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Stepping high: the international star called holster

The Firefly sneaker, encrusted with 3,100 jewel studs, also has hidden treasures. Namely, the millions of tiny air bubbles injected into its outer sole which along with other podiatry features, provide whole-foot support, cushioning and superior spring –  in short, perfect for fitness plus glamour.

The just-released Firefly joins three other lightweight metallic knit sneaker styles created by Australian footwear favourite, holster.

There will be plenty more to tempt at Fashion Exposed Now, assures Ben Nothling who with designer wife, Natalie Miller, launched the Noosa-based company in 2001 with a range of jelly sandals and espadrilles.

Eighteen years on, holster is internationally renowned for its stylish, innovative collections for women and children. And, vital in this endangered age, its solid credentials for sustainability and ethical production.

Ben Nothling and Natalie Miller

“Our footwear is 100 per cent vegan and certified by the Vegan Society in the UK,” says Ben. “No harmful chemicals go into its production and we don’t use animal products for materials such as glues.

“It’s not just about ethics. The widespread use of toxic chemicals for cheap footwear is tremendously worrying, especially when it comes to children’s footwear, such as jelly shoes. Ours are not only safe, but fully recyclable.”

A direct descendant of department store founder David Jones, Ben Nothling has clearly inherited entrepreneurial savvy. At 43, he runs a company that can boast more than 2,000 stockists across the globe and 2019 is shaping up as a bumper year.

“Asia is our biggest market,” notes Ben. “We’re especially strong in Thailand – we recently opened our 25th boutique in Bangkok – and we’re stocked by key department stores in the region including Takashimaya, Central, Tangs, Sogo and Isetan.”

A recent partnership with Indonesia’s leading retailer, MAP, which has some 2,200 stores, will substantially boost the holster brand in Australia’s closest Asian neighbour, and a major coup is about to take effect.

“From March 20, holster will be available at Jewel, a fabulous new shopping hub inside the international terminals at Singapore’s Changi Airport,” reveals Ben. “It will give us exposure to millions of transiting travellers each year.”

Central to holster’s success has been Natalie Miller, born and bred in Noosa. Now in her mid-30s and mother of the couple’s two young children, she is holster’s head designer – a formidable talent whose collections simultaneously evoke Australia’s iconic beach culture and a classiness that has universal appeal.

Internationally recognised as a premium, yet affordable brand, holster has maintained its edge through state of the art technology, as well as its appeal to the fashion-conscious.

Its new season bejeweled sandals, slides and flip-flops with their shock absorbent air-foam footbeds – “comparable to gently sinking into soft beach sand, easing pressure from the back and feet” – typify holster’s approach. So does Natalie’s distaste for fussiness and bling.

Sandals, slides, thongs, wedges and espadrilles – like the sneakers, all are coolly elegant and for Spring-Summer 2019 feature a refined palette including rose gold, silver, pewter and nickel. They are also a podiatrist’s dream.

“Along with our core principles of being sustainable, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, we put a massive emphasis on health and comfort,” says Ben Nothling.

– Zelda Cawthorne

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