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“No more boring shoes!” A large-sized triumph for women ignored by the fashion industry
August 28, 2014
For Petronella Manners, finding a fashionable and stylish pair of shoes had always been a challenge. The reason was simple: her shoe size was above 42, and there simply weren’t enough fashionable choices out there for women with shoe sizes in that range. “It was always a struggle,” Petronella admits. “So many times I’d see a gorgeous pair of shoes on display, I could only imagine what it would be like to own them, to put them on my own two feet. I knew they would never have my size, and I had to accept that the best was there for others – not for me.”
The highlight of ARABEL MANNERS’ unique plus-sized collection: A leather knee-high pair of boots that made Petronella Manners feel “like a princess.”
Petronella was not alone. 5% of women have a shoe size of 42 or higher, a range generally overlooked by designers and manufacturers of high-end shoes.
But the times are finally changing. With the help of her determined daughter, Arabel, Petronella and other women like her now have a chance to pamper their feet in luxury shoes. Arabel happened to be a London designer, and she took the initiative to create a high-fashion collection of large size shoes – exactly the types her mother could finally enjoy as her own.
“My mom always loved beautiful shoes,” Arabel explains. “I wanted to use my talents, to channel that energy into creating something very special for her. And not just for her – for all the other women out there who were denied a chance to wear fashionable shoes simply because their shoe size exceeded the industry’s preconceived notions of beauty. Frankly, I thought that’s insane – why limit fashion simply by the size of your shoe? Women deserve better than that!”
Arabel had the passion, the drive and the talent – but she needed help to turn her designs into wearable footwear. That’s where Innolux came in. After spending many years searching for the right manufacturing partner, Arabel’s creative team finally chose Innolux because the company understood their creative and fashion needs while also having the necessary technical skills to execute the job.
“Our Vietnamese-managed and owned shoe factories have a great deal of experience creating high-quality leather shoes,” says Innolux CEO, Roy Jahoda. “We focus on specialty productions and are able to handle complicated creative and manufacturing needs, like Arabel’s. When we heard her story, we knew we were the right people to help her.”
Arabel provided Innolux with the drawings for her collection, and the months-long process of planning and development began, culminating in the production of a unique collection of 21 large-size high-end fashion shoes at the start of this month.
As the project neared completion, Arabel and Petronella finally arrived in Saigon and spent two weeks with the Innolux team to finalize the collection. “We can describe the process and the experience as a pregnancy and birth of a child – in this case, a birth of 21 beautiful children!” says Arabel. Her mother Petronella couldn’t be happier. “I feel like a princess in these!” she exclaimed while testing out the stylish knee-high boots around the Innolux office. “No more compromises, no more boring shoes,” she added emphatically.
On August 5, Innolux held a photo shoot at the five-star Sofitel Saigon to kick off the marketing and PR campaign for the ARABEL MANNERS brand. Set to be launched on the UK market for the Autumn/Winter 2014/2015 season, the collection includes riding boots, ankle boots, Chelsea boots, loafer pumps, and high heels - all made from genuine crust leather and goat suede, and featuring hand colouring and leather outsoles.
“We helped her to develop a shoe collection from ideas and drawings,” Jahoda explains. “Now we have in our hands amazing luxury shoes. With Innolux’s help, Arabel could finally translate her vision into reality.”