Every year, the media do stories in January purporting outrage that hot cross buns have appeared on supermarket shelves already. The implication is that we have just had Christmas and already retailers are thinking ahead to Easter and associated products to sell while the occasion is still several months away.
Well, it’s not just hot cross buns that are arriving earlier and earlier.
I received two calls this week from agents advising that my winter shoes will be arriving shortly. As I look out the window at people walking past the shop in thongs and sandals and short skirts and shorts, you do have to wonder why on earth boots and closed in shoes in thick materials will be arriving so early in what, after all, is the middle of summer. It’s like the fashion world is on a different calendar to the rest of us.
At the recent European Footwear Importers Group shoe fair, which includes independent brands as well, I was well and truly in summer mode, viewing shoes that will be delivered to my shop from July onwards for summer this year … and, yep, that is in the middle of winter!
This was my second fair and it’s quite fascinating seeing the different brands, meeting the designers and agents, and learning more about how they select and create shoes. I am perhaps naive, however I was a little amazed to hear that some labels send their representatives overseas to scope out European shoes and then return to Australia to copy them. Or at least be inspired by them. It makes me wonder what the Europeans do … do they come to Australia and the US to view our ranges to copy and be inspired by us?!
One chap told me how he and his colleague went to shoe shops in France, Italy and Germany, taking photographs of what they saw as the “new” shoes for the season. Another, however, doesn’t view the finished product but starts with components. He goes to China and spends days and days at markets, looking at stalls dedicated just to heels or just to buckles and then looks at the different styles, textures and colours of pieces of leather. Then it’s a giant jigsaw puzzle, putting his range together: that buckle with that heel with that coloured leather.
A lot of people have asked me about my other observations from the fair in terms of upcoming trends. I still have a few ranges to see and, remember, most of the labels on offer stop at a size 10 or 42, so I am seeing a skewed range. With other brands, only a portion of their range goes to the longer sizes so I try not to even glance at the ones I can’t buy … it’s too depressing because I usually inevitably like those more!
But at this stage, judging from the brands that recognise and support women with longer feet, what I can see is that green in all its various shades seems to be popular for Summer 2013.
I was also amazed at the incredible detail in many of the heels … some are exquisite. There are circular kitten heels; wavy high heels; angular heels with a white-washed timber look; lots of cork; and a favourite is a high, cylinder-like perspex heel.
My overall favourite range of the season, keeping in mind that I actually have yet to see three or four ranges, was Minx. Divine, divine, divine … it was the only collection that made me gasp and pick up the shoes and almost hug them! 🙂
I have also found two “new” labels to The Shoe Garden, however am still confirming that they do go up to size 12, although it’s looking likely, which is great news … these shoes are different to what I have already and that is always exciting.
So there are many choices still to be made. My wall out back is already covered with photographs as I divide shoes between flats, thongs, sandals, wedges, mid-heel, high heels and corporate. Within each of these categories are many more groupings: age, tastes and occasions.
For most labels, I have to confirm my orders mid-February so the next few weeks will see me drafting orders, crunching numbers, gasping out loud and then adjusting orders. Boy, it does add up quickly when you buying nine or 12 pairs of the one shoe in the one colour.
So, in a nutshell, as my winter shoes start arriving soon in summer, I’m busy ordering summer shoes which will arrive in winter! It does make me smile.
But hey, we are not in this alone. I am just so glad there is enough choice out there that women with longer feet can access fashionable shoes, no matter what the calendar month.
Ciao for now Carol