There’s something afoot in Britain at the moment (excuse the pun!). When people can’t find what they want, they set about making it themselves. A movement of young entrepreneurs are starting up brands to make their own shoes because the quality, price and design they want just isn’t available. One case in point is friend of En Brogue Jennifer Markham, who set up Jemima Vine when she couldn’t find stylish comfortable shoes to wear during her busy, professional working day. The brand has been selling shoes for less then a year but is already a success (I LOVE them), proving that there is an emerging market for niche brands making stylish flat shoes at great prices. Inspiring stuff…(nudge nudge, wink wink!)…but more on that soon.
In the meantime, a number of very new brands have come to my attention recently that I thought you would like to know about. In this economy, such enthusiasm for setting up new businesses should be applauded!
Sharon Sunners set up Emmy Twenty less than a year ago, and has already given up the day job to concentrate on it full time. “I found that to get leather ballerina flats that looked fashionable, I would be looking at paying over £100, which was a bit of an extravagance when you’re 25 and still living at home”, she says. Hers come in at a very reasonable £60 with a good selection of styles and colours. My favourites (as usual) are the animal prints with contrasting coloured trims.
Cheeky Shoes started life as a university project but has turned into a lovely brand with great ethics. All shoes are made in London (low carbon footprint) using local suppliers (lower cost for the consumer) and in small batches (meaning they are constantly re-testing them for the best comfort and fit).
The shoes began a few seasons ago as simple canvas pumps, but I think their latest collection has really cracked it, design-wise. And they (the founders, Marcin and Pavel) are SO NICE. Read their website, it’s brimming with personality. They’ve also very kindly said you can have 10% off until the end of December if you use the code EnBrogue10, so go and have a look!
The British Flat Shoe Company
If you want to guarantee that your ballet pumps were made in Britain, then this is the brand for you. Charlotte Henderson is the brains behind it, inspired to support UK industry while making exactly what she had been looking for: a pair of wholly British manufactured flat leather shoes. They are hand machined in Northampton (that’s Cordwainer country, so a great choice) and still cost less than £100.
So next time you pick up a pair of badly made, ill-fitting, non-leather shoes, think again. There are quality options out there that won’t cost the earth and you’ll be supporting a young designer to boot.