The American influencer has teamed up with the Canadian footwear brand on a collection of summer staples.
Late last month, Canadian footwear giant ALDO unveiled its newest collaboration with global style icon, Rocky Barnes. The collection is comprised of four footwear styles, each of which appear to have been designed for stylish summer sojourns in far-flung locales – but the good news is that each style will work equally as well for your next socially distanced BBQ or walk to the grocery. “When designing this collection, I wanted to not only make amazing shoes, I also wanted them to be comfortable,” Barnes tells us of one of her key drivers during the design process, adding that quarantine has reaffirmed her commitment to comfortable pieces. “I think comfort has always been important and post-quarantine [will be] even more so. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to start dressing up again, but even then comfort will be key.”
Barnes worked closely with the team at its Montreal HQ (pre-COVID) to create her “dream summer capsule collection.” As for the jumping off point, Barnes said she “pulled ideas for the collection from styles I find myself wearing over and over again. I then added unique details to each to make them my own – from the silk rope ties to the gold shell details, marbled acrylic square heel and lizard embossing.” Thanks to the collaborative nature of the design process with the ALDO team, Barnes says her vision was brought to life.
The collection (which also includes a range of accessories), with its bright yellow, red, orange and blue hues, is evidently reflective of Barnes’ personal style. “Growing up in California I have always been a beach girl at heart,” she tells us. “I’m drawn to vintage inspired pieces and love mixing high/low. And, of course, I’m never scared of colour!” Her travels, particularly to Italy, also inspired her designs. “For this summer capsule, I was inspired by the Italian seaside. It was the first trip Matt [Cooper, Barnes’ husband] and I took together, and also where we got engaged.”
The pair (who recently welcomed their first son, Jones) is based in Los Angeles, where they are seeing change starting amid protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism. “Our country is going through a transformative time right now. Change is always hard but this change is so needed. I truly believe this movement will make our country better,” says Barnes adding that she’s “taking this time to educate myself, help spread the word, and help amplify the Black community.” One of the key ways in which she is doing this is via her social media platforms. “As an influencer I will personally use my platform to bring exposure to Black-owned brands. I will also speak up to brands about supporting Black influencers in their events, campaigns and on their own social feeds.”
Barnes says social media is also helping her on her journey to becoming a better ally. “One of the amazing things about social media is the amount of information we are able to share with each other. @NYbucketlist has been really educational for me personally and has an amazing list of ways to get involved including non-profits to donate to and petitions to sign.”
As for how she will speak to her son on these issues, Barnes says, “I think as a new mother, through ongoing education (his and my own), it’s about making sure my son is not just a non-racist but an anti-racist. We will have these conversations early and my hope is that Jones has the opportunity to witness and take part in the change.” She adds, “We need to collectively make sure this movement continues into the future and doesn’t end with the protests – we all have a responsibility.”