Each week we will be speaking to our favourite brands to find out a little more about the inspiration behind their fabulous clothes. This week we are featuring Start-rite Shoes.
Please tell us a bit about you and the brand….
I’m Denise Aldous, the Brands Manager at Start-rite Shoes. I’ve been at Start-rite for over 30 years, but the brand itself is 224 years old! We design shoes exclusively for children’s feet, so our knowledge is unrivalled.
Our shoes are shaped like a child’s foot, so they are uniquely distinctive and we are the only manufacturer to include a three-way fit: whole and half-length sizes, multi-width fittings and growing room built-in. We like to fuse fashion and fit and aim to reassure parents that they are helping their children to look great while supporting their healthy development.
When coming up with a new season how do you start? Do you have an idea of designs/prints?
Our designers are inspired by global fashion trends and innovations, with input and ideas from parents and children. We watch fashion trends and predict colours and styles that will make a mark. As with other fashion brands, we have to work well in advance so will start to put together ideas for a season 15 months ahead of getting them into the shops. We always try to give a modern twist to Start-rite’s original heritage styles which are extremely popular with our customers.
If you had to pick your favourite piece from your new collection what would it be and why?
That’s a tough one as our collection caters for different age groups and occasions. The first walking shoes are always impressive. The technology that goes into the shoes for those tiny feet would surprise you. For example, our materials undergo laboratory testing and are monitored at each stage of manufacturing. The super soft leathers are very hard-wearing and when coupled with moulded soles, they give those little feet maximum protection while ensuring the correct level of flex for growing bodies.
We are well-known for our school shoes range and as our children wear their school shoes more often than any other pair, we have invested widely in the technology in those shoes. We know what active school kids need, so our shoes have lightweight flexible but hard-wearing soles, are scuff resistant and super tough with padding in the right places and most importantly for growing active feet, they are made with breathable linings and removable insoles.
When you look at other designers who is your favourite?
I like the way that Stella McCartney is very innovative with her children’s ranges.
If you can say what is inspiring you for your next collection?
In terms of style, emerging trends show an ever-growing demand for old styles and silhouettes but with modern updates, such as improved comfort and new technologies. Children’s lifestyles are constantly evolving. It’s important that we create footwear that can match their active lives while being suitable for many different occasions.
Children’s healthy development has always been at the heart of everything we do, as footwear influences how the child’s whole body develops, so we can never compromise on fit in favour of fashion. Children’s shoes cannot ever be a ‘mini-me’ version of an adult shoe as the shape will be completely wrong for that growing body. So, it’s a balance to ensure that the range is desirable to children and parents while giving them peace of mind that our shoes will give them the best protection for their growing body.