and cool. I want them to put on my shoes and feel good about themselves because this is what shoes have the power to do for me.’
Roberts has come to consider London home, and she has spent time in both Battersea and Notting Hill, finding inspiration on the streets and breathing space in the capital’s famous parks.
‘I love the architecture, the people and the quirkiness and eccentric element of the Brits,’ she says. ‘I’ve met some great friends and I feel more inspired creatively when I’m in London than anywhere else. I find that I get inspired even just being out and about and it sort of feels like every street is a runway in this city. It helps me creatively in both music and fashion.’
‘I love that in the city, there is just so much of this wonderful nature. I like having balance in my life, a balance of ying and yang, and Battersea Park allowed me to have this every single day. I like the bridges that cross over into the Chelsea area too, there is a great balance.’
Roberts is focused on her fashion and presenting work at the moment, so music is never far from her thoughts: ‘The Brits have some great tunage,’ she laughs, ‘music inspires me in everything that I do.’