Written by Kylie Weir from A Quirk of Fate boutique
While most 15year olds were flicking through magazines making comments like “Oh my God look at these shoes,” I bypassed the shoes and admired other things. Not because they didn’t interest me but because it was inevitable that those shoes would go from the magazines, to the shops and onto my friend’s feet. Not mine.
Because most brands, particularly brands that are considered fashionable don’t cater to sizes above a European 41 or U.S.10 this means I was left out. For the population of women who are in the “plus size” bracket, shoe shopping is not fun; it is a painful experience, which is avoided where possible.
After years of struggling to find shoes that were at least somewhat fashionable and comfortable I decided enough was enough. I felt that all women should be able to endure a normal shoe shopping trip with friends where it doesn’t end in the girl with Size 11 feet saying “I told you it wouldn’t fit,” after having her friends telling her to just “try the 10, you never know, it might”. My goal was to create a brand where it wasn’t just the standard European 37-41 size range produced by most, yet I didn’t want to create a “plus size” brand. I wanted to attempt to make the larger sizes “normal”.
In 2010 I spent the year learning the art of designing and making shoes, I had also spent time working in a footwear retail which confirmed my beliefs that there was a need to fill this gap. After finishing the course I took the leap and started working on developing some styles and dealing with manufacturers both in Australia and overseas to see what I could come up with.
I was excited to find a local manufacturer, who was happy to work with me to produce the size range I wanted and was also able to make a high quality product, which is something I am quite passionate about. After a lot of consideration I decided on a size range of European 35 to 45! Throughout the process of developing my business and brand I came across many women who expressed difficulties at the other end of the spectrum too with styles below a European 37 scarce.
I opened my own store “A Quirk Of Fate” in March this year at 289 High Street, Northcote, Victoria. While people say it is “hard times for retail” I feel there is still very much a need to have a bricks and mortar outlet where people can come, look, touch and try on the product themselves, especially when targeting a market where the consumers have low confidence in purchasing. Buying shoes in larger sizes is hard enough without having to take a punt at sizing over the Internet. The risk is paying off; the store has had a great response.
When motivation is running a little low a predictably unsuccessful shoe-shopping trip reminds why I am doing what I am doing and gives me the boost I need to keep going until such a thing is a problem no more. Exciting times are ahead with a few different projects in the pipeline. Hopefully 2013 will see progress speed up and a few more designs available
My first style “Eden” is now in store, after being meticulous about the details and ensuring that the style and execution is everything that I wanted. It is available from a European size 35 to 45 and retails for $289. Developments of more styles are already in the works.
I hope to launch my website in the coming weeks where it will be possible to buy online for those that aren’t able to make it to the store. In the meantime I am utilising Facebook to keep everyone up to date on the latest happenings at A Quirk of Fate.