Scrolling through my twitter feed last week, an image posted by artist Charlotte Audrey caught my eye. It was a still life image of a pair of perfect metallic and velvet trainers. Put the words metallic and trainers together in a sentence and there's no doubt I'll want to know more, so I immediately tweeted back asking for more info.
The brand responsible for such a perfect pair of trainers, it turns out, is Rose Rankin, a 'new premium footwear label with its emphasis on sneakers'. The brand describes itself as being 'characterised by understated design and subtle detailing, combined with a love of colour. By weaving retro with the new we bring fun, bold pieces with clean lines that are both luxurious and every-day.'
Trainers are no longer confined only to your workout wardrobe, they're more than just an easy option you stick on when you're popping to the shops. Women are now just as likely to reach for a pair of trainers as they are a pair of heels, and the trend shows absolutely no signs of waning. But designer Rose isn't among the recently converted. A 'sneaker fan since childhood', her first brush with footwear design came when she was presented with a pair of pink trainers as a young child. Being a tomboy, she decided she'd much prefer black, so set about painting them in her chosen colour; undeterred by the rain washing the paint away and determinedly reapplying each time. Skip forward a few years and, after working across various creative industries, Rose undertook a footwear design course at Central Saint Martins. Inspired by the course, and armed with further technical knowledge thanks to a stint studying at the Portobello Business Centre, she began the task of finding the right factory to in order to start the manufacturing process.
The website and online shop only launched last week but offers a very solid first collection with a clearly defined style. This doesn't feel like a debut collection or a cautious first step; designer Rose knew what she wanted from this collection and set out to achieve it.
"I wanted to create a line of sneakers that were both feminine and chic but still had some attitude. My motivations were two fold: Firstly, with the rise of luxury sportswear I felt there was a gap for beautifully handmade sneakers, designed specifically for women and at a more accessible price than other luxury brands on the market. I wanted to play with a retro sports silhouette but use fabrics and craftsmanship more associated with high-end shoes. My second motivation was that I wanted to create sneakers with a chic silhouette that also had an injection of fun and the playful nature that is reminiscent of childhood sneakers. This is where the colour comes in! So by carefully editing fabrics and focusing on proportions my aim was to create a soft, feminine but vibrant collection."
Selecting the right materials was key as the textural combinations are a major design feature in this collection. High quality suedes, nubucks, and leathers, sit alongside synthetic materials such as velvet, glitter fabric, and mesh to create a 'playful patchwork aesthetic'. As with the materials, there was no sacrifice in quality when it came to sourcing the right factory for the brand. All Rose Rankin sneakers are handmade in Portugal; carefully stitched by traditional shoe makers.
Whilst every other brand seems to be trying to make the new Roshe Runs or Stan Smiths, Rose Rankin has gone very much in its own direction. The retro influence is clear in the shapes and proportions but the materials, colours and vibrancy of the design sets Rose Rankin apart as a brand on its own path.
Be sure to check out Charlotte Audrey, who is responsible for the beautiful lookbook.