Souraya Karami was born in Lebanon, and early on decided she wanted to become an architect. She got her bachelor's degree in architecture, and spent several years practising in Lebanon, but after finding it difficult to find shoes that were comfortable as well as beautiful, she decided to change professions and coupled with an enduring passion for shoes, moved to London and proceeded to get her degree in footwear design at Cordwainer’s at the London College of Fashion. With a little experience under her belt, she opened her business, Esska, out of her flat in East London, in June 2006.
Souraya's background in architecture is clearly apparent in her reference to streets, buildings, and colour when applied to shoe design. Her main goal was that shoes be equally comfortable and stylish, and she quickly became known for her use of bold colours, as well as a very organic silhouette. Her three primary objectives, when it comes to shoe design, are geometry, interlacing, and layering. All her footwear is made of leather, and because her company prides itself on remaining a small brand, she strives to keep her shoes unique, from a flat to a mid-heel. A main element of her designs is that looking good should make you feel good, and vice versa. She strongly believes that the two go hand in hand.
Two of her most popular winter styles are the Hoola boot, made of a limited-edition metallic gold, and featuring a 60mm stacked heel, and the Hanya boot, also with a 60 mm stacked heel and available in a wide range of fall and winter shades; Hanya petrol, yellow, black patent, aubergine patent, and chestnut. All styles come with an anti-slip rubber sole.
Another of Souraya's most popular styles, especially for the party season, is the platform Twist black patent lace-up. With a leather-covered heel, and its trademark all-leather construction, this glamorous shoe will keep you on your feet in style and comfort all night long. The Beli flat, in black, dark green and aubergine, is the ultimate practical flat, offering supreme comfort and super -chic style, also made of leather, it has a non-slip rubber sole. This is the perfect pair to pop into a bag for a quick change after a super-long dance party; you will never have to sacrifice style for comfort. To add an updated look to your everyday work outfits, the Lim Collection is a stylish choice. While incorporating all the classic elements of the court shoe, the Lim pump, with its 65mm heel, is fully lined in sock leather, with a rubberized sole, to make your work day that much more stress-free. It comes in an elegant selection of colours, including yellow, black, and petrol, with a hit of colour accenting the cone-shaped heel.
Esska footwear has been steadily gaining in popularity, and is now sold in over 200 boutiques worldwide, from European countries such as Germany and France, to Scandinavia, and the United States. Souraya was recently nominated as Draper's magazine's UK designer of the year.