Outtakes | Mr Hare on seasons and mixing commerciality with creativity

Marc Hare: I think the four seasons a year thing makes a lot of sense. Especially now that retail is so far ahead of the real world, you’re delivering the winter stuff in June and you’re delivering the summer stuff in the middle of the snow, when the winter hasn’t even got here in January. It’s all ridiculous. So four seasons makes a lot more sense. It just takes a lot more co-ordination and I didn’t get in this to work that hard. (laughs)

I feel like the whole fashion world needs to take a season off and then regroup, and then restart. We need to press the reset button on the whole thing. Especially with this seasonless era we live in now. 

I remember last year, we had this African dude milling in the store, trying to buy some lime green Arnos, which is like our really soft suede slipper. And when he was in the store it started snowing outside. And it was like ‘wow, it’s snowing, the sale starts in six weeks. And then we’ll have the real winter stuff, a couple of weeks later and we haven’t even had the summer yet. It’s ridiculous.

I imagine that’s just a bit of a hassle

It is but I think it’s close to breaking point. Something’s gotta change. The internet’s come along and sales are shifting there. The biggest problem is having to go into sale the whole time. If you weren’t forced with the pressure of ‘stores buy more stuff, you’ve gotta buy more stuff so you’ve gotta get the last stuff out’. Nothing really gets the chance. As I’ve noticed with shoes, sometimes people don’t even cotton on until about two years later. I was getting a lot of asks now for a shoe that was in spring/summer 10 that we didn’t really sell that many of. And everybody wants it now. It’s like ‘where’s your Joplin?’ 

Really? That was ages ago. Wasn’t it like that with the Genet?

That was like first season and now that’s one of our biggest sellers. But this is one of our biggest sellers for this year. You’ve gotta know whether to keep pushing these things so people buy them or stop doing them because no ones buying them yet. So you never really know where you are. 

It doesn’t cost less to make just because less people buy it

There are times when the creative world and the commercial world are just completely two different things. And sometimes you put stuff out there and you know it’s a good idea because you got excited about it and you don’t get excited about things irrationally, you get excited because you know you’ve made something good and you know it’s made from really great stuff and sometimes it takes the consumer a long time to come around to it. 

Is waiting for that to happen annoying?

It’s only frustrating because there’s a commercial aspect to it. It’s not like I’m sitting here with my feelings hurt. Everything’s a gamble, every six months. You never put something out and go ‘this is sure fire’, you just never know. 

That leap of faith

Yeah, and then you stop the sale and all of a sudden everybody wants it. 

“Where was the special tubby? I really wanted it”

Yeah. Exactly.

Speaking of the tubby, it’s not on the site

It’s primarily a summer shoe for us. We only ever do them in summer because of the white sole, it’s not really a, I would never wear a pair of king tubby’s out in the drizzle and rain so we only ever have it in the summer collection. And it’s a better shoe in suede. It was originally a summer shoe, it’ll always stay a summer shoe so we only have it when it’s sunny. 

Apart from the obvious ones, any other shoes you class as summer shoes?

That’s the only one that could cross over to the other season. It’s so multi-seasonal now because we do sell all over the world. We have quite a strong following in the middle east. So, in theory, we should have a summer range all throughout the year. But winter is my favourite because you just get to make more of a shoe in winter. When winter comes, you have to really concentrate on the things you make in winter. And there’s no forgiving a winter shoe, it’s gotta function, it’s gotta do what it’s supposed to do.