In a market saturated by sameness, Tracey Neuls footwear offers a very individual viewpoint – always unique, intriguing and yet still contemporary and commercial. This design ideology stretches from shoe to shop.
The honesty of the design process is key to the individual look. Shunning fashion fads and trends, inspiration can and is taken from literally everywhere. Stationary details such as envelope ties have been translated into shoe fasteners whilst a random burnt log inspired a whole collection of scorched heels. Her toe shapes are sculpted from plasticine; the smell reminding her of innocent days spent sculpting as a child.
Likewise, when you enter a Tracey Neuls shop, you can leave your preconceived impressions of shopping behind. Shoes are hung from the ceiling rather than on shelves. The movement of swaying shoes relate to how they naturally move on your feet. Tracey explains “The shoes should be seen at 360 degrees, not just from the top – sometimes the best view is from the back!”
Mary Portas, Queen of Shops, said that Tracey Neuls in Marylebone Lane was one of her favorite shops in London, “This shop is like walking straight into the artist’s imagination”.
Tracey Neuls launched her label in year 2000 after winning the New Generation Prize at London Fashion Week. She has built up an international reputation for unique, extraordinary and intelligent shoe design. Amongst her peers, she is known as the Designers’ designer with Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garcon wearing the shoes herself. Stocked by both mass market retailers and unique independents, a loyal following has led to over 50 international wholesale clients worldwide.
Through the years Tracey Neuls’ interaction with both art and design worlds has given her a unique position in the fashion market – literally one foot in fashion and the other in art and design. Neuls has collaborated with like minded creatives such as product designer Tord Boontje, artists Nina Saunders and Boo Ritson to the Museum of Everything, architects Retrouvius and illustration collective LeGun to name but a few.
Neuls’ scope for press coverage extends from fashion press (Vogue, Elle, Sunday Times Style) to the design & culture media (Dezeen, BluePrint, Frame, Time Out, etc.) and also into the digital arena with bloggers constantly referencing her designs (Style Bubble, Wee Birdy, Polyvore, FT Reconnoisseur, etc.). Tracey is also published in many footwear and design hardbacks.
From private clients that return time after time to stockists that buy season after season, Tracey Neuls Ltd. has built up a respected reputation for unique, well fitting footwear in a class of her own.
Where and how we manufacture our footwear is very important to us. Shoe making is a craft and we want to support this age old tradition whilst pushing the boundaries each season. All of our factories have skilled crafts people who are proud of the work they do. Neuls recalls one Italian gent in particular who put his heart and his soul into his work – so much so that he created a groove in his tooth from repeatedly throwing the tacks into his mouth before putting them into the leather. Shoe making is a way of life and we use small, family run factories. A little passion goes a long way.
We develop all of our components from scratch; starting with the shoe shape that Tracey sculpts herself. The practice of buying a ready made ‘fashion approved’ shape off the shelf is very foreign indeed. From the original form we create all the hidden internal components (at least 7 or more) and make sure that they are durable and stand the test of time. Comfort is a must. In this day and age women should be empowered, not impeded by pain causing footwear.
The materials that we choose are also important. Where appropriate, we will always choose a vegetable dyed leather which has such a wonderful patina. Leather after all is a natural material, with natural variance and this is what makes the material so lovely. Over processing can make the leather uniform and plastic in feel – we prefer that leather looks like leather and embraces its natural irregularities. Shoes that patinas well over time are true friends.