British style has long been a pillar within the fashion industry, a highly sought after look which people strived to get a piece of. Unlike the other fashion capitals of Paris, Milan and New York, our homespun style can be split into two very different looks; heritage and contemporary. Obviously the two merge every now and then, with many contemporary designers choosing the incorporate a taste of our heritage into their collections, blending the classics with the modern. When it comes down to tradition there’s nothing more British than a good pair of leather brogues, and for this we always turn to our good friends at Grenson Shoes.
You really can’t get much more British than these guys. Founded by one man – William Green – in Northamptonshire (which if you didn’t already know is the home to any shoemaker worth his salt) in 1866, Grenson has sustained through multiple wars, hundreds of trends and is doing better than ever. William Green learnt his craft from his Mother when he used to help her with her home shoe making business. But obviously it’s gets to a point in every man’s life when he needs to move out from beneath his Mother’s watchful eye, and so he got his own place and went on to set up his own business. It was passed down through the generations and continued to be a solely family-run company until the 80s when it was sold off. It’s currently owned by Tim Little who was originally brought in to revamp the brand in 2005 and he’s done a bloody good job of it. Transforming a small traditional shoe makers into one of the hottest footwear brands in the industry that any self-confessed fashion aficionado will know. Like many companies, during the war Grenson were called upon to make boots for the British soldiers, and by the end of it they were making more shoes than ever. During it’s heyday Grenson were worn by the Hollywood greats of Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and Montgomery Clift, a time when wearing a pair of handmade English brogues and a custom Saville Row suit was the epitome of cool – to an extent it still is today!
What makes Grenson so unique? Well besides being a part of British history (they were one of the first companies to register as a brand in the UK), they put an immense amount of hard craft and technical design into their work, producing beautiful and high quality footwear that you can wear for years. The majority of their styles are classics, so by purchasing a pair of say Stanley brogues, you’re making an investment into your future footwear. The goodyear welt method that’s been used at Grenson since it’s founding ensures a longer lifespan for your shoes, so if you look after them they’ll look after you (for more information check out our care guide). Beyond the classics Grenson have a knack for producing some truly amazing designs that blend old school and new. This season a favourite is the Teddy Boy ‘Creeper’ with it’s chunky wedge sole, a popular look during the 50s it’s making a huge comeback right now (check out Nathaniel and Niles for this). Forever a favourite here at John Anthony with pretty much every member of the team owning at least one pair – one even got married in his Grensons – they truly are a fine example of British craftsmanship and style.
If you want more from Grenson, pop into our Bournemouth store where a whole host of leather care accessories are available – you can’t miss them, they’re next to the gigantic shoe box….