A culturalist of cool, Keltse Bilbao globe-trots professionally, seeking creative inspiration from the people she meets and the places she explores. This native of Spain lives in New York City and is one half of the duo behind footwear brand Plomo, which literally translates from Spanish to “lead.” Keltse and her partner Galia Katz, who is based in Mexico, are part of a new generation of Spanish shoe designers who are leading the way in contemporary style.
Fresh from a trip to Kenya, Keltse tells The Thread about her adventures in Africa, celebrity fans (which include the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker) and what it takes to craft the uniqueness of Plomo shoes.
Sketched into Reality: Plomo ‘Nuria’ Bootie
THE THREAD: How did you enjoy Kenya? And will we see an African influence for your upcoming spring 2015 line?
KELTSE BILBAO: Kenya was both fun and empowering. I travel a lot with my husband, and for this trip to Nairobi, we did a mix of volunteering and tourism. My husband is a musician/composer, and I’m passionate about the universal rights of women, so we teamed up with the Power Women Group in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa and the third largest in the world, which offers a music program for youth as well as business development aid to artisans who are women and are living with HIV and AIDS.
As an entrepreneur and a woman, I deeply believe in supporting this type of community-building, where people can learn and then in turn teach others how to support themselves. I was so inspired by these women, so you’ll see accents of things we designed together for spring ’15—like a sandal with special stitching, or beading and accessory straps that you can add to the shoe.