Brand Focus: Air & Grace
Being one of the comfiest shoes in fashion right now, we can’t stop wearing our favourite Air & Grace designs! Founded by Claire Burrows who began with a vision to create great shoes that make us feel amazing. Launching with a simple philosophy ‘made beautiful for busy feet’, we feel that every individual can most definitely relate to this. Whether you are a workaholic, shopaholic or busy run-around parent, you want to look great but feel comfortable in what you are wearing.
Our very own Vanessa Collen went behind the scenes and was interviewed by Claire Burrows herself, see below some of the responses she gave!
What did you want to be when you were little?
I really wanted to be called anything other than ‘Vanessa’ – I couldn’t stand my name. Somehow I thought I would be so much more sophisticated if I were called ‘Domino’ …. I also really wanted to be a Mermaid.
What makes you happy?
Turning off my mobile and taking time to enjoy every moment – we all run around rushing everywhere! My kids call me ‘Mummyrush’ which initially I thought it was amusing but then realised it is so far from ideal. I am trying hard to take more time, to do less but do it better and that makes me super happy.
What does your typical weekend consist of?
Football training, football matches and an endless round of parties – I would like to say I am still playing football competitively and partying like I did in the 1990s but I would be lying – I have a 9 year old boy and a 7 year old girl and it is all about their social life. I love to be in the stores on a Saturday but I have to juggle, as we all do.
How did you get into fashion?
The day I opened a job offer to join an Investment Bank after graduating from University I told my mother not to worry because I would be home in 5 years to open a clothes shop. In the end it took 10 years but I did return home to the town of Southwold to open a clothes shop that would bring a little bit of London to Suffolk. That was over 16 years ago and I am still learning every day.
What makes Collen & Clare brilliant?
My team and our customers – I am ever more convinced that in this changing world we still need and crave real customer service. Whilst so much is so easy to do online it is still impossible to replace knowledge, humour and taking the time to understand what a customer needs, is worried about or wants to solve. Touching, feeling and trying on clothes will keep our stores busy tomorrow and onwards.
If you weren’t running Collen & Clare what would you like to have done with your career? What would be your Plan B?
Well Collen & Clare very much rescued me from my first career in Investment Banking in London, for which I will be forever grateful but I remember reading an article years ago that suggested my generation should think about have three very different careers, that there would no longer be the concept of a ‘job for life’. I often think of that article and wonder what my next career will be – I would love to bring independent retailers together to share best practice, we are not competing against each other and I believe we could learn from each other.
What does ‘being comfortable’ mean to you?
Not being too hot, having my reading glasses to hand and wearing shoes that don’t hurt even after a long day walking around London or being on the shop floor. Simple things.
What would your ideal shoe look like? And where would you wear it?
I would love to be able to wear a pair of tan leather boots with a great heel, teamed with a midi length denim dress and wide brimmed hat. I would wear it to waft around in every day all day looking like something from a magazine cover in 1976.
What’s your favourite Air & Grace style?
The easiest question by far – I am a Copeland girl through and through and desperate for the Spring 2019 leopard print version that I will be wearing every day.
We ourselves here at Collen and Clare also cannot wait for the Spring 2019 collection to be launched, we are sitting tight with our feet at the ready to try on every pair of shoes in sight!
However, it isn’t just us here in the office talking about the comfort Air & Grace brings us, award winning journalist India Knight is also joining us in wearing her favourite pair of shoes! After enjoying her recent trip to Southwold’s Collen and Clare, India is wearing – ‘Cru Black Star‘ stating “astonishingly comfortable”.
See below our range of Air & Grace: