Meet the woman behind the chic shoe brand the fashion pack are raving about
Words Joy Montgomery
This year the fashion week FROW was a veritable paradise of fashionable flats: from slip-on skaters and lace-up Stan Smiths, to androgynous brogues and quirky pointed pumps. Flats are officially back. It’s this new luxury landscape of elevated basics that Katie Harland launched her brand into.
Rogues is the chic shoe brand industry insiders are going mad for. Offering a tightly edited line of lace-ups (and for this season, loafers) in a range of colourful hues, fabrics and prints, Rogues have become the lifeblood for every busy woman needing some stylish comfort in their wardrobe.
We chatted to Katie, the designer and founder of Rogues, about her journey, inspirations and that photo of Gigi Hadid…
What motivated you to create a shoe brand devoted exclusively to flats?
The inability to find any flats that I liked aside from trainers. I’m never been a ballet pump girl and I felt that a lot of the brogues and loafers on the market lacked a playful and feminine touch.
This season the runways were dominated by flats, whilst countless Fashion Editors were photographed wearing trainers. Why do you think the fashion industry has decided to embrace flat shoes?
Isn’t it obvious? They’re so comfy! I can’t imagine pacing round all those shows in stilettos. That’s not to say heels don’t have their place, but I think the industry now has seen a huge uplift in ‘comfort’ brands. People are willing to pay more now for everyday pieces as they see the value in cost per wear rather then just saving up to splash out on an occasion piece.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Definitely when Gigi Hadid was spotted in Rogues at NYFW – she looked amazing.
Do you think flats are feminist?
Certainly not, they’re devoid of a higher meaning, they’re just practical. I don’t think that when women slip on a pair of Rogues think they’re doing so for the equality of the sexes, they’re doing it because they feel good in them. All women should be feminists at heart, but fashion for me is apart from this. It’s a feeling, and more so in London then other cities in the world, it’s also an expression of yourself.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Street style is a huge influence – and nowhere in the world is better than London for that. I find going for a walk around the city is hugely influential. Aside from that I think you’ve got to get in to that playful childlike state. Experiment. Try things out. I often rip apart previous samples (rip the leather right off the sole!) and stick things on them, it’s a very physical process for me. As I don’t come from a background in footwear design, I’m always curious about the engineering of a shoe.
How has social media impacted your growth as a brand?
It’s definitely a key component of the brands growth, however I’m not hell bent on putting across a polished and professional façade. It’s always been about people seeing what goes into creating the brand; the things that excite and inspire collections, news updates and exclusive offers. It’s a very personal account and I love the thoughtful feedback I receive from people who follow the brand. It such a fantastic tool that’s available to brands starting up these days – to be able to instantly connect and talk to your customers gives a much more intimate relationship between brand and consumer. As the majority of my sales are through the website it keeps me grounded in what people like, want and need.
What are your top tips for styling flat shoes?
Flash a bit of ankle. Personally I think flat shoes look their best with an ankle grazing trouser – which is lucky as cropped flares, sawn-off denim, culottes and cigarette trousers are everywhere this season. The combination of this trouser length and the shoe means that it’s still flattering to a woman’s shape, but in a different way to a heel. The French pull off this look very well.
What are your favourite pair of Rogues?
Without a doubt Pomme Noir. As a London girl they are the perfect shoe that will take you from day to night. The patent leather looks smart for work but also means it’s easy to clean if your evening plans escalate, whilst the pompoms add a luxurious and fun detail.
If you would love one celebrity to wear a pair of Rogues who would it be?
Jennifer Lawrence – not so much for the impact on sales, I just think she’s awesome. She’s a great example of a woman in the public eye who stands for something. She’s not just a clothes horse, she has a voice.
Where would you like to see the brand in ten years?
I’d love to have a store in Westbourne Grove or Marylebone High Street. I think for a brand it’s such a great opportunity to be in a position where you can have a store, as it is the only time you’ll have to really get the brand personality across in the flesh rather than online. Obviously on top of this it would help to have a killer collection of stockists globally!