Ok, I admit it, I wasn't at all quick of the mark visting the new Shoe galleries at Selfridges, infact I was positively slow! In these days of the internet, the need for me to get out and look at shoes in shops isn't quite as pressing.
By the time a new trend hits the shops in London, it is six months since we shoe designers saw it at a trade show, so it's old news .
But when I went to the trade show Bread and Butter in Berlin in July, I spent an afternoon looking around the shops. What I saw was much more exciting, many more labels and designers. I actually got the 'I Wants', for this shoe or that shoe. Then I came back to London feeling a bit flat, because ihere I see the same old versions of designs I've seen at Micam, everyone is doing the same thing - nothing so new or exciting, because it's what the buyers want to buy.
So my impression of Shoe Galleries. Lovely shop fit, granted. The big names very much in evidence, presented in a way that I'm more used to seeing in the United States . More Kurt Geiger than you can shake a stick at and a decent selection of Azzedine Alaia (a personal favourite of mine).
But apart from the made it and established British Shoe designers (such as Rupert Sanderson and Nicholas Kirkwood), I couldn't see much evidence of many others, which is a shame. I left feeling a bit disappointed, because I was expecting to see something new and exciting, a new brand or designer and I didn't. Of course, there are other shoe stores and departments, Harvey Nichols is the best place to visit in London if you want newly discovered designers.
But I have friends who have started their own brands and they all say how difficult it is to get buyers in their own country to notice them and designers who mail me and tell me the same, which I think is a shame.
So come on British shoe buyers, support our new talent - we have some of the best footwear design eduction and talent in the world, time to give them some shelf space!
I'm posting some photos of new designers work just to give you food for thought.
and some links if you want to know more about them and especially to buy their designs!
Sophie Gittins http://www.sophiegittins.com/
Selam Yohans http://showtime.arts.ac.uk/SelamYohans
Kat Maconie http://www.katmaconie.com