How a UK footwear stalwart found a new home – and longevity – in SA
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By Latashia Naidoo
They say that dressing well is a form of good manners. But with work from home attire during the Covid-19 pandemic seeing more people favouring function over fashion, putting your best foot forward is no longer a matter of being well-heeled.
Yet despite the pandemic-induced retail slump, one iconic shoe brand - made famous in recent years as the footwear of choice for senior members of the British royal family and James Bond himself, has sustained itself within the contemporary men’s footwear game. And all from its manufacturing plant in Cape Town’s Elsies River.
Devan Odayan, Senior Footwear Designer for shoe manufacturer Bolton Footwear, is the man behind the local design of the iconic Crockett & Jones men’s formal shoes.
The brand, which originated in Northampton, England in 1879 by Sir James Crockett and Charles Jones, today boasts a Proudly South African connection after Bolton Footwear acquired the license to produce and distribute the shoes in the Southern Hemisphere in 2013.
And it’s here that the design process has remained true to the same quality workmanship and iconic styling that was created 142 years ago.
According to Odayan, Crockett & Jones’ decades-long reputation for being a classic, visually iconic and contemporary brand, has allowed them to remain relevant - even during the pandemic, and against newer, edgier footwear brands.
“The brand offers a range that appeals to all walks of society and compliments any wardrobe by dressing up or dressing down. Most importantly, the quality of our product is beyond the expectations of our loyal followers.”
It’s this loyalty that’s seen the brand maintain its longevity within the competitive footwear industry. Once favoured by older gentlemen, its contemporary new designs and styling now appeals to a younger generation of fashion-forward men.
“Discerning wearers of Crockett & Jones are guaranteed a perfect fit every time and satisfaction knowing that these shoes will serve them for decades,” Odayan said.
It takes six-months of research and development before a new product is launched, utilising locally-sourced materials and artisans.
“Crockett & Jones footwear is produced from premium leather and quality-approved components.
“Only the highest level of skills are used in our manufacturing plant to ensure the presentation of premium footwear. Our operators are trained internally by accredited tutors to ensure skill delivery at its best.”
Odayan is convinced that the brand’s legacy that has endured for well over a century, will continue to evolve in a post-Covid world.
“Crockett & Jones has literally stood the test of time - being passed down from generation to generation due to its outstanding quality and timeless designs.”
Proof that if the shoe fits, you shouldn’t change the business model.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE