One of the main reasons I started up Hayworths was to handpick unique, good quality shoe brands and offer shoppers something different from what you’d normally find on the ‘high street’. I see fashion and particularly shoes as a way of expressing your individuality and not following the crowd.
So with this in mind, I recently travelled up to London to check out the fashion trade show ‘Pure London’ and the Spring/Summer 2018 collections to see if I could find some more shoe brands that fit the Hayworths’ ethos. Pure features 700+ womenswear and menswear fashion brands with collections from around the world with over 60% international brands alongside upcoming British brands.
This was my first time to Pure so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But it was definitely worthwhile and I hope I can expand the Hayworths shoe collection in the future! I went along with one of my good friends Chi who is developing her own ethical swimwear label Althea King. It’s always good to have a bit of company on these little expeditions…! Chi and I both worked in the Corporate Responsibility Division at IBM before launching our own businesses. So being ethical and sustainable in our business is definitely important to us.
As well as checking out new shoe suppliers I was lucky enough to hear a talk from the legendary Scottish fashion designer and artist Pam Hogg. A self taught fashion designer she described her evolution in the world of fashion and the need to ‘learn by doing’ and make mistakes along the way. She believes these were contributing factors to finding her feet as a fashion designer and shaping her own distinctive style. What stood out for me was her comment about staying ‘true’ and the essence of your identity will become apparent. For me and starting my own business I had a vision at the outset of what I wanted Hayworths to look and be like. I’ve had some doubts along the way wondering if people would respond positively. But each week I’m encouraged more and more that there are people out there who relate to the brand and love the shoes I’m selling.
I met some really lovely people at Pure London representing various shoe brands. I’ve popped a little bit about the brands below that you may possibly see added to the Hayworths collection down the track.
Sarah Watkinson-Yull started Yull in 2011 whilst at university in London. Yull received funding from the Prince's Trust to set up manufacturing for high heels in the UK and is one of the only independent shoe brands manufacturing high heels in Britain. At the heart of Yull is the desire to support British manufacturing and bring skills back to the UK to help balance the trade deficit by continuing to promote manufacturing in the UK. They source their leather and wool from Northampton and Yorkshire and manufacture their shoes in East London.
Shoe Embassy was established in 2011 and specialises in both ladies and mens footwear that are exclusively made in Europe from the finest European leather. Their focus is on creating authentic shoes that are charismatic, each with their own exquisite charm while keeping that all-important comfort and high quality.
Bensimon is a French company started by two brothers in the late 70s. Their signature Tennis canvas shoe has been popular for decades and has been worn by celebrities such as Jane Birkin, Naomi Watts and Kate Moss.
I’m a big fan of Plimsolls and these cute shoes take their design cues from this style of shoe which is a type of athletic shoe with a canvas upper and rubber sole developed as beachwear in the 1830s by the Liverpool Rubber Company. The Bensimon canvas shoes are made in Slovakia and come in an assortment of colours and prints. Definitely a winner for everyday use!
I’m always keen to find out about people’s ‘shoe experiences’ and the brands you like, so if you’ve already heard of these brands and/or bought some of them, let me know what you think!