Luxurious Magazine meets with Meg Cope, Founder & Creative Director of Zaccys London
Meg is a former Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with over twenty years’ experience in medicine working for the NHS, having first trained at University College London. In 2012 Meg’s youngest child, Zac, was diagnosed with Leukaemia and Meg took a career break to look after him. Zac successfully finished his treatment in 2015 and Meg then took the decision to leave medicine and start a new career.
With a lifelong interest in design and fashion, Meg had been trying to find a replacement for a much-loved pair of espadrilles, without success. She, therefore, decided to design and make her own range of luxury wedge espadrilles which are handmade in Spain. Her desire was to create shoes for busy women like herself that were both beautiful and comfortable but also flattering. The brand USP is comfort and versatility, it is Meg’s meticulous attention to detail that ensures Zaccys are truly in a class of their own.
She founded her new venture company in late 2015 and named it Zaccys, after her son. Zaccys London launched its debut collection in May 2016. Zaccys are entirely handmade in Spain by the same artisanal factory that makes for Valentino, McQueen, Louboutin and other luxury super brands.
Tell us about Zaccys – The Name, when and where was Zaccys Launched?
I really struggled to find a replacement for an ancient and much-loved pair of low wedge espadrilles and after several years of searching came to the conclusion I would need to have some made. I started drawing some basic designs that ultimately turned into a whole collection.
At the same time, I was on an enforced career break – looking after my youngest child, Zac who had been diagnosed with leukaemia. The drawings were my escape from some of the difficulties we were facing as a family. They were a wonderful creative outlet for me, much of which I could share with Zac whilst he was unwell.
We launched the brand online in May 2016 in London 8 months after he finished his treatment.
What is your background?
My father’s cousin lived with us whilst she was studying fashion at Central St Martins. I was only five years old at the time, but I thought her sketches were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and they left a lasting impression on me.
I chose, however, to follow another great passion of mine – medicine – inspired by my father and my grandfather. It was an incredible privilege to be a doctor, to have that uniquely close relationship with patients and to develop skills that could make such a difference in people’s lives. I was a doctor for more than 20 years and a Specialist Consultant Eye Surgeon for 10 of those.
My life changed direction completely with my son’s illness and instead of returning to my previous career I chose to follow my creative instincts again in setting up my own niche luxury shoe business. Having spent more time at home with my children during Zac’s treatment I wanted to find a job that allowed me more flexibility and a better work-life balance. I also wanted to give back to the children’s cancer charities that supported. Launching a business requires an enormous amount of time and effort, but I was able to fit this better around my children’s needs than my previous job.
What was the inspiration behind the brand?
Espadrilles conjure warm sunny Mediterranean memories for me and are the ultimate in summer chic. I wanted to create a luxury version of the classic rustic shoe with specific elements that elevated the quality, comfort and aesthetic. The brand is dedicated to my three children, Zaccy in particular, as they are the ultimate sunshine in my life.
What is unique about Zaccys?
Zaccys are focussed on comfort, versatility and timeless luxury. Zaccys are specifically designed to be flattering and leg-lengthening. The unique deeply-cushioned, combination memory foam insoles provide day to night comfort.
Every Zaccys is constructed entirely by hand, this involves at least 15 different processes. The Zaccys wedge and platform are constructed from light-weight cork and each braid is applied by hand. This means the shoes are all shower-proof, extremely light and the cork provides shock-absorption adding to the comfort. All Zaccys wedges are leather lined with the finest leathers from Italy and Spain.
The wedges also feature an anti-slip outsole made from a special material with a high abrasive coefficient, meaning it will wear well over time.
Classic rustic wedge espadrilles made from solid stacked jute are heavy and require ankle strapping in order to hold them onto the foot. Unfortunately, ankle straps foreshorten the leg and detract the leg-lengthening benefit you achieve with a heel.
We donate £5 for every pair sold to two children’s cancer charities that we support in the UK – the additional ‘feel good’ factor. We also cater for women with both small and large feet, offering a size range from EU35-43.
Who inspires you when designing the upcoming collection?
I take inspiration from so many different sources, but my customers are a huge part of the process. The collections are built around versatile nude and metallic shades that go with everything, shoes for busy women that need effortless footwear choices. We had so many requests for an all-black mid height wedge last summer it’s in the new SS18 collection launching soon.
Art, architecture, nature and travel all influence my ideas, and I am also very interested in sustainable materials, which is why we use jute and cork. I am designing an amazing fish-skin, skinny high heel at the moment which is also going to be super comfortable.