Remember I posted about my travails trying to source a pair of George Cox brothel creepers? Well, I've got them now, and let me tell you they are not easy to buy.

I've written in detail about the history and significance of this shoe on my other blog. Here's the TL;DR version:

  • The design is an icon of British urban fashion dating back to the 1950's.
  • It was made fashionable in the 70's and 80s by McLaren and Westwood.
  • Copies of the shoe are available everywhere. And I mean, everywhere.
  • A large brand selling mass-produced replicas is very trendy indeed.
  • The latest designer to pick the style up was Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent (see find below).
  • The original shoe is still made at the same factory by the same independent family business as it has been since 1949.

Here's the clincher though. In terms of fashion marketing, George Cox are virtually silent. Most of their output exports to the Far East, where they're very popular among stylish ladies and gents. The only place you can buy them in the UK is a hole in the wall in Camden Town, which is where I bought mine. See below for pictures.

Honestly, I've never come across anything so far under the radar. I guess the American equivalent would be discovering that everyone in the US had forgotten about the Schott Perfecto motorcycle jacket and the only way you could buy one was from one tiny store in the East Village because they were all being exported to Berlin and Tokyo. It's hard to imagine.

I wonder if this is a strategy to keep their independence by sticking to a sustainable business model that works for them and refusing to play the fashion game. Selling to mavens and enthusiasts has kept them in business for sixty years and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Still, I can't help thinking they could be bigger than they are.

The other thing I'm pondering are my own feelings about branding and authenticity in fashion. A major selling point for me is the story of an English bench-made shoe that resonates strongly with my London style heritage. But then there's the the nature of the brand identity. I can see why a replica from Underground or Saint Laurent would be so much more appealing to the fashion crowd than the original.

The shoes, though, are amazing. Beautifully made. I'm delighted.

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