Keren Longkumer was born in a small town called Medziphema in Nagaland. She found shoes fascinating from the time she was a little girl. The fascination never really went away, instead it became more and more pronounced as the years went by which is what prompted her to take up footwear design. When she was studying footwear design in Los Angeles, she met Valerie Quant who shared her love for unconventional designs. Eventually they started LOQ together. We speak to Keren to know more about her, the brand and what her plans for the future are.
Tell us why you wanted to study footwear design?
The earliest memory I have of shoes is trying on my mum’s royal blue suede pointy toe pumps. I remember asking her to save her shoes for when I grow up. I think that memory subconsciously inspired me to pursue footwear design.
How did LOQ come about, what is the vision behind the label and what challenges did you face in the initial phases?
LOQ is derived from the surnames of Keren Longkumer + Valerie Quant. In 2011, we met while studying footwear design in Los Angeles. We immediately realized our mutual affinity for unconventional forms, proportions, materials and attention to detail. We are from opposite sides of the world, Valerie is from Los Angeles and I’m from Nagaland. We founded LOQ in 2015.
Initially when we started LOQ, we were young women, so we weren’t taken seriously. The footwear industry in male dominated, and it was difficult for us to be heard, but we’ve come a long way since. We did not let that stop us from achieving our goal.
There are not many Indian designers who are focussing on footwear, why do you think that is the case?
I think 10 years ago when I started, people (including my family) didn’t know studying footwear design could become a career. It was a huge risk to put all your eggs in one basket and specialize in a field that no one really knew much about. However, I think that’s changing. I now often hear kids wanting to study footwear design, which is great!
What is the most expensive pair of shoes you own?
Vero Boots from our Fall 2017 collection which retail for $500.
How is LOQ different from other footwear brands?
We believe in designing simple, affordable, good quality shoes for women. We want to make shoes that are ageless and timeless.
Where are LOQ products available, are they available in India or online?
We are available in over 50 stores (brick and mortar as well as online) worldwide – Net-a-porter, Lane Crawford, Harvery Nichols, Bloomingdales, Garmentory. Unfortunately, we aren’t in any stores in India as of yet, but we do ship to India. Customers can buy our shoes on our website – loq.us
My short term goal for LOQ is to have a brick and mortar store.
By Meeta Borah
This article was first featured in Eclectic Northeast (March 2018) issue