University of Calgary

Fashion meets function

Submitted by tdroden on Fri, 01/20/2012 - 12:54.

Fashion meets function

Alumna Rena Krasnow finds a career that fits just right
By Erin Mason

Faculty of Law alumna Rena Krasnow is now in Manhattan, heading up Aquatalia Footwear. (Photo by Nina Drapacz)Faculty of Law alumna Rena Krasnow is now in Manhattan, heading up Aquatalia Footwear. (Photo by Nina Drapacz)

Rena Krasnow’s company, Aquatalia Footwear, must be doing something right because even the Royals are wearing her shoes—Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, owns four pairs.

A native Montrealer, Krasnow, LLB’92, now leads the company founded in 1989 by her parents, Marvin and Joy.

In her life before shoes, Krasnow was a lawyer for seven years, but she always stayed connected with the family business as a consultant on a range of issues. Then in 1998, she traded court cases for fashion and style and a full-time role as fashion director and chief operating officer with Aquatalia.

“As much as I did love law, I was missing something more entrepreneurial,” says Krasnow from her Park Avenue office where she manages the multinational brand. “I’ve always had a keen interest in business and a love of fashion.” The career move tapped into Krasnow’s lifelong passion for fashion and business.

In a world where looks trump comfort, Krasnow has helped carve out a niche for Aquatalia. Her eye for trends and passion for “functional luxury” has made her family’s business a Canadian success story and their shoes a leading brand for women of all ages sold at specialty retailers like Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, Bergdorf Goodman, and Russell and Bromley in the United Kingdom.

“Our customers are 30 to 60 years old, but don’t have a specific age as much as an attitude to look good and feel good,” says Krasnow. “We’re a brand for daughters, mothers and grandmothers. We’re a lifestyle shoe.”

With her belief in communication, responsibility and most importantly, integrity—which is at the heart of the brand—she has built the Aquatalia name internationally.

Krasnow works mostly from New York and travels to Aquatalia’s design headquarters in Italy several times each year as well as to her key European retailers. She also has two designers a bit closer to home—her two young daughters, Ella and Hannah, each “budding enthusiasts” who propose new shoe designs in sketches and name each Aquatalia shoe.

In true family business style, it’s also fitting that Krasnow’s fondest advice on business and life came from her late mother. “She told me to trust my gut and go with my instincts, and I’ve always done that. It’s never been wrong.”