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‘Masai shoes are better for joints’ By Louise Cordell A UNIVERSITY study concludes MBTs are better for the knees, hips and ankles than wearing conventional shoes – but claims they reduce cellulite or burn extra calories were not proven.

Interest in big three shows ...

Manufacturers of the Masai Barefoot Technology trainers claim the shoes simulate the natural gait of the Masai tribe who walk barefoot on soft surfaces like sand – which help to alleviate back pain and muscular tension while strengthening and toning muscles in the legs and feet.

RETAILERS have been feeling cautious this month after news emerged that a third of the UK’s footwear industry is being pushed to the brink of failure by sliding profits and escalating debts.

However, these health benefits have been widely debated, so the Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University was commissioned to put the shoes through a two month programme of laboratory testing.

Design attack

The study used a 3D motion analysis computer system to analyse the effects of walking on people wearing MBTs compared with those wearing normal shoes. Lead researcher Tim Vernon said: “Before we did the tests we had to teach the subjects how to use them, because it is a whole new philosophy of walking. “They give you a more upright posture and, as we found, in doing this, reduce strain on the body. “The results show significant differences in the joint movements experienced between wearing MBTs and conventional footwear. “The study indicates reduced 'loading', meaning there is less stress put on the body and this means you can remain active for longer.” Results of the study were revealed at the first International MBT Conference, where more than 50

A picture from the Masai Barefoot Technology ad campaign

national distributors gathered to hear the findings Dr Rav Naik, a Sheffield-based GP and orthopedic physician, is MBTs UK clinical director. He said: “This is a professional clinical study, done under controlled circumstances and it shows people who suffer from back and joint problems can benefit from using MBTs. “The shoes were launched around eight years ago, but before this all the information we had was anecdotal evidence. Now we have the proof.”

YOUNG designers will get the chance to present their original collections alongside more established labels at GDS this September. The young fashion area ‘Design Attack’ will allow 100 talented footwear and accessory designers to exhibit in the urban and streetwear SoulExpress section. The event area will be staged like a station concourse, complete with a railway carriage and tracks, with dancers performing on a rotating platform in among luggage, trolleys and ticket offices. Three theme ‘main streets’ have been set up to guide visitors through the exhibits, ‘Fifth Avenue’, ‘Disco Street’ and ‘The Bronx’. There will also be a genuine restaurant car available serving food and refreshments with live DJs and light effects for entertainment. To draw particular attention to the young designers, GDS will also be holding the SoulExpress Fashion Awards 2008. Categories include ‘Best Shoe’ and ‘Best Outfit’ and winners will get a sponsored stand for the March 2009 show. The Main Association of the German Footwear Industry will also be presenting the Footwear Fashion Future Award to a young designer for the eleventh time.

Footwear specialist launches shoe amnesty LUXURY footwear specialist Oliver Sweeney is showing its greener side by launching a shoe amnesty programme with Green World Recycling. From this month, the company is calling for customers to donate any brand of used shoes which will then be re-sold to raise money for environmental and sustainable projects in the developing world. Initially the scheme will be launched

in the Oliver Sweeney stores in London and Leeds, which will act as a collection point for Green World Recycling. Donations will then be sold in the UK and Europe and the money raised will support projects in India and Africa including improving conditions in village schools, redeveloping irrigation systems and setting up agricultural training schemes. Charley Sowden, Oliver Sweeney

marketing manager, said: “We are really proud to be offering some help to communities in need by reinforcing the recycling mentality and improving impoverished areas directly.” While the shoe amnesty is taking place, Oliver Sweeney will also be offering any customers who donate to the scheme a ten per cent discount off its mainline collection.

The review of the top 1,000 companies in the footwear sector claimed that all managers are facing a difficult trade off between protecting profit margins and appealing to price sensitive customers. It is now left to individual stores to decide if they need to take the advice offered which included cutting costs and jobs and even turning away unprofitable work. However, better news is on the way with Pure, Moda and GDS gearing up for strong shows, all reporting a lot of interest from exhibitors and buyers alike. In our Mood preview we look at the biggest brands showing and the industry seminar’s that will be available from a series of industry experts. This issue we also take a look at the footwear and accessory designers of the future with a focus on this summer’s Royal College of Art graduates, meet the man in charge of the UK’s Best Women’s Shoe Shop, Spice and look at the latest US brand to hit our shores, the glamorous Seychelles. Finally, we speak to a retailer who has done what many retailers dream of doing – taken the plunge and launched her own footwear line. Store director Laura Allnatt has teamed up with Cordwainers trained designer Rachele Davies to create an 18 style, wholesale women’s line for spring/summer 09 which is now set to debut at Pure.



Issue 48 August/Sept 2008 Hush Puppies steps into fashion Sara bags a new look for men


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Sweet success for Lollipop


Hollywood marches on UK scene



Collection’s looking pretty in pink



Why parents are sweet on collection


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Berlin inspiration


Design & Production

Editorial Andrew Harrod - Group Editor Judith Halkerston - Group Deputy Editor Nicola Hyde - News Editor Louise Cordell - Editor Christina Eccles - Reporter Mary Ferguson - Reporter Lyndsey Smith - Reporter

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Brand steps into the fashion arena HUSH Puppies, famous for their casual style, are taking the brand to new levels with spring and summer 2009 making a bold move into the fashion arena. The brand are launching an ultramodern women’s collection that includes updated versions of HP classics from cork wedges and chunky wooden heels, the hallmarks of signature casual style, and other more daring designs. Fierce cone heels, sling backs and retro peep-toes provide a strong fashion element and with many styles given a vintage twist, the collection sits well with the romantic trend. Similarly the men’s collection has taken popular designs and

brought them up to date adding stylishly designed uppers and new materials and leather effects. Hand-sewn sandals in waxy casual leathers are ideal for wear with jeans and boat shoes and loafers have been created in light, innovative materials such as canvas to be worn with the season’s relaxed tailoring. Over-stitching, buckles and a variety of quality leathers imbue the collection with a modern energy and sport elements are introduced to make styles that are city slick. The kids’ range is bigger than ever before this season. Mainline styles have been furthered to feature in more colours and fabrics and also benefit from enhanced fit. Design in this range also demonstrates

the same attentions to detail as men and women’s and styles exhibit beautiful embroidery amongst other effects sure to catch your eye. Wolverine suedes have also been incorporated to make sure colours stay bright. For more information: Hush Puppies Europe, 3 The Osiers Office Park, Braunstone, Leicester LE19 1DY. Call: 0116 281 4300 or fax: 0116 281 4354.


Shoes to dye for prove so popular THE Colour Studio at Rainbow Club is going from strength to strength, as more girls are opting to have shoes dyed not only for weddings but also for other special occasions.

THE Off-Price Show London continues its successful series of events at Olympia, London on September 21-22.

The rise in popularity of end of school ‘proms’ – once an American preserve, means that more and more girls are looking for something special, and different, to make them stand out.

Now in its ninth year, the show offers buyers (trade only) an exceptional opportunity to view and order from stock ranges not normally available elsewhere.

The Colour Studio has years of expertise in hand colouring shoes and bags perfectly, and can guarantee colour matching when colouring shoes or bags from the extensive ranges at Rainbow Club. From the fun and funky Else, to the stylish allure of Rainbow Club, and with the launch of the catwalkinspired Couture collection, there is something for everyone, from the bride who wants to wear her shoes again, to bridesmaids who want that top to toe look, and of course the mother of the bride, whose task it is to look perfect all day long.

The new Couture collection is more directional, sexy and eveninginspired, using Swarovski crystal trims and luxurious Italian silk satins, and each of the ten styles can be hand coloured to match any gown. The Else collection has been brought right up-to-date with eight brand new styles, each of which can be hand coloured free of any charge.

Young champ holes title THIS year’s International Golf Championship of the Shoe, Leather and Allied Trades has been won by the youngest champion in 50 years. Andrew Molloy, 25, came first out of 100 competitors at the event held at the Hillside Golf Club, Lancashire in June. The funds raised were presented to Richard Paice, president of Footwear Friends, and Paul Patrick, president of the Leather and Hide Trades Benevolent Institution. The Wilbur Muirhead Scratch Cup was retained by Craig Hamilton from

Successful series of events continues

Barnard Castle, and president Geoffrey Mawer won the Turner Bowl. The Ladies Championship was won by Sheila Burridge from Chippenham in Wiltshire and the runner up was Kate James from Euroleathers, in Northampton. Finally, the International Match between England and Wales and Scotland and Ireland was a draw, with England and Wales retaining the trophy as holders from 2007. In 2009 the Championship will be at Slaley Hall, in Northumberland, June 17-19. The number of visitors attending this year’s Bread and Butter in Barcelona dropped by 2.5 per cent compared to last July. Just over 89,000 people attended the trade show’s seventh year and the drop in visitor numbers has been attributed to the fact that the July 2007 show was the best ever attended event.

Leading fashion wholesalers, importers, specialist stock houses, stocklot traders, retailers and brands offer both branded and unbranded fashion garments and footwear at the lowest possible prices to the trade. These companies who exhibit offer both current inseason stock as well as end of range, end of season, over makes, cancelled orders at highly discounted rates – often at 50 per cent (or more) below normal trade prices. Suppliers trade in both small and large volumes, giving all types of buyers, from small independent stores to large multiples, excellent opportunities to snap up deals not available anywhere else. The show also gives buyers the ability to increase their range of supplier contacts, each show features many new exhibitors, thus giving them the double benefit of sourcing new contacts and merchandise and keeping a competitive edge over their rivals. Despite this, show organisers reported an increase in visitors from Eastern Europe, the USA, Asia and South America. The new Bread and Butter format for the fashion textile industry, The Source, which was launched this season also got off to a good start, attracting nearly 5,000 visitors.

Jean-Pierre takes on md role A NEW managing director has been appointed to deal with Merrell and Patagonia Footwear. Jean-Pierre Petit has been hired by Wolverine World Wide Outdoor Group after spending over 13 years in the outdoor, sporting goods and consumer product industries. Onder Ors, international senior

vice president for Wolverine World Wide’s Outdoor Group, said: “Jean-Pierre’s deep experience with internationally respected brands will aid in his management and growth of the Outdoor Group in the EMEA region. “I am confident that he is passionate about the Merrell brand and, more importantly, understands the operational side

of the business to continue to position both Merrell and Patagonia Footwear for long-term growth with the aim of market leadership in this region.” In his new role Jean-Pierre will be responsible for leading, directing and inspiring the EMEA management teams to increase revenues and position both brands for long term growth.


Philippa takes top spot in Italy awards By Louise Cordell

and then immediately unfashionable.

FOOTWEAR design graduate Philippa Stanton has been awarded first prize at Italy’s Lineapelle Awards with a creation inspired by Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“Seasons and trends change so rapidly with styles constantly altering.

The De Montfort University student entered her ‘Shoevolution’ design, a shoe that can be turned into a boot. She said: “I wanted to create a shoe that evolves with the trends instead of just being replaced for the latest fashion every season. “Rather than buying a whole new boot, you can just buy the updates. “The design is eco friendly because it avoids the ‘throw away’ culture that has developed and I think it also taps into a return to a desire for long lasting quality rather than cheaper but shortlived items.” The shoes have removable sections such as the heel and parts of the upper, which can be replaced with the following season’s trends. The joining mechanisms are a series of neodymium magnets of different shapes and sizes, which also work to create a magnetic force which is beneficial for circulation. Philippa added: “My main objection with the fashion world today is how quickly things become fashionable,


“Consumers pay large amounts for the latest heel shape or print, which will become redundant after only a few months. “I wanted to change this, and that meant creating a core unit that was timeless and durable.” Phillipa also recently won a competition to design a dancing shoe for the drinks brand Lambrini. Her idea was inspired by the current demand for burlesque fashion and based on research into the ideal heel height and style for dancing - no more than two and a half inches and a sturdy cone shape. The design will now be featured in the brand’s new marketing campaign. She added: “ I am more interested in high fashion than commercial designs – my favourite designer of all time is Vivienne Westwood – I’m just better at the wackier, more interesting stuff. I would also like to work more in men’s footwear in the future as I think it is getting a lot more interesting and there is a lot of room for experimentation.”


‘Third of firms are on brink’ By Louise Cordell A THIRD of the UK footwear industry has been pushed to the brink of failure by low growth, sliding profits and escalating debts, according to research. The findings were released by industry analysts Plimsoll Publishing which carried out a financial health check for the top 1,000 companies in the footwear sector. The findings revealed that supply is outstripping demand and also claimed that all companies are facing a difficult trade off between protecting profit margins and appealing to price sensitive customers. Senior analyst David Pattison said: “A great deal has been written on the general slow down in the UK, but until now no one has measured the impact on the footwear market and crucially who is most exposed. I think these figures just prove the point that we have all been aware of that a period of consolidation is long overdue. Bit by bit the weaker players will be removed from the market.” The survey rated each of the UK’s largest footwear companies based

on their overall financial performance. 425 firms were rated ‘strong’ and were the best performing in the market, 99 were rated ‘good’ after showing improving financial performance and the 123 experiencing a make or break year were rated ‘mediocre’. At the bottom of the scale 131 firms received the ‘caution’ rating, showing a weakening financial position and finally 222 were rated as ‘in danger’ and in need of a change in order to survive. These were the firms in the most difficulty with profit margins falling to less than four per cent of sales and the majority making a loss and taking on debt simply to cover costs. The report also pointed out the consequences of a period of consolidation, adding that up to 288 companies might need to resort to job losses, with some businesses needing to lose as many as 30 per cent of staff in order to survive. David added: “The ‘danger’ rated companies must put immediate plans in place to start to trade their way out of problems. Cutting costs, jobs and even turning unprofitable work away – stringent measures must be put in place before it is too late.”

Emily Eavis wearing pair one of 1000

Boots boost THE organisers of Glastonbury have joined forces with Hunter wellies to create a limited edition collection to raise funds for charity. The limited edition boots have been signed by organiser Emily Eavis and artists including KT Tunstall, Goldfrapp, James Blunt and Groove Armada. They will be auctioned off in September at the end of the festival season. Hunter has also created an exclusive run of 1,000 festival boots – they will retail at £75, with £50 per sale going to the charity WaterAid. Money raised from the sale of the boots and the auction will go to four rural communities in Madagascar to enable them to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene

education. Emily Eavis said: “We have encouraged our performers and guests to sign pairs of the WaterAid boots backstage during the festival to ensure we could help raise as much money as possible.” WaterAid is one of the three main charities supported by festival and each year, teams of its volunteers ensure that the toilets are maintained and thirsty visitors are watered, as well as raising awareness of WaterAid and its campaigns. Mike Todd, Hunter Boots international sales director, said: “We are delighted to be involved with such an exciting and worthwhile project.”


News As this summer’s Royal College of Art graduates move out into the world of design, Out On A Limb takes a look at the future of footwear and accessories. Louise Cordell reports.

Sara bags a new look for men SARA Ratcliffe is aiming to create a new look in men’s bags and accessories using bold colours and cartoon style design. The Royal College of Art student has studied traditional leather goods techniques and worked as a freelance designer for three years before deciding to take her masters. She said: “I love accessories as I see them as part of an overall look. I am all about colour and always think about the range of shades before the design, but everything could also work in more muted, toned down versions. “I want to create things that stand out first and that are commercialised and saleable second.” Her collection includes big travelling and overnight bags, shoulder belts sandals and hats, with the smaller accessories picking up details from the bags. The designs have a strong 3D element and many are created by cutting the shapes from flat pieces of fabric and building them up into the finished piece. Inspiration for the designs is drawn from objects from camper vans to kitchen steamers and each piece is based on a individual character, sometimes real, sometimes fictional.

Holly creates new look with ‘body con’ bags


HOLLY Cowan has created a new look in womenswear accessories with her ‘body con’ bags. Her designs are inspired by architecture, combining sharp and structural shapes with a feminine look. She said: “The pieces are built around the shapes and contours of the body – they are slotted in rather than worn. “There is a lot of detailing like inlaid perspex and a strong graphical element to every piece. “I describe the look as sculptural drama and like every design to have real visual strength as well as function.” ISSUE 48 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2008

Sara Ratcliffe

Sara added: “I never stop absorbing and researching. The overall feel of the collection is a travelling street performance by the seaside in the 50s, and movement is the key as the bags expand and unfold with a mixture of hard and soft materials playing off each other.” Sara now plans to continue developing her own personal projects alongside collaborations with other designers and companies. She added: “I think there is room for a lot more experimentation in menswear accessories as the market is growing and men are getting braver about what they wear. It is a hard business to break in to, but if you generate your own opportunities then there are a lot of possibilities available.”

Pictures: Sylvain Deleu Textiles: Sarah Angold

The Royal College of Art student initially completed a BA in Drama, Film and Theatre and, discovering a passion for set design moved on to spend a year at Cordwainers working on women’s accessories. Holly’s latest collection includes a range of clutch bags, tote bags and small arm pieces. The designs are made from leather, moulded plastic and wooden and acrylic hardware. The colour palette combines soft tones with metallics and black and she has added geometric surface details using cut leathers and acrylics produced in collaboration with textiles student, Sarah Angold.

She added: “I like my designs to be wearable and functional and to have a life of their own when they are nong worn. “Although I am influenced by sculptural forms and graphic imagery, my main inspiration comes from the working process, building and reinventing forms to create continuous lines, internal spaces and elaborate constructions. “I often start by building a solid

mould from which I create complex patterns. “The bags then evolve in 3D to create flowing shapes. I work towards objects which have a visual impact on or off the body.”


Benjamin brings glamour to world of men’s shoes BRINGING masculine glamour to the traditional world of men’s shoes is the aim behind Benjamin Shun Lai Ng’s latest collection. The design student has recently completed a two-year postgraduate course in Men’s Footwear at the Royal College of Art and is now hoping to move into commercial design. He said: “The last two years have provided me with some tremendous opportunities, from discussing design ideas with Manolo Blahnik, to experimenting with denim shoes for Levi’s and styling Umbro sneakers. “I have found that most men are scared of wearing something different and I want to change that – open their minds to something new.” Benjamin’s designs feature treated black leathers and unusual detailing, drawing inspiration from his background in illustration and theatre design. His latest collection includes classic shapes, combined with tassels, sole patterns picked out in nails, rough and scratched leathers for a masculine effect and dark crystals for elegance. He said: “I am originally from Hong Kong but have been in the UK for 12 years and have no plans to head

back to Asia while the UK scene is so hot. “There is a market eager for cutting edge design and great opportunities to build on the country’s amazing footwear heritage. “However, I strongly believe that there is still a lot of room for greater inventiveness – many major brands seem to confuse multiple florescent colours for real innovation in design. “There are now many new materials and techniques at a designer’s disposal, but they are only worthwhile if they are delivered well and with imagination.” Benjamin is currently working on his finalist submission for the ITS competition, organised by Italian fashion agency Eve and is in discussions with Browns of Bond Street to create and exclusive range of men’s footwear. He added: “I believe young designers need greater support and more competitions and opportunities to foster their talent – they are a great benefit. “I also think it would be great to see more openness among footwear companies in terms of joint ventures with young designers. “Ambition should be seen as the plus that it is, and as a stimulus to creative quality.”


Retail review

Lollipop unwraps its own shoe collection ... LONDON boutique Lollipop has announced the launch of its own shoe collection. The new range has been developed by store director Laura Allnatt and Cordwainers trained designer Rachele Davies and will be sold wholesale as well as being stocked in the boutique. Laura said: “The idea to create my own range has been evolving in my head since opening the shop three years ago. “I felt that my experience at shop floor level helped me understand what women were looking for and what they felt was missing from the market. “When I was buying for Lollipop I was getting frustrated with what was available and felt that there was a need for a medium price point collection combining desirable colours and textures with


The pair were keen to create a collection that catered for a wide range customers, while staying true to the key look of the brand.

adventurous customer and features materials like python skin and the ‘dance’ collection includes a variety of flat pumps as I felt that sometimes it is the simplest designs that aren’t properly catered for.

To do this they have produced a spring/summer line that includes 18 styles and a mix of flats, boots and heels.

“Finally, the ‘inspired’ range draws on vintage style and includes lots of lace detailing and leathers to create something really individual.

They have also broken the collection down into separate categories to help customers and buyers focus on the designs that will suit them best.

“While there are many different styles, a key look throughout the brand is a strong contrast in colour and texture, which is balanced by classic and easy to wear shapes.

wearable designs.”

Laura added: “There is a ‘classic’ range which is made up of popular designs that can be refreshed each season, but will still provide continuity for buyers, especially for the more popular styles. “The ‘concept’ range is for the more

“Customer feedback has taught me that women like

something that has a fashionable twist, but is still practical and fits in with their lifestyle.” They have already started work on the autumn/winter 09 collection and plan to continue developing the brand steadily over the next few years. and plan to keep increasing the number of designs available. Laura added: “I think it is important to take things slowly. Little and often is the healthiest way of buying, as if retailers can keep updating the collection throughout the year then customers will keep coming in to see what fresh designs are available. “I am also really looking forward to getting the range into Lollipop as this will allow us to get more customer feedback, which is essential for us as we are all about providing women with what they want.” The Laura J autumn/winter collection will be available at the Lollipop boutique from next month and the spring/summer 09 line is set to debut at Pure.


Woman wins £7,000 after breaking ankle By Louise Cordell A WOMAN who broke her ankle after the heel on her new shoes snapped has been awarded more than £7,000 compensation. Legal experts have now warned that the case could open the floodgates for hundreds of similar claims in the future. Student Sophie King, 20, had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance after the shoes caused the injury on a night out in Manchester. She was forced to give up her sporting activities at university and a waitressing job over the Christmas period while she recovered. Sophie then decided to launch legal action against the shoe chain Dolcis, which admitted the shoes had been

faulty and was awarded £7,200 in Manchester County Court. She was represented by personal injury solicitor Mike Hardacre from law firm Pannone LLP who said the case could encourage other women who have suffered similar injuries to take legal action. He said: “Sophie had a most unfortunate experience and sustained serious injuries through no fault of her own. “The Sale of Good Act is there to protect people from merchandise that is unsuitable for purpose and Sophie was able to make her claim. “She was also fortunate in being able to prove when she bought the shoes and that it was the first time she had worn them.”

Shoes with a real kick A NEW exhibition of out of the ordinary shoes has opened at Cusworth Hall in South Yorkshire.

display with a section focussing on historic footwear dug up in archaeological excavations.

The collection includes footwear from around the world ranging from practical work wear like hobnailed boots to high fashion designs like Jimmy Choos. Old fashioned heels will also be on

The exhibition, which is set to run until October, also explores the origin of ‘shoe-perstitions’ including ‘putting new shoes on a table brings bad luck’ and ‘every step taken in one shoe is a step into trouble’.

Californian ladies footwear brand Seychelles have announced a pre-spring 09 injection line that will be available from November. Featuring 17 new styles the collection has a sexy edge, featuring bold details and jewel coloured satin finishes in taupe, teal, and plum, with chunky heels, bold rosettes, and ruffles on strappy burnished metallic sandals, and gold or pewter snake skin evening shoes. Emerging style favourites with buyers have included deco-esque power courts that mix patent leather and suede, on trend 70s inspired platforms with chunky blond wood

heels, and asymmetric leather and suede boots. Seychelles’ UK distributor said: “Seychelles injection collections are a great chance for retailers to buy into trends emerging midseason and the collection is packed full of modern classics, the designers have an exceptional eye for detail and manage to strike a perfect balance of trend and vintage looks.” A full spring/summer 09 line with follow later in the year made up of 28 new styles and there is also another injection collection planned for mid-summer.



Exclusive UK rights for Evercare EVERCARE Trading have signed a distribution agreement for the exclusive rights to distribute Fidelio in the UK. Fidelio is a wide fitting Austrian brand, producing mules, sandals and clogs for the comfort shoe market. The collection comprises three ranges: Fidelio, Soft Line and Hallux. Evercare have reported strong sales performance in a turbulent market for their specialised Hallux collection. The secret of Hallux by Fidelio lies in the ingenious design of the stretchable insert that significantly relieves pressure upon the bunion. Hallux by Fidelio is easily adjustable and the inserts’ soft padding fits

comfortably around the bunion whilst helping to hide differences between the left and the often more burdened right foot. When, as a last resort, bunions are surgically removed, there is normally a period of a few months between each operation.

At this time, when every step is painful, Hallux by Fidelio, through its’ adjustability, softness and anatomically formed removable insole, can also be of great benefit. Podiatrists, chiropodists and other healthcare professionals have endorsed the product. Furthermore the brand has been invited to exhibit at the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrist’s conference in October. Paul Wilson of the Durham Shoe Box, said: “Customers love the sandals as they are exceptionally cushioned under foot and have soft uppers with padded inserts, giving ample room for those troublesome bunions.”

Company invests in new tooling for leather collection NPS Shoes Ltd was founded in 1881 at the height of the industrial revolution as a workers cooperative. The Northamptonshire Productive Society was one of the oldest cooperatives of its type until 2006 when it then became privately owned. The workforce and employees however still maintain high levels of craftsmanship and ethics dating back over 125 years. The company produces several lines of footwear ranging from high quality street fashion, country footwear and industrial safety boots and shoes. It also continues to manufacture using traditional Goodyear Welted methods.

This autumn will see a new range of all leather men’s shoes going into production. For this, investments have been made in new tooling, including lasts and knives. Quality new leathers have also been sourced to create a quality shoe but retaining an

affordable price. Mark Henson, sales and marketing manager, said: “Many companies have chosen to import components and finished shoes from China and India. “This has led us to be asked to produce a fully ‘made in England’ traditional line of men’s shoes.” The factory also produces several lines of footwear, manufactured under agreement, varying from vegetarian shoes to crepe soled creepers. “There are still a select number of customers, and end users, that believe British is best and are passionate like us to keep producing high quality footwear here in the UK.”

Top brands make show debut THE 15th Edition of The Kensington Shoe Event will take place September 28-30. This exhibition has developed over the past seven years to become the most important showcase in the UK for many top factories from Europe and further afield. The Kensington Shoe Event takes place each season shortly after MICAM in Milan. This is to ensure that the many ranges on offer are Grinders are celebrating successful shows at Micam and GDS. Ranges exhibited included their Grinders Biker Boots range, Grinders Safety boot range, Grinders Cool Steel and a dedicated ladies range of all leather top end cowboy boots. For dealer opportunities contact Grinders on 01245 465050 or e-mail: .uk.

up-to-date and complete. Research shows that the dates of The Kensington Shoe Event give UK retailers the necessary time to analyse their current sales information prior to ordering for the following season. There are several important brands appearing at The Kensington Shoe Event for the first time in September. These include Salvador Sapena, Fiona McGuiness, Ca D'Oro (from

Venice), Beautifeel and Mocasines Pastoret. In total there are 65 collections on display in the informal yet business-like atmosphere created inside the Kensington Close Hotel. This show is certainly worth a regular visit by all footwear and fashion retailers who wish to keep a close eye on the important trends in the footwear industry.

Sales boost DEMAND for seasonal footwear and clothing during the warmest May on record has boosted retail sales figures. Sales volume for predominantly non-food stores rose by 3.9 per cent, the largest increase since March 1991 when it was 6.2 per cent. This was mainly driven by textile, clothing and footwear stores, which had a record rise of 9.2 per cent. The non-seasonally adjusted value of retail sales for the three months to May was 4.2 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier. The average weekly value of sales in May was £5.3bn, seven per cent higher than in May 2007, the largest rise for this sector since March 2002 when it was eight per cent.

Designer spotlight A new brand has come to UK shores with the aim of providing shoes for women with a love of unique and independent style. Danny Silvera, head of marketing and international sales for Seychelles Footwear, talks about importing vintage chic and Hollywood glamour.

Hollywood glamour marches on UK scene BASED in California, Seychelles started out from the idea that although vintage and boutique shopping was becoming more and more popular, girls who loved that style were not being catered for in the footwear market.

because that would make us too available. “I think it is much more satisfying if people catch a glimpse of our shoes somewhere and they have to find out about them themselves. We want to be more difficult to find if anything, we want it to be like a treasure hunt for fashion lovers.”

The aim was to create a range of heels, flats, pumps and wedges that took their inspiration from classic glamour, but with a twist from the latest designer trends and styles. Danny said: “We talked to so many girls who wanted to get their shoes in vintage stores because they loved the style, but the quality or fit that they needed just wasn’t there – we wanted to provide something just for them.” Rather than widespread distribution, the aim is for the brand to appear only in the most fashionable small boutiques. The company also avoids wide scale advertising, instead relying on word of mouth recommendations, appearances in celebrity magazines and product placement on TV shows including American Idol. The brand also has its fair share of celebrity fans, including Paris Hilton, High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus and Jessica Alba, who drive up demand. Danny added: “I think this


The brand has already found success in the UK with Kurt Geiger buying in the line for autumn and plans now in place to continue this partnership into 2009. Danny Silvera

method of promotion has got us a lot of exposure in the UK already as a huge percentage of the UK magazine have a lot of American celebrities in them and that means there is already a lot of interest there. “People love to hear about Hollywood and all the stars, and as we are right in their backyard then we have that instant access and exposure. “The thing most people like about vintage is that it is an individual look and the fact that everyone else won’t be wearing the same thing. “We try to stay true to that, sticking to more exclusive distribution and no advertising,

Danny added: “This is a really exciting step forward. The UK has always been a key market for us and Kurt Geiger has a strong influence over a lot of the biggest retailers in the country. “We have big plans for the future now, with five in-house designers shopping the world for inspiration from fashion to architecture, to automobiles to music. “Our next collection will be inspired by this, appealing to the world traveller who loves to pick up elements from many different areas and cultures, and mixing and matching those styles. “The trends we are focussing on are St Tropez chic and whimsical detailing and we are hoping for a great response over the next year in the UK.”


How to sell online

The essential guide to providing the best online shopping experience. Whether you already have a website of if you are getting one developed, understanding the customer buying process will help you convert more sales and stand a better chance of keeping your existing customers. This article looks at the main stages and offers hints and tips to deliver the very best buying experience to your customers. 1. First impressions (should I stay or should I go?) When a customer first walks into your shop they will form an impression in the first few seconds and this will play a major factor in determining whether they go on to buy or not. Through your merchandising a series of messages are communicated to your customers to help them make that decision to purchase. Exactly the same is true of your website, except when online it’s even easier to back out and go into another store. So it is essential you make the right first impression. TIP: Most important areas to consider here are: A) Site looks professionally designed and loads quickly. B) It is clear who you are and what you are about (a good logo and tagline will help). C) This is clearly a shopping site with simple navigation. 2. Why should I buy from this website? Your key messages are the things you say to your visitors to answer this question. They could be any number of elements but all of them will deliver value to the customer. For example: “On this site you will find quality ladies shoes at affordable prices”, or “We offer free 3 day delivery” or “Same day dispatch”. TIP: Take a look at some of your competitors websites and see what their key messages are, what are they telling their visitors to convince them to buy from the store. Think about how your messages could be different and more convincing. 3. Find product (without thinking) There are three rules for site navigation. A) It must be consistent, in that it always appears in the same place. B) It must be persistent so that it doesn’t suddenly disappear. C) It must be familiar so that your visitors don’t need to think to find what they are looking for. TIP: You cannot go far wrong by having an style navigation, more visitors will immediately know how to browse your site without thinking about it. Why put hurdles in the way? if you want to be individual do it with images and key messages, not the navigation. A new trend in navigation is emerging, I call it Quick Shop. Quick Shop allows users to find the products they are looking for in the

absolute shortest time, in the future many more websites will adopt this feature. After an expensive revamp, Marks & Spencer now use this method. TIP: Try their Womenswear section, under the Quick Shop menu. Select the phrases that appeal then as if by magic all relevant products will be shown immediately. Worth having a look. 4. Add to basket Many customers idly add items to their basket and still only have a slight interest in buying the product, its often just part of the browsing process. So you still have some selling to do. Make sure it is immediately very clear that an item has been added to the basket. Then every single page should clearly show the visitor has items in their basket and a Checkout button displayed nearby. Give them every opportunity to go to that Checkout! TIP: Encourage visitors to Checkout by placing a key message or two in this area. Offering next day delivery or 14 day easy return policy can help them overcome objections they may be feeling. 5. Checkout Now at the Checkout stage, this is where you have to close. In a shop you might pleasantly ask; “Would you like to pay by cash or card”. The internet has far more potential tripping points as you have to guess what objections the visitor may have. TIPS: Firstly, avoid distractions. The last thing visitors need at checkout are lots of distracting messages. These days the best Checkouts clear all messages and allow the customer to focus on just checking out. See as a good example. Make it easy to add their address details, a postcode lookup facility will save you lost customers. Then the big one, payment. You are hoping that a person who has never met you and knows nothing about you is going to give their personal credit card details to you and hope that you will send them something in return. The risk is completely on the side of the customer. Now is the time to give some very strong reassuring messages about why you are trustworthy. is worth looking at for ideas, they significantly improved their conversions by

David Mackley MBA BSc is MD of Intelligent Retail – the Multichannel Retail company specializing in Website creation and EpoS with central stock control all from a single till system. David can be contacted on 0845 680 0126 or Fashion Connect: refreshingly simple multichannel for independent retailers. revamping this area of the website. They talk about “Easy Returns”, “30 Day Money Back Guarantee” and “Privacy Policy”. These sorts of messages are very reassuring for the buyer. 6. Wait…. The customer now simply has to wait. What is going through their mind? I suggest many would be wondering if they will ever see the item they ordered. So, a great opportunity for the retailer to put their mind at rest. TIP: Send an email thanking them for their business. Tell them what a reliable merchant you are and exactly where in the process their order is and what happens next. This will be very reassuring. The more your customer enjoys their shopping experience the more likely they will be to do it again and tell their friends. 7. The grand opening (and potential letdown) So, your customer ordered a beautiful par of shoes, they want to feel proud of them. They have a

vision of the beautiful image you had displayed on your website. But what they actually receive is a brown cardboard box with packaging inside and the shoes stuffed in the middle. It’s not the experience they expected and feel a little let down.

Cognitive dissonance describes the emotion that buyers go through after purchasing an item. They are questioning whether they made the right buying decision. Will this really be the right product to meet their needs? As they first experience the product they look for assurance, if they don’t get it they may feel they made the wrong decision. This is where you can make a big difference. TIP: Adding a handwritten note about the product itself, what they are made from and why they are special will not only stimulate a bond between you and your customer but also assure them at this important time. Helping your customer feel they have made the right purchasing decision will greatly improve the chances they will buy again and tell friends about your website. ISSUE 48 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2008


Retail solutions

Society in gauge move THE Society of Shoe Fitters is providing new fitting gauges to help retailers compete against internet sales. Adult and junior gauges are now available for students and members of the Society of Shoe Fitters. They are manufactured by U.S. Brannock, a company that has worked alongside the SSF for many years. The gauges have also been produced in the most appropriate size scales, English sizes for adults and continental sizes for children.

Store shortlisted in business awards CAMBRIDGESHIRE’s Advance Performance running store has been shortlisted at the British Small Business Champions Awards 2008.

“So the aim is that the Society of Shoe Fitters gauges will bridge that gap.

Laura West, SSF secretary, said: “Retailers know that offering a professional, personal shoe fitting service is one of the few avenues left to compete against mass market suppliers and the internet.

“They also have an added benefit in that the size and width fitting scales are not easy for the public to interpret, giving the fitter time to explain that no two sizes and fittings are the same, in just in the same way as no two pairs of feet are the same!

“Creating ones own shop identity is much more important than taking on the corporate identity of just one brand on sale instore.

“If this stops the public using your valuable time and knowledge then shopping elsewhere, they will be worth their weight in gold.”

The BSBC Awards targets companies with under 50 employees, and aims to celebrate and recognise the achievements of the UK’s small business sector. Advance Performance was selected as an Area Finalist from 270 companies across Central Britain; an area stretching across 20 counties. Samantha Hale, managing director of Advance Performance, said: “We were thrilled to receive our invitation letter to the BSBC Central Area Finals. “We were also honoured that local FSB branch chairman, Colin Parnell,

came along to support us on the evening. “This is an accolade to the service we provide, our work with the running community and the attention to detail that all the team give to all our customers.” Advance Performance is now celebrating its 12th year of trading and have also been winners in the retail category of the Peterborough Evening Telegraph Business Awards 2007 and the i-Vita 2008 Awards for the business showing the best example of growth. Both the Peterborough and Cambridge stores have achieved a strong reputation for giving good advice and customer service, with resulting increases in sales and profitability year on year.

New compact printer is perfect for retail use THE new compact combination thermal matrix printer from Star Micronics, the HSP7000 is now available from DED Limited. It features the new TSP100GT print mechanism, giving it a fantastic print speed of 250 mm/sec. It is perfect for retail applications as it has been designed with voucher endorsement, cheque printing, form filling, receipt and restaurant slip printing in mind.

Featuring intelligent auto front slip loading with instant top of form positioning for validation and endorsement applications, it can take slips of up to 230mm wide by 297 mm long. The thermal print station is capable of red/black, blue/black or green/black printing and features an auto cutter and drop in paper loading for fast paper replacement. With 203 dpi printing, it can be

capable of printing quality logos and barcodes at speeds of up to 45 receipts per minute. Interfaces available are RS232 Serial, Parallel, USB or Ethernet. Drivers for Windows 2000/XP/Vista, WePOS, WIN XP Embedded, OPOS, JAVA POS, Linux, MAC & ESC POS. It is available in charcoal grey or star white. Details from DED Limited, 01797 320636, or visit

New directory is full of ideas The new sdea Directory of Shopfittings and Display is full of creative and innovative ideas to help you design retail interiors full of theatre and sophistication.

descriptive and illustrative images of the huge range of products and services that sdea members manufacture and supply to the retail world.

Whether you are trying to source a single retail display item or a complete shop fit, this well known guide is a great place to start.

Backed up with company profiles and full contact details, it is a fully comprehensive buyers guide to shopfittings and display equipment, PoS, signage and visual merchandising.

It is a visual delight, with full colour,

The publishers are giving away free copies of the sdea Directory to the first 50 readers that request a copy and mention Out on a Limb. sdea will help you source a reputable supplier or an elusive retail display product via the Directory, by calling our Infoline, the Association’s telephone enquiry service, or online at Call 01883 348911.

Diary dates Pure Olympia London, 3-5 August ( A showcase of over 800 directional womenswear brands, young creative labels, footwear and accessory collection.


Moda Footwear NEC Birmingham, 10-12 August ( Moda will include a seminar programme which will be free of charge to all visitors and exhibitors. The Moda catwalk show will present an overview of the seasons trends, providing an insight into key looks. ISSUE 48 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2008

WSA Las Vegas, 28-30 July ( Retail buyers will be given the chance to see the new SS08 footwear and major brands. Collections will be revealed in the Style Walk Lounge and live fashion presentations will be staged. London Edge London Olympia, 7-9 September ( The trade show for alternative street and club fashion, footwear, accessories and giftwear with over 300 collections available to view.

GDS/GLS Messe Dusseldorf, Germany, 12-14 September ( Highlights will include high fashion labels from international brands and the children’s footwear marketplace. Other events will include fashion shows, trend presentations and trend vision. Boutique by Chic Ricoh Arena, Coventry, 26-28 October ( Chic is the largest dedicated fashion accessories and travel goods showcase in the UK and is a must for all buyers of handbags, belts, gloves, luggage, jewellery and other fashion accessories.

Moda Preview

A huge range of new names, including well-known contemporary lifestyle and kid’s brands, are set to gather at Moda Footwear. THE CWB Kids’ Zone, a specialist area dedicated to children’s footwear has been expanded even further, to provide retailers with a wider choice of brands than ever. Debuts at the show include new arrival Jessica Simpson, alongside fellow US brands BCB, Max Azria

and Vince Camuto Signature. Other first timers include fashion brand Base London, kid’s shoes and slippers from Dinosaur Hunters, Duvet Ducks feather filled booties and development and distribution company Camuto Group. Joining them are Indian and Asian shoes for all occasions from Kadam, scooter brand Lambretta’s footwear range, Brazilian shoemakers Pampili and a casual shore range from Urban Beach.

Company aims to stay a step ahead A COMPANY at the forefront of ladies footwear, Arrk Footwear is one of the leading importers of women’s fashion shoes, supplying retailers all over the UK and Europe. A company spokesperson said: “We understand the world of fashion is fast moving and competitive. “The quick interpretation of fashion trends is very important. “We pride ourselves on our ability to react quickly and the need to keep in close communication with our customers. Our aim is to supply high quality fashion footwear to keep us

and our customers ahead of the competition.” Arrk Footwear offer customers fast deliveries, competitive pricing, continuous innovation throughout the season and a high level of customer service. The company’s new website also allows customers to get all the latest styles at fantastic prices with a safe and secure online payment system.

Free seminars from the experts RETAILERS will be able to benefit from a series of free seminars from industry experts at this month’s Moda. On Sunday Thierry Bayle of Management One will be revealing how to make your business run more smoothly and profitably thanks to better leadership and management of staff, how to prioritise the key issues affecting your business and pragmatic and realistic solutions to beating the competition. WWB editor, Isabella Galuschka will also be joined by a special guest to highlight the key essential trends for

spring/summer 09 womenswear, footwear and accessories. Then on Monday, Ray Buckler and Nick Pratt of Sitemakers will be sharing practical tips for successful online trading. They will explain how retailers can get their share of the rapidly increasing trend for online purchasing and how to develop into a multi-channel retailer in a series of easy steps. Finally, ITE’s menswear director Nick Cook will be exploring some of the new season’s most important looks for menswear and footwear.

Holiday prize on offer to visitors VISITORS to Chatham’s stand at this year’s Moda will be in with a chance of winning an exotic Caribbean holiday. The brand are launching their new Ship to Shore range of marine inspired clothing and footwear for spring/summer 2009 and have teamed up with the Bitter End Yacht Club resort in the British Virgin Islands to offer the opportunity to win holiday for two worth over £5,000.

Prabhu Kashap, Chatham’s managing director, said: “Moda will offer buyers the chance to see our new Ship and Shore range which offers real edge and attitude and a more energetic and personalised look for those seeking a marine inspired look and lifestyle. The Bitter End Yacht Club is a Caribbean island resort that combines elegance with water based sporting activities, making it the perfect partner for our new collection.”


Moda Preview

Style without compromise THE Lexus collection is for the modern woman of today looking for something exquisite, exclusive, elegant, stylish and sophisticated. The new collection features many new colours, plus an array of practical heels and toe shapes with uppers of embroidery, beads, sequins and diamantes to match that dress, so you stand out from the crowd.

Due to the reconstruction of the GDS fair camel active footwear and Camel Active bags created a whole new stand, which will be open for the first time during this Septembers' GDS. The stand builder ‘Winkels Messe und Ausstellungsbau GmbH’ created the stand together with the two licensee partners Gabor/Camel Active footwear and Beheim International Brands/camel active bags. The basis of the stand is the well known metallic structure combining it with huge space for product presentations, meeting areas, social area with bar and space for camel active image posters/images and the logo. There will also be a wooden structure around the whole booth, that combines the footwear part (shoes from Europe licensee partner Gabor and room for meetings and shoes for the Turkish Camel Active licensee partner Promar) as well as a separated bags part (Beheim Int. Brands). The bags section has been widened compared to the old stand.


Along with the shoes come the matching handbags for the perfect finishing touch. Available to buy in cartons or single pairs. Lexus is simply style without compromise. See us at: Moda, NEC Birmingham 10-12 August 2008, Hall 19, Stand No. FL29; Pure, Olympia II, 3-5 August 2008 Stand FO85; British Bridal Fair, Harrogate, 7-9 September

2008, Stand C79.

Introducing the Zurich ... LEADING men’s footwear brand Azor La Mode are proud to present ‘The Zurich’. A highly desirable shoe, hand finished in either black or brown Italian leather. Italian fashion stands for exclusivity, class and elegance; qualities embodied in The Zurich. The Zurich evokes the company’s mantra ‘A passion for good design’ and represents the ultimate in Italian style. This four eyelet, stacked heel shoe is the perfect accompaniment to any tailored

suit. The subtle detailing adds a distinctive edge making them the perfect choice for the modern man about town. Masterfully hand crafted for an impeccable finish, these elegant shoes combine a unique stitched design with classic Italian styling, providing superior flexibility and comfort. So put your best foot forward in The Zurich and enjoy a confident stride as it guides you swiftly to the top table. For more information call: 020 8773 8444, fax: 020 8773 8430 or e-mail:

For more information call: 01902 456800, e-mail: or visit:

Moda preview

Inspired touch from designer Debby PADDERS’ SS09 collection has received an inspired touch from new design manager Debby Cooper. She said: “The first collection a new designer presents is always a tense time, it is important to encapsulate all the brand values and reflect the market trends, while presenting a commercial proposition to our suppliers. “I loved working on this range and do hope that it is received with the enthusiasm with which it was conceived.” From soft leather uppers and linings through to the fine floral detail on leather footbeds – the ladies collection oozes feminine flair. The stylish Mediterranean inspired mule collection has wide appeal and the elegant strappy sandal Sapphire, gives a dressy summer look. Men’s styling for SS09 is easy and relaxed – taking its lead from nature with ethnic influences. Using natural leathers in neutral tones and interwoven detailing,


Emotion shows at Moda EMOTION will be revealing its spring/summer 09 collection at Moda, with designs combining comfort with fashion-led design. styles Antalya and Cesme effortlessly exude confidence. This theme is carried through to the men’s adventure sandal range, where subtle upgrades have produced a more dynamic design with greater comfort and support. Dual density soles, harder wearing outsole, shock absorbing midsole and softer, cushioned footbeds give a technical, high performance walking sandal. For more information contact Mike Rowe on 01536 534999 or email

This range sees the introduction of ‘EE’ fit to the line, meaning that there are now three width fitting options for customers to choose from. The colour palette features teals, purples and pinks alongside khaki, chocolate and tan, as well as the classic black, white and nude tones. The collection also features new leather combinations to provide a

range of finishes, from kid leather on daywear styles to patent courts and sandals with suede trims. A new range of casual-distressed leathers are also used in the informal footwear designs. New design details include jewelled and metal trims, ruching, cut outs and contrast piping together with new toe shapes and updated heel designs. Finally, some new, edgier looks have been added including a range of courts and sandals on a platform sole and wedge using cork or wood.


Pod bounces back at Moda ... A FOOTWEAR brand that went into administration is making a comeback under the guidance of the company that used to help make the shoes. Pod’s redesigned range will be launched at Moda after the brand licence was acquired by Aegis Shoes, a footwear development company that had previously been supplying over 60 per cent of the Pod range. Dennis McNeill, joint director of Aegis Shoes, said: “Because of our previous work with Pod we already had most of the moulds and were familiar with the designs. “The 60 per cent of stock that we supplied had accounted for about 80 per cent of their sales so we had a good knowledge of the brand.” Several companies applied to take over the Pod licence, including Wrangler and several Indian factories, however, after being awarded temporary permission to sell leftover stock, Aegis Shoes were named as licensee. Dennis added: “I think we did a good job with the temporary licence and as we also had some development ideas in the pipeline we were able to show them exactly what we wanted to do with the brand, and I think they were impressed.” The company will continue to produce many of the current Pod styles, but also retire some of the


older designs and bring in four or five new, more fashionable ranges. Dennis added: “We will be keeping on the Pod Originals range, including all the lines that made the brand successful, and adding some more, much needed, up to date designs. “We will also be releasing a new range of Poddlers. Pod tried this in the past but we think that the time is right now for this to be very successful. “There is also a new range of boots that we are very excited about and have already received a great response from the independent stores.” Aegis are also planning on adding one or two casual ranges in order to introduce the brand to a wider customer base, as well as continuing with the core Back to School styles and the men’s fashion line, Pod Italia. Dennis added: “At the moment a lot of people are worried about the effects of the credit crunch on retailing, but we look at it the other way. “People are going to want something new fresh and exciting in their stores at this time – and we are going to provide it.” Aegis have also kept on the best selling agents and office staff from Pod to provide continuity for retailers and consumers. Dennis added: “We feel very positive and we hope the new ranges will

give us a much broader appeal. “They may not be 100 per cent successful straight away, but they will get people’s attention, get them talking and let them know that Pod is now catering for a much wider

audience. “The first trial will be at Moda - we are planning to show as much as we can and are really looking forward to seeing what kind of response we get.”

Kids at Moda

Norvic will be showcasing its new spring collection at Moda. As well as core back to school lines the new Norvic collection features an array of summer essential shoes for girls and boys. The spring/summer collection is based on a colour palette of pastel pinks with shades of cream and white for girls, whilst the boys’ range is focused on an assortment of brown hues, blues and reds.

Open toed sandals and ballerinas featuring pretty appliquéd floral and jewelled touches adorn girls’ designs, ideal as summer party and bridesmaid shoes. Whilst for the boys’ styles, velcro fastening systems and contrast stitching has been incorporated into the chunky designs to encapsulate a young and trendy feel in the collection.

Firm’s eco-friendly ethos FOLLOWING on from its highly successful UK re-launch in January, Purple Crocodile is returning to Moda Footwear with another great selection of products from the Bobux of New Zealand brand. Bobux, established since 1991 and pioneers of the soft-soled leather baby shoe, prides itself on its use of natural materials that are eco-friendly. Recommended by podiatrists, Bobux is the first choice of mothers worldwide. Using their own eco-leather, which surpasses both British and European safety standards, Bobux have extended their eco-friendly ethos to all packaging, which is now fully recyclable. The Bobux Original range captures the imagination of a child through its colourful and fun designs and now I-Walk Junior and I-Walk allow Bobux

to care for small feet through their next stages of development. I-Walk are built on proper shoe lasts and use 100 per cent natural leather for both uppers and inners, allowing for the comfort and full breathability of a child’s foot. With its highly competitive pricing, I-Walk fills a much needed gap for a flexible, stylish and practical shoe in 100 per cent natural materials.

New collection at Moda OVER the last four years Petasil have developed a remarkable reputation for great quality, superb fitting school shoes in widths and from which they have developed exciting fashion styles which the retailer can trust. This season’s hot colours and materials have been combined with Petasil’s manufacturing know-how to create an exciting range of new styles, some new lightweight constructions and the latest in fashion detail. The second season of our infant collection Little Pets by Petasil looks like it will be a continued success reflecting as it does the intrinsic values of great fit and quality.


Join us on our new purpose built stand FG7 where you will also be able to view the new designer collection from Bo-bell created by César, a renowned designer with experience from famous global brands. For further details telephone 01604 876800.



Why everyone’s sweet on Rhiannon’s shoes By Louise Cordell INCH Blue’s handmade leather shoes are a hit with parents all over the UK as well as with celebrity fans including Charlotte Church and Mylene Klass. Now, nearly ten years after she started out making the shoes on her living room floor, co-founder Rhiannon Owen has turned the brand into a Europe-wide name. She said: “After I had my first child I noticed a gap in the market for quality children’s shoes. “I had no design training so it was big learning curve, but it has been very rewarding. “The business has grown massively, but it has been a gradual thing and we have worked hard to build up a reputation for excellent product quality and customer care. “All our customers have been very loyal, especially in today’s increasingly saturated market, and we have

people who bought their first baby’s shoes from us and are coming back when they are on their fourth child.” All the shoes are made from natural, non-toxic leather which lets the foot breathe and are specially recommended for babies as the next best thing to bare feet. The company are also particularly proud of the low carbon footprint of their product with everything designed and hand made in Wales, using locally sourced materials wherever possible. There are now over 100 designs in the collection with more added each season. Rhiannon added: “We always aim to have something fresh and unique to show off and get as much feedback as we can from customers to inspire new designs. “This season we have introduced a few new things including a range of metallic colours. “At trade shows we always see the

traditionalists opting for the classic designs and the trend buyers looking for something new and different, and we aim to offer something for both, a product range for everyone.” Inch Blue supply a wide range of stores, from Harvey Nicholls and Selfridges through to high end independent boutiques. They are now launching a range of sheepskin boots in collaboration with another local business called Susie Sheepskin Shoes. This new line was driven by demand from customers and endless requests for high quality sheepskin shoes. The range was previewed at Bubble earlier this year, receiving an excellent response and will be

appearing at trade shows this autumn. Rhiannon added: “When we started there were only one or two companies in competition with us, however now there are a lot, especially those offering a cheaper product. “But quality is critical for us as is working with local suppliers and making our shoes as ‘home grown’ as possible. Price is important but so is quality and our brand is an assurance of that – making our shoes good value for money. “It is also essential to keep things fresh, people always want more choices and options, and we do our best to provide that.”

Left: Rhiannon Owen and more shoes from the collection.



Show highlights latest trends THIS year’s International Jewellery London show is offering retailers the opportunity to find out about the latest trends with a detailed seminar programme. The line-up will feature 21 well known speakers providing ideas, inspiration and vital information about the industry. They will also be passing on their knowledge about developing successful business strategies, product information and essential skills. Speaks include Matthew Jeatt, UK director of trend and fashion forecasting company, Promostyl, who will present an overview of the trends for 2009; Rebecca Clarke of successful e-retailer Astley Clarke who will reveal the future of luxury

retailing online and industry expert Martin Rapaport discussing the state of the diamond industry. A variety of technical seminars will also provide visitors with essential knowledge about hallmarking and gemmology, as well as general business skills. Finally, high profile industry members will come together for the second IJL Great Debate, to discuss the motion 'This house believes that the global jewellery industry will deliver an ethically responsible supply chain in line with consumer demand'. This will be chaired by Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham, Minister of State for Trade and Investment and will be hosted by the Birmingham Assay Office.

Big charity hopes for little bag THE Healthy Back Bag Company has launched the ‘Cause Bag’ to help raise money for a breast cancer charity. The bag is a larger version of the Baglett with multifunctional pockets for purses, phones, cosmetics and a built in key hook. It is made from lightweight black microfibre and a pink lining embossed with the breast cancer ribbon logo, which is also embroidered onto the exterior spine of the bag. It also features an adjustable and detatchable shoulder strap, allowing the bag to be worn

over the shoulder, across the body or around the waist. Bristol-based charity Abreast will receive 50 per cent of the proceeds from every bag sale and the company hope to raise £10,000 for the cause. Priscilla Chase, managing director of The Healthy Back Bag Company, said: “We already have overwhelming interest from our retailers and customers and anticipate making a substantial donation to Abreast by the end of the year. We expect this big little bag to be a huge success.”

The autumn/winter 08 collection of accessories from SkunkFunk has been inspired by the culture of pre-war Berlin. The designs are restructured and multifunctional, with green as a central colour scheme, combined with greys, turquoises, browns and pinks. There is also a strong focus on detailing with metallic and leather patches and finishes. The fabrics used also reflect the pre-war inspiration including water-resistant fabrics, thick cottons, woollen cloth, all types of knits, viscose, wool and acrylics. However, the brand also make use of sustainable materials such as organic cotton, soya and bamboo. This collection also includes the first line of trademark leather garments with the recreation of SkunkFunk bestsellers, updated in dyed leathers and different washes to create a used appearance.

Hobo International heading for Europe The collections aim to mix practicality with cutting edge design offering sophisticated pieces in a range of colours. The line is created from Italian leathers and features purses, totes, weekenders and clutches, including signature style ‘The Lauren’ clutch, which appeared in the recent Sex and The City film. Erica Charles, UK sales and

LEADING US accessory brand Hobo International is set to launch its bag, belts and eyewear collection in the UK and Europe. In America the brand has over 3,000 stockists from Bloomingdales to Fred Segal and is showcasing its autumn/winter 08 and spring/summer 09 collection at this summer’s shows.

marketing director, said: “Hobo International is a firm favourite with consumers stateside, and with an avid celebrity following such as Eva Longoria, Julia Roberts, Hilary Duff and Cheryl Crow to name but a few, the timing is right for expansion. We are looking to build long term relationships with stores with exciting plans to build Hobo International.”

New showroom opens CONTEMPORARY costume jewellery supplier Fatlip has opened a new wholesale showroom in Worcester. The new store offers many more lines of jewellery than are available on the website including silver pendants, cotton and silk scarves and jewellery display items. Director Steve Watmore said: “We have always purchased extra jewellery and accessories for our own retail outlet and we wanted to

make these lines available to our wholesale customers. “However as we buy many items from small crafters abroad it isn’t always possible to just add them to standard website stock. So, the showroom allows us to provide limited availability items and one-offs such as the silver pieces. Later this year we will also be able to offer a variety of jewellery display items, such as busts and earring stands.”

Company continues to offer excellent craftsmanship REGENT Belt Company was formed in the 70s and is one of the oldest factories in the UK producing fine quality leather belts and leather accessories. With a reputation of excellent craftsmanship Regent has acquired an impressive customer base. Today, some 90 per cent of the company's turnover comes from

the manufacture of belts for private label retailers throughout USA, UK and Europe. Rod Bailey, product manager, said: “Having a manufacturing plant in the UK is once again becoming beneficial. As well as the traditional benefits of supplying premium products with the Made in England mark we can offer a

whole range of newer benefits. “We can import from specialist partners a whole range of finished product or subassembly items which can be completed in the UK. “We also have access to all the required raw materials from the best international suppliers which can, in turn, be made available to our offshore partners.”

Accessories With collections inspired by everything from buttons to bow ties, Lucy Q jewellery has won fans from all over the country. Now designer Lucy Quartermaine is hoping to build on the range and take her creations to Europe.

Silver service with a smile ... LUCY Quartermaine first worked with silver when producing jewellery for her art and design A levels.

very small scale and getting as much detail as I could into small pieces.

She then went on to complete a BA Hons in metalwork and jewellery at Sheffield Hallam University and spend a year training with a silversmith jeweller before starting up her own company.

“The university course gave me a lot of experience in many different areas of design but my year with a professional jeweller gave me an insight into the more practical aspect like sizing, that you only really pick up with experience.

She said: “It didn’t take long for me to realise that I loved designing on a

“Now, four years and two children later, it is going really well and

business is increasing all the time.” Lucy’s range is stocked in around 60 galleries and independent boutiques around the UK and is also sold through her online store. Her signature range uses a Jigsaw concept to create innovative, glamorous pieces including necklaces, rings, earrings and bangles. Her other collections include a Button line with a range of subtle and dramatic pieces, a Stone range, cast in moulds made from hand picked pebbles, a Handbag range and a striped and polka dot Tie and Bow Tie collection. More recently, new collections Splat and Flower have been launched and are already becoming very successful. Lucy added: “I am quite quirky and love creating anything that people can relate to. “I love showing silver in a simple context but with fun and unique ideas behind it, and I always want to use only silver in my pieces as I love the flowing look it has. “The best part for me is when people see my jewellery and it brings a smile to their face.” In the future Lucy hopes to expand her business outside the UK, and is


exhibiting at this year’s International Jewellery London in order to show off her designs to European buyers. She added: “I am continuing to expand and a lot of my pieces are cast and polished off site, so I am free to concentrate on creating more designs and increasing sales from my online shop. “I would love to go to Paris and do fashion week there and maybe even get some celebrities wearing the designs. Eventually I hope to open my own shop – a place where I can display and sell my pieces in a really unique setting.”


Jack Brown Footwear Consultancy Services

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Risk Assessments Training Problem Solving Range Reviews Systems Reviews Manual Writing Cost Reductions Spec Writing Projects and Assignments Sourcing Factory Audits QA Systems ...and much more!


We train the 'trainers'! Est. 1959, this ‘not-for-profit’ organisation offers training in all areas of shoe fitting, both adult and children. Our members are from shoe shops, suppliers, NHS, laboratories, agents etc. We offer the only recognised qualification in shoe fitting, promote our membership and offer help and advice to the industry and public. Whether you wish to achieve our full qualification (M.S.S.F.), receive instore training or merely attend a one day Workshop, we will be pleased to assist.

Full Qualification Course starts October 1st 2008 75% Refund available Technical Training Grant for SSF Recognised Courses

Tel: +44 (0)1953-851171 Email:




SHOE FITTING Suppliers of PLIMSOLLS, large stocks held. We also supply men’s, ladies & children’s leather & synthetic footwear, canvas shoes and slippers, to multiple and wholesale trades


Tel: 0151 920 7373 Fax: 0151 928 2757 Email: 36a Crosby Road North, Waterloo, Liverpool LSS 4QQ ISSUE 46 APRIL/MAY 2008

Out on a limb (Issue 48)  
Out on a limb (Issue 48)  

The trade magazine for the UK's footwear and accessories market.