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Ex-soldier strikes deal for sports footwear By Louise Cordell A FORMER soldier is aiming to revolutionise sports footwear in the UK after striking a deal with a Texasbased running shoe company. Alastair Dodds has become the first person in the UK to sell shoes on behalf of Texas-based Spira Footwear, which uses WaveSpring technology to increase running performance and help prevent injuries. The shoe design uses coiled springs in the mid-soles to lessen stress on the body, reducing impact force by around 20 per cent and retaining up to 96 per cent of the energy that is usually lost into the ground. He said: “I stumbled across Spira on a business trip to Texas and from the moment I tried them on I knew I had found something special. “I have been a keen runner for 15 years so I have plenty of experience of what helps improve performance and I just couldn’t believe that these shoes had never reached the UK market.” The brand’s fans already include British champion ultra distance marathon runner Sharon Gayter and

Spira founder Andy Krafsur and Alastair Dodds

the shoes have also received positive reviews from Running Fitness and Men’s Fitness magazines. Alastair added: “I really think this footwear can revolutionise the industry – the technology beats anything else on the market hands down. “What drew me to the product was that it really does ‘what it says on the tin’ – and while they are great for any runner, I think they will be especially popular with slightly older people or anyone else who wants to take good care of their joints.” Alistair is now selling the Spira shoes

Rescue bid is launched

through his online shop and is looking for independent retailers, especially specialist sports footwear stores, interested in stocking the product. He added: “For me this year is all about the launch and my aim is to get the shoes into as many retailers as possible so that people can see the product and decide for themselves. “Many aren’t familiar with the name as it has never been in the UK before but I think once people are encouraged to try them the results will speak for themselves.”

Hush Puppies keep it simple and clean ...

A RESCUE package has been launched by Stylo Plc to try and save struggling divisions Barratts and Priceless. The two high street shoe shop chains have gone into administration due to ‘challenging retail conditions’ – although currently they have not been closed and are continuing to trade as normal. Across the UK, the chains employ 5,450 in 400 stores and both are owned by the Bradford-based parent company – which is not in administration but its shares have been suspended. Stylo’s aim is now to get the businesses back on their feet by reducing costs, closing underperforming outlets, improving management teams and reducing stock levels. Stylo said it did not anticipate any short-term improvement in trading conditions, claiming: “Against this background, the board has concluded that current and projected sales cannot support the current cost base of the business, in particular the high rent obligations. Therefore a more proactive restructuring approach is required to return the business to profitability."

CLEAN lines and simple silhouettes make up the latest collections for men, women and children from Hush Puppies.

shoes range has also been expanded to include more adult styles, adapted for the Fit Left, Fit Right fitting system.

The autumn/winter 09 range sees the return of old style staples like the Chelsea Boot, but with a new twist.

Finally Hush Puppies is set to introduce a new Premium Range, designed to cater for the boutique market, and featuring high quality materials and designs including ‘mini’ girls’ riding boots.

Banana heels and pixie toes feature in the women’s collection in colours including slates, greens and reds. The AW09 children’s collection focuses on current trends with button trims and fur lining for girls and rugged soles and velcro fastenings for boys.

Debate over orders is hotting up THE show season is now underway and the debate over whether to spend on short or long orders is hotting up. This issue we hear from several brands that are helping the independent retailer by keeping collections in stock and cashing in on small orders – however many others are moving ahead with their winter ranges. But what do store owners prefer? And how do you get out of a slump when you have stock lingering on your shelves that you can’t afford to replace? Let us know what your buying plans for the year are and whether they are changing to match the high street slowdown. On that note, the financial climate is still causing waves, but the latest research has suggested that although high risk business models are set to fail in the coming months, those that have played it safe will profit. We also meet a designer who took a student brain wave and turned it into a brand new style of shoe and a children’s footwear store owner who keeps customers entertained by stocking toys as well as shoes. Finally, we are looking forward to one of the biggest shows of the year, Moda, and the host of established brands and new names that will be showing off their latest collections.

The fitted school



Issue 51 February/March 09


Classic tailoring makes a comeback


Offering a helping brand


Sales Tony Barry - Sales & Marketing Director Beverley Green - Sales Manager (

Karrie-Anne Nowell - Sales Executive (


Advertising Contacts Tel: 01226 734333 | Fax: 01226 734477


Stef is walking tall


Look ahead to Moda starts on



New collection down the Tube



A new way of walking


Editorial Contacts Tel: 01226 734694 | Fax: 01226 734705 Email:


Shake, rattle and sole ...


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

Stewart Holt - Studio Manager (


Brand sales best in 30 years


Kyle Wilkinson - Design & Production (

Circulation 01226 734695 (24 hour hotline) Email:

Inspired by bygone classics IN hard times it is comforting to look back with rose-tinted glasses and Hush Puppies’ men’s collection seeks inspiration from bygone classics. As classic tailoring makes a comeback on the catwalks, Hush Puppies create a collection of footwear exhibiting simple, understated beauty. Details are subtle and not gratuitous, taking classic silhouettes and modernising them with fresh new colours in fine leathers. The dress range has been given a modern slim-line look with streamlined sole units and elongated squared toe shapes. Royal purple has reigned in the menswear palette. Bright separates from violet to indigo are mixed with neutral hues and Hush Puppies has also selected new complementary colours such as slate grey and aubergine and burnished tan. The casuals’ styles are given similar modernising treatment with slimmer, lighter sole units and the emphasis on quality leathers and subtle detailing. The Carpenter, Broderie and Craftsmen styles have an individual

authentic handcrafted look and can easily be worn with denim and casual cotton clothing. Made with soft-feel, natural waxy leathers the uppers have cushion top lines and inside a deep cushion polyurethane foot bed in soft suede makes for supreme comfort. Not satisfied with delivering great casual style, Hush Puppies continues to develop new benefits which set their footwear apart from the competition. Hush Puppies introduce Bodygel as a new benefit for autumn/winter 2009. Featured in styles Bennett, Sawyer, Randall, Hurley – this group is fashioned in super soft leathers, with uppers being hand sewn to the highly durable lightweight sole and the contoured polyurethane foot bed having the Bodygel gel pad technology in the heel for outstanding comfort. And as if that wasn’t enough the Bodygel range is also available in wide fitting and from UK sizes seven to 15.

Overall, men’s shoes get the classic treatment. Everything you would expect from a heritage brand with shoes that are stylish, classic and timeless. For more information call 0207 860 0100 or visit

News In a difficult market, many businesses are thinking about launching their own brands in a bid to boost revenue and save on wholesale costs. Mary Ferguson spoke to Alan Strang, part of a husband and wife team using their experience to help independent footwear retailers.

Couple offer a helping brand ... AS founders of supplier Action Apparal, Alan and wife Katherine helped build up brands including Chilli Pepper, Chilli Red and Chilli couture. And in September, after selling their interest in the company, the pair set up The Brand Forum – designed to help retailers develop their own brands and assist brands who want to broaden their offer. Alan said: “I hate to use the word ‘consultancy’ but that’s essentially what it is. When we sold Action Apparal the natural thing was for us to look at setting up another brand but we felt that today’s environment gave us a good opportunity to share our knowledge with others, particularly those who may be struggling.

“We are working with retailers who in the past may have just stuck a label on something to create a brand but in today’s consumer-savvy market they need to do more.” However, Alan said that when it comes to launching their own brand, independent footwear retailers shouldn’t enter into the idea lightly. “Launching a brand is not a small job – it does take money – and you need to be of a certain size to set up your own range. “However in some cases it may be that a group of independents get together, something we have seen explode in the clothing industry. It’s a way for the smaller retailers to tackle and compete with the big chains together. It’s about bolting on a new trading aspect.”

Alan said that the current economic climate is actually providing opportunities for retailers and those that ‘survive’ will be the ones that think outside the box. He added: “There are a lot of retailers and brands that are looking at their businesses and wondering what they can change. “And now is actually a great time to do that – shoe retailers can take advantage of falling property prices and deals and secure sites and units they could never have dreamed of in so-called ‘good times’. “People may be cancelling their luxury cruises but they still want to look good, and shoes are more essential than most items of clothing.”

Alan and Katherine

Show set for change of location BREAD and Butter is returning to Berlin this summer after a four year stint in Barcelona. The show will take place at the airport Berlin-Tempelhof in July and is now set to remain there for at least the next ten years.

Left: Matt and his designs. Above: One of the designs

Post-party footwear inventor to target holiday clubbers By Mary Ferguson THE inventor of post-party footwear brand Rollasole has revealed plans to expand his business abroad, targeting clubbing hotspots like Ibiza. Matt Horan, who launched the rollup flat pumps for women to swap with their heels after a night out, already has the products stocked in 26 Oceana nightclubs in the UK, where they are available from vending machines for £5. And by the summer, he hopes they will be available from nightspots in Ibiza and America, as well as London tube stations and UK shopping centres. The shoes, which come rolled up in a drawstring bag, are already stocked

in footwear shops in Ireland and Sweden and Matt is also approaching retailers in England. He said: “There are other manufacturers doing a similar thing but ours are different because they roll up and are available immediately when people’s feet hurt. “Many women don’t think about their shoes hurting them before they go out so wouldn’t think to pack a spare in their bags – which are often too small to hold them anyway. And when they are re-used, Rollasoles role up small enough to fit in a tiny clutch bag.” Matt said he is always working on new designs and has set up a Facebook group to gain feedback before the designs to go into

production. Mocking up a prototype, he posts it on the site and then invites people to offer their comments. “The most recent idea I put up there was for faux crocodile skin and I found it to be like Marmite – people either love it or hate it. “The group is a great way of finding out what people think about designs though before I get them manufactured.” Matt is also experiencing huge demand from couples buying bulk orders for their weddings, to give to guests at their receptions. Celebrity clients including the son of Nigel Mansell and football pundit Gary Lineker are already fans, ordering personalised pairs for their big days.

Karl-Heinz Müller, Bread and Butter president, said: “We have never doubted Berlin as location, on the contrary. “When we decided to relocate we were simply lacking the adequate event venue but now the airport Berlin-Tempelhof is available, we can use this historical chance to return home. “We now have the possibility to completely redefine and newly position the show.” The July event is taking place early in the season to help with forward orders and Mr Müller is now urging other trade events in the capital to do the same. He added: “The early date is essential for all those involved in the textile and retail industry. “If buyers and retailers are informed early, the ordering can begin on time and be concluded early. “I assume that other Berlin events will join us in this early date – only with a united effort can Berlin establish itself as a lasting fashion capital in Germany and Europe.” ISSUE 51 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009


Designer spotlight When student Stef Heydecke came up with an idea for shoes designed to fold up and fit into a handbag, it didn’t take long for a footwear design company to sign her up. Louise Cordell reports.

Stef walks tall with split sole invention STEF studied fashion promotion at Southampton Solent University and for her final footwear project decided to create a new design that was both fashionable and functional. Her folding shoes – which have a split sole that allows them to be stored away without losing their shape – became an instant success and she was introduced to Bacup Shoes, who were working on a similar project. Stef said: “The original inspiration came from the fact that all women have the common problem of wearing high heels because they look good, but don’t always think about how they feel and then end up suffering for it. “It is not good for women to be walking around barefoot after a night out because their shoes have become too uncomfortable, so I thought it would be ideal to have flat, safe shoes on hand. “I really felt that it was a big niche in the market that hadn’t been developed yet.” Stef joined a team of footwear experts, podiatrists and designers who – after two years of research


and development – came up with the Redfoot Foldable Shoe. The brand’s celebrity fans now include Twiggy, JK Rowling, Nicky Clarke and Trisha Goddard and the range has been so popular it has expanded each season. Stef added: “For me the most important thing was making them stylish as well as comfortable. “The idea was to make them so desirable that people would have no problem with swapping their fashionable heels for flats. “They have now been retailing for just over a year and have had an amazing response so far.” There are 32 styles in the collection and the aim for the next few seasons is to refine and tighten up the range, creating a selection of core designs as well as changing key styles for each season. The company are also planning on launching a premium line of the folding shoe design, made up in leather with a slightly higher price point that will appeal to new customers. They will also be expanding various

Stef Heydecke with a selection of her folding shoes.

accessory collections to complement the RedShoes brand, including a folding bag to store the discarded high heels, that coordinates with the folding shoe style.

“You often see a lot of the same styles year on year, tweaked but not really changing and there are hardly every any revolutionary new designs.

She added: “I think that, as a rule, the footwear industry can be fairly cautious about moving things forward.

“Retailers have told us that they find many new brands and collections too similar to what they have already seen before.”


Above, from left, Lobster, Gun, My Pride and Joy. Left: Junzi Lan. Right: Butterfly Biscuit. Right, bottom: Wheel man

Hong Kong fashion designers step out ... THE Hong Kong Young Fashion Designers’ Contest 2009 has been showcasing the next generation of the country’s design talent. Taking place at Hong Kong Fashion Week, the competition has revealed the best new creations for men’s, women’s and children’s footwear. The kids’ champion was Yeung Yuet Ming with ‘Lobster’, men’s champion was Chan Yuen Man with ‘Junzi Lan’, the sports champion was Wong Wai Ying with ‘Wheel Man’, ladies’ sandal champion was Chau Cheung with ‘Gun’, ladies’ boots champion was Law Hau Sin with ‘Butterfly Biscuit’ and ladies’ fashion champion was Leung Wai

Fai with ‘My Pride and Joy’. Hong Kong Fashion Week is the largest show of its kind is Asia and features 1,400 exhibitors from 23 countries. Raymond Yip, assistant executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, said: “Fashion plays an important role in Hong Kong’s economy and contributed about eight per cent to Hong Kong exports in the first 11 months of 2008. “In times of financial uncertainty, traders and consumers tend to look for stylish products, which is why we need innovative ideas more than ever before.”


Brand spotlight Traditionally a tough man’s brand, Cat has been making waves with the launch of its ladies’ collection. Out On A Limb speaks to Vicky Carr, the designer entrusted with delivering hard wearing style to a whole new audience.

Cat values with feminine twists ... CORDWAINERS-trained Vicky Carr spent the first part of her career being headhunted by Red or Dead and Shelleys to create their footwear collections and was also responsible for catapulting Lacoste’s women’s line into a trendy designer label.

and sales figures have grown beyond the expected numbers.

to the success of an active men’s range in 2008.

just going off on a whim, but it is worthwhile in the end.”

The aim now is to take advantage of this potential and increase business as more buyers and distributors get involved. Vicky added: “It was important to start out slowly and get everyone’s confidence up as the company was used to dealing with the men’s side of things and what we were trying to do was very different.

Vicky also believes that the increasing demand of long lasting, quality footwear is a good sign for business, as it ties in with the brand’s long term aims.

This success meant that she was the ideal choice when the creators of the industrial and practical Cat range decided to expand into women’s footwear.

They include nappa leather mary janes and lace-ups in a range of colours, with design touches including broderie anglaise lace uppers, and active sports sandals with new tread patterns on the soles and footbeds.

She said: “I knew that the project was going to be a real challenge. The brand is traditionally known as menswear, so it was always going to be a gradual process and I felt that I really had to absorb and understand the brand if it was going to succeed. “The styles had to have intrinsic Cat values, for example be durable, rugged and well designed, but also with attitude and a feminine twist – they couldn’t just be men’s shoes in women’s sizes.” Now, a year into the project, the response has been very promising


“But I think it helped that we have really tried to produce designs that make sense to the brand, we didn’t come out suggesting stilettos and patent leather, just a more feminine version of the traditional hard wearing styles. “We have just been taking small steps so far, but we are now reaching the point where as success is increasing we will be pushing into new distribution and new markets.” The 2009 collections are built around active rather than rugged styles, due

Vicky added: “I think we have made very good in-roads into summer products – these were the most challenging as they are so different from traditional Cat designs. “However, it was worth persevering with as it is very important that people can look at the line and immediately recognise the brand – they shouldn’t have to turn the shoe over. “This means being very strict when putting the design together and not

She added: “People don’t want a cupboard full of ‘wear-once’ shoes I know I don’t. They want something they can own and wear for a long time. “But while as a designer you have a nose for things and you are aware of what is going on in the industry, you also have to do what it right for the brand. “The most important thing is to stay true to that, because if it doesn’t make sense for the brand everyone will see through it, from the retailers to the customers.”

New Product Showcase

Walk and talk ...

The new 2009 collection from Teva combines lifestyle and performance ranges and features new designs as well as reissued favourites. The performance range has been engineered and tested to perform for elite outdoor athletes and white water

professionals in conditions from alpine trails to white water expeditions. The lifestyle collection is made up of a range of traditional styles and new additions, designed specifically for travel and leisure, from beachwear to streetwear.

New range offers hygienic solution FOOT-Sox are disposable, try on socks that offer a hygienic customer service when trying on shoes. The new range is made from top grade yarn and now features a well

finished top line giving a better fit. Foot-Sox remain hygienic and offers retailers protection, preventing valuable stock from becoming soiled.

LET your feet do the talking with our first range of tattoo and graffiti inspired, hand-painted Pumpz. The range, designed to appeal to men, women, and young adults, came from the realisation that people want a more unique and personalised fashion statement. Each design is entirely hand-painted by talented and experienced artists to create an individual and unique piece of fashionable, wearable, art. We use only the very best quality shoes so that the product is comfortable and durable, and the specialist paints that are used are flexible and hardwearing so that your design continues to look as clean and bright as the day you bought it. We have a full e-commerce site at where you can see all our latest designs and developments, buy your Pumpz completely securely, and even submit your own designs for painting onto your Pumpz. Watch out in 2009 for our first kidz

range, a whole new range of adult designs, and development of our complementary beltz and bagz sites. You can contact us anytime at Trade buyers are welcome to come to us with their own design ideas, which we can turn into their own, exclusive range.

Setting the right tone ... AFTER the excesses of Christmas and New Year, everyone wants to feel their best and most body beautiful self, so give your customers what they are searching for with Chung Shi shoes. Chung Shi, the revolutionary exercise shoe, is proven to noticeably tone the legs, buttocks and stomach by working legs up to 257 per cent harder than traditional trainers. An inbuilt ‘pilates system’ which works by using a unique patented reflexology bar in the centre of the shoe and a 15 degree curved sole, helps to stimulate the use of neglected muscle groups and improve core stability. Chung Shi shoes have outsold the MBT range of fitness shoes in America, making them the leading choice for consumers looking to improve their overall fitness and tone up.

These light, stylish and comfortable shoes also help to reduce cellulite and varicose veins by increasing your body’s circulation as you walk. Customers have been delighted with results achieved by wearing Chung Shi shoes, so why not improve your own bottom line? For more information please contact LJM Sports: e-mail: or call 01675 430115

Great new range for summer CHATHAM, one of the UK’s leading footwear and clothing designers, has created a great new range for men this summer. Chatham’s reputation for producing classic, high quality footwear continues through to the new range, with the inclusion of the Kayak, a great new deck shoe for men. The Kayak has a canoe side seam and is made from high grade pull-up leather. Containing an inside top line cotton webbing and double layer EVA perforated sock, this classic style deck shoe gives high levels of comfort yet remains practical and hard-wearing. Adjustability and secure fitting is ensured by its one piece lacing and a high grade rubber sole with a razor cut tread pattern gives extra grip and stability for especially wet conditions.


Chatham’s deck shoes are all handstitched and constructed on the last allowing the shoes to fit perfectly. For further information visit or call 0845 2700 217.


New collection goes down Tube A NEW footwear collection made from London Underground seat covers has been launched by design company Above+Below London. The range is made up from rare vintage covers from bus and train seats from the 1950s to the 1990s. The idea came about when design college

graduate Robert Taylor and business partner and film maker Caroline Read realised the fabrics were relics of London’s design heritage and decided to preserve them. The recycling project evolved into one of London’s most environmentally friendly footwear ranges and after being on sale for only two months, the brand’s popularity is growing fast. Robert said: “These trainers are some of the greenest on the market, because they are made from 100 per cent UK waste. “Not only are the uppers made from

reclaimed and restored rail and bus seat fabrics, the soles contain recycled tyre rubber. “In addition we have incorporated high quality napa leather in the trim, using repurposed chequebook wallets from a high street bank.” The original design idea was also given a boost by Vivienne Westwood who used the materials in a pair of her elevated court shoes which were exhibited at the London College of Fashion and London’s Transport Museum. Robert added: “We’ve had a really good response nationally and from Europe to date, and we have also had quite a few orders in from the

US. Our first style is a tribute to Chuck Taylor’s hi-top classic basketball shoe – but whichever pattern customers decide on it is unique and limited edition. “We are also planning on introducing a low top design and also some smaller children’s sizes which we think will be very popular.”

Retailers asked to tee off for charity

Show set to build on success THE Off-Price Show London is set to continue its successful series of events at Olympia, London on March 15 and 16 2009, with the expansion of its footwear section. Kidderminster Footwear returns to the show after a short absence, and the event will also feature companies such as Kenyons, Jay-Bill and Zoe Footwear, offering buyers (trade only) an exceptional opportunity to view and order from stock ranges not normally available elsewhere.

RETAILERS are being asked to support charities at this year’s International Golf Championship of the Shoe, Leather and Allied Trades.

“This year, although these are very difficult times I would be extremely grateful for your continued support as it brings much needed relief to many.

The event is set to take place in June at Slaley Hall in Northumberland and last year raised over £4,800.

“The charity shoe trade golf has raised thousands of pounds for those in need over the years – predominantly to people from our own industry who need a little extra help.

This year, those taking part are being asked to either donate a prize or send a cheque, which will be used for purchasing prizes, for the prize draw. Nick West, charity steward for National Shoe Trade Golf, said:

“All donations will be acknowledged personally and recognition will be made in the official programme of the championship.”

Leading wholesalers, importers, specialist stock houses 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 in-season 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.


For further details visit ISSUE 51 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

The event is at Slaley Hall in June

Bid to uncover new talents A host of celebrities donated their footwear to create a piece of art marking the horrors of the Holocaust. A pile of shoes is currently being displayed in Coventry city centre, inspired by the rooms full of shoes found by the soldiers who liberated Auschwitz at the end of the Second World War. Celebrity Come Dancing finalist Rachel Stevens, model Jodie Kidd and Olympian Christine Ohuruogu all donated some footwear, which will be given to charity. The display was created to mark the national Holocaust Memorial Day.

FOOTWEAR website is launching a collaboration with the London College of Fashion in an attempt to discover the best new talents in footwear design.

will be working exclusively on creating a new collection – to win the opportunity to have their entire footwear range put into production and stocked on

The site will be sponsoring the Cordwainers footwear design course at LCF and for a ten week period the 40 students

The competition will end in March, when the e-tailer will announce the winning designer and their collection.

Moda Preview

New Moda format brings new arrivals A NEW format for Moda Footwear has led to an increase in new brands showing alongside established names. New arrivals include sheepskin boots from WLM New Zealand and an ethically sourced collection from Zinnia in the Boutique section. Art A is appearing for the first time with its women’s and men’s collection and US label Rocket Dog will be revealing its range of pumps, sandals, high fashion boots and heels. One of the biggest names in comfort footwear, Mephisto One, is another brand making its first ever appearance, alongside DB Shoes, a specialist in wide fitting footwear which is 100 per cent made in England. Finally in the kids’ section new names including Elephantito, French label Orchestra and Spanish brand XTI Bright will all be making their first appearance. The show’s free seminar programme has also been unveiled and is aiming to provide advice and expertise on the most serious issues facing retailers in 2009. Specialists Ray Buckler and Nick Pratt will be addressing the most talked about trends in online retailing, including how retailers can maximise sales in increasingly challenging

The show’s free seminar programme has also been unveiled and is aiming to provide advice and expertise on the most serious issues facing retailers in 2009 conditions. Seminars include ‘Practical Advice’ – dispelling myths and what ecommerce means to the industry, ‘Presenting Your Product Online’ – developing an online brand identity and maximising your sales, ‘Customer Confidence’ – minimising the risks and how to replicate good customer service online and finally how to drive traffic to your site and convert visitors into loyal customers. Additionally, for the first time, visitors will be able to arrange one-to-one meetings with the online experts in an e-commerce surgery to get some personal advice on any problems they may have.

COMFORT footwear brand Romika continues its positive resurgence despite the difficult economic climate and is set to unveil a strong autumn/winter 09 range which promises to further extend this growth in both distribution and sales. Romika, which was originally established in the 1920s, has gone from strength to strength since it was taken over by the Josef Seibel Group in 2005. Using the most advanced technology and the strictest standards of quality control, Romika has stayed true to its authentic German heritage, whilst achieving wide appeal across global markets. Inspiring styling with comfort at the core means key retailers across the world are now stocking the brand with success, including Nordstrom, The Walking Company (USA), Shoon and The Clinkard Group in the UK. Martin Ingram, managing director of Romika in the UK and Ireland attributes this success to a number of key ingredients. He said: “A heritage of superb fitting lasts, resilient PU injection construction and comfort built in at every level of shoemaking is a great place to start. “Add to this progressive and desirable design and top quality infrastructure in production, distribution and marketing and you have a recipe for success. “We are really delighted that our brand offering and close relationship with our customers has allowed us to buck the market gloom. “We are very positive going in to the new season that these strong growth levels will continue.” Highlights of the Romika autumn/winter 09 collection includes sporty casuals sitting alongside smarter wedge profiles. The use of rich, deep, soft leathers with a metallic sheen alongside technical fabrics and suede provide comfort, function and interest in abundance. Romika will once again offer the unique waterproof and washable Ameretta winter boots with the range further enhanced by the original Romika Blizzard boot which provides current trend relevance. The new Romotion range presents patented technology based upon a dynamic footbed. This is integrated within the mid foot area of the outsole which actively supports a natural way of walking. Shoes with a new technology for healthy motion!

French outdoor lifestyle brand Aigle is launching a new collection at Moda. The company – whose heritage dates back to 1853 – draws inspiration from classical and retro designs for AW09. The Akhal is an equestrian inspired full grain leather boot with strap detail and half rubber sole. Scooper Mid is a retro-designed perforated, full grain leather and suede casual shoe. The Rantage is a vintage-inspired, walking-style boot available in either a full grain or an oiled leather.


Moda Preview

Capturing the colours of the seasons ... XTI has introduced a new collection for spring/ summer 09.

camel in plain and patterned designs.

XTI aims to capture the colours of the spring/ summer season with black, white, red, turquoise, light blue, blue marine, green, yellow, orange, fuchsia, wood rose, cream, brown,

Leather, canvas, patent, sequins and printed fabrics are the top materials used for the different ballerinas, vulcanised, sandals, court shoes and moccasins.

To see the latest collection from Grinders visit our stand at Moda – NEC Stand Number FF39, contact us on 01245 465050 or e-mail:

Quality shoes marketed in over 70 countries MEPHISTO offers an extensive pallet of quality, comfortable shoes that are marketed in more than 70 countries. To guarantee softness and easy walking, every shoe includes a midsole with the technology Soft-air which helps in the natural

walking process of the feet, and reduces the shock resulting from walking to a minimum. Mephisto offers shoe choices for men and women and aims to design and realise the best shoe for each customer.

‘Style without compromise plus elegance’ THE Lexus Collection, with its wonderful colours, dynamic styling and trendy classic looks has shoes and handbags to match the dress for that special occasion be it a party, wedding or if you just want something glamorous and special. Lexus Collection is style without compromise plus elegance for the cosmopolitan woman of today. This year sees the launch of many new styles and as usual the range can be purchased as single pairs or carton lots, with an in-stock and fast delivery service. For more details call 01902 456800, visit or e-mail


See us at the following exhibitions: PURE, Olympia, 8-10 February 2009, Level 1, Stand FO123 MODA, NEC Birmingham, 15-17 February 2009, Hall 20, Stand FG41 Harrogate Bridal Fair, Harrogate, 810 March 2009, Stand C79

Moda Preview Camel Active Footwear has revealed its autumn/winter 2009 collections for men and women. The men’s range ‘West East Scout’ is made up of ‘City and Casual’, ‘Sneakers’ and ‘Outdoor’ – and include boots with Gore-Tex for functionality, leather with creased effects, high quality velour and oiled nubuck. The women’s range is inspired by the Far East with a focus on comfort - resulting in knitted cuffs, big buttons, world folk style decorations, fur appliqués and leather fringes. The new winter line also features Eskimo and folklore themes with intricate embroidery, fringe, and leather eyelets.

All-year stock would support retailers – claim By Louise Cordell FOOTWEAR brands should be supporting independent retailers by keeping goods in stock all year round, according to an industry stalwart.

Getting a step nearer to fitness targets RIEKER is aiming to help people meet their fitness targets with its range of AntiStress Footwear. The shoes include technology which spread pressure over the entire surface of the soles to provide shock

absorption and comfort. The designs are made from up to 50 parts to give the best fit and can be found in independent shops throughout the UK and online.

New brand offers high fashion to basic styles NEW brand Khriò are set to exhibit at this year’s Moda with an autumn/winter 09 footwear collection of flats, day shoes, heels and boots.


The brand’s aim is to produce a fashionable product without compromising in design, quality, ISSUE 51 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

comfort or price. The collection is divided into lines from high fashion to more basic styles and, with a focus on research and development, aims to offer new product and innovative materials.

Peter Challis, of Ikon, is so conviced that buyers have had to move towards smaller and shorter-term orders, that he will once again be showing his spring summer collection at Moda, alongside his new autumn line. He said: “We have found that many people would rather buy from stock than commit to forward orders. “They are understandably reluctant to tie their money up and this has become more prevalent over the last year, especially for independents and smaller chains, given the current financial climate. “I think it has become the brand’s responsibility to keep as much in stock as possible and that is certainly what we try to do – that way we are not losing out on even the smallest sale. “It gives us a point of difference in a crowded market and also allows us to support the smaller stores. “It benefits us as well, as if shops

cannot get something from us at short notice then they are likely to go to a competitor for a similar product instead.” Peter added that achieving the correct balance between working a close season and completing production in time – especially for the longer forward orders – can be a challenge. He believes this may even become more difficult due to an increased amount of manufacturing moving out to India and the Far East, which usually means a longer turnaround. He added: “It is just about utilising every sale, even the smaller ones, because they all add up. “We are fairly optimistic at the moment because sales have been positive – we are just under two per cent down on last year – but I think it will be the next six months that will be difficult and will really give us an idea of how the next year or so is going to be. “We have been established for some years, so repeat business is good – but the problem lies in getting new people in, and that is something we are going to be working on improving.”


Stepping out in style A new boot brand is set to take the market by storm after announcing its arrival in the UK. RADICAL Boot Co UK - is a breath of fresh air for the world of dress, western, exotic and biker boots, bringing colour, excitement and artistic passion to the industry. As well as boots and sports shoes constructed from genuine exotic skins such as stingray, eel, ostrich, snake, crocodile and lizard, wallets and belts also feature within this original range. With an extensive client base in America, Canada, Japan and Mexico, it is predicted these boots with a difference will get the UK fashion circuit talking. Handcrafted in Mexico, the birthplace of the Western style boot, each pair is made with passion and precision; the arches of the soles in the Western range are enforced with a special steel plate to prevent any flexing from side to side, and a soft calf leather is used for the interior for extra comfort. Radical Boot Co UK also uses Goodyear welt construction, which allows for multiple sole replacements therefore extending the life of the boot or shoe. Radical Boot Co UK offer a unique image application, allowing them to put any image permanently into the leather, giving a clarity as clear as a photograph as opposed to just painting on top of it. The images and colours remain clear without fading, peeling or being rubbed off for the life of the leather.

James Bilson, Radical Boot Co UK managing director, said: “We are proud to be the only manufacturer that uses this unique technology, which is a revolution in the leather industry. “It is great to be able to supply our clients with a unique product and we are very excited to be breaking into the UK market with something different to offer.” Radical Boot Co UK not only caters for the male market, the launch of Blue UK by Radical Boot Co features an exciting range of quality women’s shoes and boots that offer both style and individuality. Blue UK accessories also include a unique range of women’s belts and hand painted buckles, which guarantee to give any outfit a classic, original edge. The leather for each shoe is hand prepared with the utmost care and then printed one pair at a time. Using the same high standard construction techniques as Radical Boot Co UK, all the shoes and boots, including soles and lining, are made from genuine grade A calf leather. James added: “We recognise that both men and women want to look good while wearing footwear of superior comfort but they also want to stand out from the crowd. “We are thrilled to be exhibiting at the Moda Trade Show at the NEC in Birmingham on February 15 to 17 and hope everyone is as excited and passionate about our products as we are.” Radical Boot Co. UK is the UK exclusive distributor for Radical Boot Co. Find out more about Radical Boot Co UK by visiting:

Moda Preview

Pixie puts the boot on STYLE icon Pixie Geldof, pictured left, has been snapped wearing the Carbone coloured Tate boot from Art. A spokesman for the company said: “Patent ankle boots are big on the catwalk this season. Their popularity is appreciated and reflected by Art. The fashionable footwear brand’s take on the design is fresh and funky with a buckled strap and chunky heel.” Actress Jaime Winstone has also been spotted in the ‘Air Alpine’ boots, which are 80s inspired. The company will be exhibiting at Moda.

Romika unveils its new collection COMFORT footwear brand Romika has unveiled its autumn/winter 09 collection with the aim of expanding both distribution and sales over the next year. The AW09 range includes sporty casuals and wedge profiles made up in metallic sheen leathers, technical fabrics and suedes. The waterproof Ameretta

winter boots have also been reissued, alongside a new Romika Blizzard boot. Finally, the new Romotion range offers patented technology integrated into the outsole to create a healthier and more natural way of walking. Martin Ingram, Romika MD for the UK and Ireland, said: “We are really delighted that our brand offering and close relationship with our customers has allowed us to buck the market gloom. “We are very positive going into the new season that these strong growth levels will continue.” The company will show at Moda.

Sleek with universal appeal LAUNCHING this month, Padders has achieved perfect synergy through precise and innovative design with its new Eclipse ladies collection. Comprising two classic styles, a lace up and a touch and close, made on a new standard fitting last, these styles sport a sleeker profile with universal appeal. They are fashioned from smooth leather uppers, with cushioned full leather insoles, arch supports

breathable mesh linings and are available in numerous colourways. And with a superior specification and price point; any would-be rivals, will simply be eclipsed. Join us at Moda on stand FK20 to preview this range and our other exciting collections that everyone is talking about. Or for more information call Mike Rowe on 01536 534999 or e-mail

Kool for kids incorporating Kids at Moda

Help needed for huge shoe giveaway TOMS Shoes plan to give away over 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need over the next 12 months – and are now calling for volunteers to help them achieve their goal. The company is launching Toms Tours in Argentina, which will allow teams of volunteers to spend five days visiting local communities and villages to hand out footwear to the most disadvantaged. Blake Mycoskie, TOMS founder, said: “I wanted to find a way for more people to be able to truly understand the core of TOMS Shoes and experience it first hand. With us it is all about giving to those in need – and with the tours we will be able to bring more people into our family and include them in this unique opportunity.”

Since the company was founded in 2006 Toms has given away a pair of shoes for every pair purchased and so far over 115,000 have gone to children in Argentina, South Africa, Ethiopia and the United



The brand’s shoes are modelled on a classic Argentinian design, the ‘alpargata’, and the brand’s celebrity fans include Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Renee

A new collection for SS09 has been launched and will be available in stockists including Top Shop, Office and Selfridges and the UK website will go live in April.

Brit-chic influence picked up in new collection RICHTER is introducing a new collection for autumn/winter 2009.

Newcomers include mid-cut models – ankle-high all-rounders that will be playing an increasingly important role due to climate change. They are equipped for the most part with the breathable, waterproof Richtex Membrane and available in a range of designs. The range also picks up on one of the season’s most influential trends with ‘Brit-chic’ designs featuring check prints on velvet and other fabrics. The decorations and appliqué elements on the girls’ shoes have been colour-coordinated and coloured decorative seams provide contrast to the leather flowers and ‘precious’ stones.

Gumbies has announced the opening of a new account in the flagship Boatilus store in Paris. The brand is also now distributing smelly welllies for Boatilus in the UK. It specialises in fun but functional footwear and since showing at Premier Kids, Pure and Moda last year has gained many new customers. Gumbies MD Michel Maurer has also just returned from a month in Australia, the birth place of the brand, with new product development ideas for 2009.

Moda return for Pablosky Pablosky, Spain’s largest children’s shoe manufacturer is looking to expand its distribution in the UK and this year will be exhibiting at Moda for the second time. The brand has over 35 years of manufacturing experience and now exports to over 40 countries worldwide. The autumn/winter 2009 collection features over 800 different references including seamless first shoes, a range of Back to School shoes and a new teenagers’ collection.


Kool for kids incorporating Kids at Moda

Who’s Who business elite accolade for Babyshoes ... BABYSHOES carries one of the largest in stock ranges of continental baby shoes in the UK. It has over 40 styles and 12 colours. Established in 1936 by the present owner’s uncles, Trevor – who now runs the company – changed from supplying ladies’ and gents’ shoes to just baby and children’s shoes imported from Spain and Portugal. It has a next day delivery service free on orders over £250 but do not have a minimum order you can order anything from a single pair to a new shop full.

Babyshoes has won numerous awards for its customer service and quality of products but its finest accolade has been its inclusion in this year’s Who’s Who of Britain’s Business Elite. It has showrooms in Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham for any customer who wants to see its range. If you would like a catalogue you can contact Trevor on 01512 803049, e-mail: or visit

Handmade for little ones WE are the only UK manufacturer of baby and toddlers’ shoes, using the finest quality chrome free leather. All products are handmade in Northamptonshire – the home of traditional shoe makers. Our little shoes are available from newborn up to four years. Please ring or email for our current brochure plus leaflet with our new spring/summer designs available from 9 February. Trade Price £8.00 Delivery seven to 10 days Daisy Roots are also offering a free display stand with orders of 50 pairs.

For more information e-mail:, visit: or call: 01604 880066.

Couture for kids ... A NEW couture collection for toddlers is being launched by Pediped as part of its autumn/winter 09 range. The new line consists of four styles with velcro fastening ankle straps and ‘exotic skin’ print leather uppers. Angela Edgeworth, president and cofounder, said: “We wanted to create a collection for women who love shoes and wanted something ‘fancier’ for their little girls. These are sure to be head turners and should elicit ‘oohs and ahhs’ from friends and family alike. I wish I had them when my girls were little and we certainly had a lot of fun creating them.” The first four couture collection styles will be available in limited edition quantities from autumn/winter 09 with a new range expected in spring 2010.


Retail Solutions

Skin allergies from footwear

Richard Kottler of the BFA discusses the new strategy with Peter Crowe of trade union Community

New skills strategy launched FOOTWEAR manufacturers in the UK are set to benefit from a new skills strategy launched to improve training in the industry. Skillfast-UK has released a five-year agenda, based on interviews with more than 2,000 employers, highlighting three key areas that will need to be addressed if the UK is to compete in the global market. Linda Florance, Skillfast-UK chief executive, said: “The first area for action is skills intelligence. “Many employers tell us that it is difficult to recruit people into the industry because young people and their advisers don’t understand the skills the industry requires. “Our first objective is to try to change that by providing better careers intelligence.” The second area that has been

earmarked for action is to improve the training and qualifications that are provided by UK schools, colleges and universities, coordinating them with the skills that employers really need. Finally, the scheme aims to put technical training back into the UK skills system. Linda added: “Unfortunately, many colleges have stopped running specialist training courses for cost reasons, and our research shows that there is now very little sector specific technical training to build the skills of employees once they have got a job in the industry. “We have already piloted a scheme called ‘Skills HQ’ where we work with an employer and a local college to develop a technical training course that meets their needs, and we want to roll that out across the UK.”

THERE appears to be an increasing profile of allergic reactions in consumer products. Leather footwear is equally susceptible to these issues and in recent months BLC has received several enquiries in this respect. A recent incident in France where dimethylfumarate (DMF) sachets were found in boots and shoes from China, demonstrates the need for vigilance. DMF is a chemical with preservative qualities and has found to be a skin sensitiser at low levels, producing extensive skin irritation.

A further area of concern is the increasing number of failures due to chrome VI. This is especially critical for children’s footwear. Using good process controls it is not difficult to produce leather without chrome VI and where it does occur this usually points to a processing problem which can easily be solved. While the chance of leather containing harmful chemicals is quite low, there are a number of steps that retailers can take to ensure product safety. BLC is a specialist in testing leather and footwear for restricted chemicals and offers a fast reliable service. In addition, BLC also offers routine testing services for all leather products. Current exchange rates, combined with rapid response testing (five day standard, next day or three day on request and subject to tests required) make testing at BLC extremely competitive. Contact or visit


Retail review

A children’s shoe shop that sells toys too is the holy grail for pleasing busy parents. Stepping Out in Ealing came up with the formula in 1993 and, 15 years on, is more successful than ever. Louise Cordell reports

Shake, rattle and sole ... WHEN it first opened, Stepping Out in Ealing was one of the first shoe shops of its kind in the UK. The owner Caroline Fozard wanted to provide a child friendly environment where parents could buy quality, well fitting shoes quickly and easily. So as well as stocking a large range of the biggest footwear brands, the store also provided a collection of quirky toys and gifts. The combination has proved to be the ideal way to keep customers coming back and now one of their first ever customers has even taken up a Saturday job at the store. Caroline said: “We opened up in a recession, so we felt that we needed to be offering something out of the ordinary to be successful and toys seemed a natural extension to the children’s shoe store – but we were one of the first to do it. “This is why the current financial climate doesn’t bother me – if you’ve been through it once you can do it again. “It is an exciting time really, it is

challenging and means that we need to think outside the box – I am brainstorming every five minutes to try and think of ways to improve what we do. “We are in a better position than some because we are well established, but we can’t rest on our laurels. “It is important we keep our ear to the ground and make sure that the business is ready for anything that’s coming.” All staff are Start-Rite trained and Caroline is a member of the Society of Shoe Fitters. The shop is also on the Children’s Foot Health Care register and many local podiatrists and hospitals refer children for shoe fitting help.

Last year the store ran a back to school promotion, where every pair of shoes sold earned the child’s school a star, and the school with the most stars won a cash prize. They have also recently started Sunday openings after demand from customers. Caroline added: “We try to act on feedback and requests from our customers as much as possible.

Caroline tries to make the hectic back to school experience a more enjoyable one by providing sweets, drinks and magazines to keep mums and kids entertained.

“I don’t think that you can ever become complacent or reject ideas without trying them first. They don’t always work out, for example a few years ago we tried making fitting appointments throughout the back to school season.

She added: “People tend to drop in with the intention of just buying toys or shoes, but nearly always end up being tempted by the other.”

“It sounded good in theory, but in reality it just wasn’t practical – people missed appointments and turned up late – so we went back to

the old system. All of our staff have worked with us for a long time which means people know our reputation and feel confident that we won’t sell them anything that they don’t need or that isn’t right for them. “Service has always been paramount for us and that sets us apart – as an independent store it is so important to have personality and character that sets you apart, and that is what we are trying to preserve.”

‘As an independent store it is so important to have personality and character that sets you apart, and that is what we are trying to preserve’



Brand sales ‘best in 30 years’ By Louise Cordell AN OUTDOOR footwear brand has reported its best sales in 30 years with sales up by eight per cent compared with last year. Brasher is now launching a national advertising campaign and managing director Andy Loeber says outdoor and active brands can benefit from the credit crunch. He says many people are opting for cheaper walking holidays in the UK

We will once again be honouring independent and multiple retailers, as well as fashion multiples, ethical initiatives, brands and the most promising student designers – there really is something for everyone. The recognition you gain from winning a Drapers Footwear Award is great. Not only is it your chance to shine in front of your peers and competition but you will also show your current and prospective customers and suppliers that you're the best at what you do. And not forgetting the morale boost it will give to you and your team after what has been a very

He added: “We feel that now is actually an ideal time to take a larger market share rather than cutting back. “We have benefited from an increase in popularity for outdoor pursuits and I also think it is important not to underestimate the value of being a purely British brand - our product is designed for British feet and the British environment. “Our retailers have now seen how we are investing in the company and find that confidence reassuring.

Uniting to celebrate the best in the business THE Drapers Footwear Awards bring together the UK and Republic of Ireland's footwear industry to celebrate the best in the business.

rather than expensive trips abroad – which he claims has boosted sales.

“They know that it takes new ideas to get customers through the doors, and to do that takes investment in product development and advertising.” The advertising campaign will cover titles from sports magazines to broadsheets and, in 2010, will look to expand into Europe.

Andy added: “We have a very loyal core following, but we wanted more than that and have geared our new designs and advertising towards attracting a new audience. “National advertising is something we haven’t done in many years, but it will allow us to reach large numbers of people and keep them informed about what we are offering. “I think it is vital that, as an industry, we don’t talk ourselves into trouble. “There is bad news everywhere, but as an outdoor brand we have so much going for us – for example, even in tough times our repeat business in December was up 42 per cent on the previous year. “We think that the outdoor market will continue to be healthy, and although no one can afford to be naive about the current climate, we are optimistic about the future.”

Positive mood at Chic

tough year. Entry deadline: 4 March Awards ceremony: 7 May Visit for the full list of categories and to enter. Don’t delay in booking your table: To ensure you, your team, customers or prospective clients are part of this unmissable night, secure your tables now at We are offering an early bird discount if you book before March 13 – save £150 on the price of your table. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact

CHIC, the international fashion accessory fair, was held in January at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry and, after a Christmas trading period which was generally not as bad as they had feared, exhibitors and buyers were all positive about their expectations for the upcoming season. Metallic bags and belts continued to sell well with many suppliers reporting strong re-orders on the particularly ‘blingy’ styles. Chic also had the largest ever collection of large luggage brands as the show has become the national forum for the travel goods’ industry. Jan Wilson, owner of Bags of Style in Southport said: “Chic gives me the opportunity to see all my key suppliers in one location and an opportunity to look at what is on offer from new exhibitors. It was nice to see some new brands at the show and also to see more European brands as well.”


ISPO Winter

Moda Footwear

Neue Messe München, 1-4 February The international trade fair for sports equipment and fashion celebrates its 69th show and, with the full exhibition space booked up, are expecting record attendances.

London Edge


NEC Birmingham, 15-17 February ( 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.

London Olympia, 1-3 February ( The trade show for alternative street and club fashion, footwear, accessories and giftwear with over 300 collections available to view.

Olympia London, 8-10 February ( A showcase of over 800 directional womenswear brands, young creative labels, footwear and accessory collection.

Premier Kids


NEC Birmingham, 1-3 February Premier Kids is celebrating its 60th anniversary with an autumn/winter 09/10 collection of children’s clothing, footwear and accessories to suit all retailers budgets.

Las Vegas, 12-14 February ( 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.

GDS/GLS Messe Dusseldorf, Germany, 13-15 March ( 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.




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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! • e- ISSUE 51 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009

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Out On A Limb  

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