Upper Street rule

I went along to the launch of Upper Streets new line of shoes by Nicole Summerwood last night, a sleek event attended by lots of sleek looking girls with immaculate nails. Drinks were flowing and the music was pumping by the time I got there, but I barely noticed all that as I was mesmerised by the shoes. There they were, elegant, sophisticated, and fashionable, perched on their white columns, in all their glory.

There were some real stand outs for me, among them the dark grey, glittery heels, perfect for just about any dressy occasion and certainly the ones I’ve got my eye on for the party season. Also, some black suede ankle boots, very similar to ones you’d find in any high end high street shoe shop, but that is the beauty of it.Up to now, ladies with larger feet couldn’t buy these kind of shoes from any high end high street shop.

With prices starting at £170 they wont be a casual purchase but I actually don’t think they’re particularly over priced.  You get what you pay for when it comes to shoes, much like make up, clothes and other fashion items and these are quality products, well made, using good materials and most importantly engineered for larger sizes, important for insteps and heel sizes.

I thought it was unfortunate that they weren’t displaying the shoes in the larger sizes – I saw a lot of 40’s and no 44’s. There is a difference in feel in a shoe along the sizes and it would have been good to have felt them and seen them in the flesh. Maybe even try them on at the event – I can’t have been the only one wanting to slip those beauties on and give them a test run!

But, all power to Upper Street – they have got in there early on what will be an increasing market and they will hopefully establish themselves as a brand to contend with in the larger sizes category, making other suppliers raise their game to compete. Long live Upper Street!

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shoes that make you go oooooo

I was researching something today (it was of course shoe related) and came across this place – http://icanmakeshoes.com/. They run courses on various elements of shoe making, such as ‘start your future in footwear’ to ‘ballet pumps for beginners’  with the courses ranging in length from half a day to three days. Prices start at £75 for a half day course and go up to £3200 for a 10 day long master class in luxury footwear.

From the feedback they get it seems that a lot of people do their courses as precursors to foundation courses in similar subjects, although I bet there are a few women who attend who are just after the perfect shoe and believe they are the only ones who can make them.

I got quite excited and began to dream up the shoes I would design, only to find that they only have facilities to make up to 9.5. But still, a great idea and as far as I know, the only other place other than Cordwainers who offer shoe design courses.

For those of us who have got some spare money to spend on frivolities such as the ultimate, custom designed shoe without the hassle of making it yourself, there is Shoes of Prey – a frankly almost pornographic experience for someone like me, where you pick your style, fabric, heel everything – and they make them for you.

It’s a fabulous website and a fabulous idea (one of those ideas you wish you’d had). It’s actually also somewhere where you can mull over ideas you have about the shoes that you want, playing with different colours etc, before you actually hunt those shoes down on the high street. The main asset for me of course is that their sizes range from UK2.5 – 15!

This, coupled with the fact they have a great range of colours and materials and styles, mean that I fully intend to design a pair of shoes for myself in the not too distant future. A pair of heels would cost about £150 for standard designs

Another design and order place is Upper Street Shoes, who I’ve mentioned before, but are worth mentioning again – they do a similar thing to Shoes of Prey, even the prices seem similar (apologies if they have a totally different USP but to the casual eye it looks like a similar set up).

What sets them apart is the competition they run every Tuesday. Tweet them a picture of the shoes you’re wearing that day and if the judges deem them worthy, they grant you free licence to design your own pair. A seriously good reason to think about your footwear every Tuesday.

I’m not the first person to blog about these companies, Kat Brown has a whole section dedicated to where to buy/make/design bigger shoes on her blog, www.exoticmaypole.com (the link to the exact post here http://www.domesticsluttery.com/2012/04/ultimate-size-9-13-shoe-guide.html)

Dare I suggest that this grey weather won’t last, because it is actually June and so, summer, which means that even if we don’t have blazing hot sunshine every day, we are likely to want to wear toeless shoes? And you must be thinking about your holidays, walking on the beach or strolling through ancient cobbled alleyways, or meandering round a garden (I could go on). Either way, these wedged espadrille really will work all ways and with all things.

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For now they are for sale via my eBay store but within the next 48 hours I will be going live with my own website – a fitting platform (I hope) for these particular shoes.

I am also moving forward with my business model and have adjusted it slightly to accommodate the needs of my customers and the limitations being a small business. Head to the new website in a day or so for more details.

Feedback as ever is welcomed. Thanks for reading








Shoe prices

I felt that I should explain my reasons for the pricing of my shoes. I know, through research, that smoking slippers vary widely in terms of price and this is usually down to the materials used. Baukjen for example is stocking very similar shoes in very similar colours, for over £100 a pop. However, these are leather, from a well known brand, which means they can charge a premium. New Look, at the other end of the spectrum, are stocking smoking slippers, which cost only £15. They are in quite drab colours though and you can be pretty sure the materials aren’t exactly high end. 

My shoes are all under £100, but are at the top end of that price range. This is because shoes in larger sizes are by their very nature more expensive than standard sizes, because they cost more to make. I am also importing them from the States, which is costing a fair amount. Both Kingston & Camden are well made, solid shoes and I think they are worth the £75 & £85 I’m asking for them. It remains to be seen though, if my customers (or prospective customers) agree with me.