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My Fashion Life: Rose Rankin takes sneakers upmarket

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Founder of eponymous luxury trainer brand Rose Rankin has elevated the humble sneaker to luxury status.

After a childhood spent adorning her own trainers with badges and paints, it took a pair of her daughter’s neon pink plimsolls to inspire Rose Rankin to launch her eponymous luxury trainer brand. The range launched in 2015, and is now stocked in 20 boutiques in the UK. Harvey Nichols is stocking the range for the first time for autumn 16.

Rose rankin in studio (med res)

Rose rankin in studio 

How do you describe the brand and what you do to someone who doesn’t know?

We are a footwear brand with its emphasis on luxury sneakers for women. The brand has a simple retro appeal and we focus on fabric and colour to inject humour.

What’s your design process? What do you do to get inspiration?

I take inspiration from everyday life – people I see, exhibitions, interiors, magazines, online, travel etc. I create a mood board from all these snippets and then when it comes to design time I choose what feels current and go from there.

Why did you decide to design trainers?

I’ve always been a fan of trainers and used to decorate my own as a child with paints and badges. A few years ago I bought my daughter a simple pair of plimsolls that were neon pink – everyone wanted them. It was then I decided to try to realise my dream of making sneakers using distinctive fabrics. I had always worn sneakers to work, so I wanted the product to feel smart enough for this market.

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Would you ever consider designing heels or smart shoes?

We are focusing on sneakers for now but boots and flats would be a nice progression for the brand one day. 

Why is there a niche for luxurious trainers?

People are increasingly busy, rushing around all day and we welcome footwear that is beautiful but comfortable too. Luxury trainers fit this but they also have that easy nonchalance that makes people feel good.

What do you love most about your job?

Being in charge of my own time. I work harder than ever before but I relish the freedom of being able structure my day. 

Whom do you admire most in the fashion industry?

There are so many but Julie Deane [founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company] stands out – I met her when I was working at Google as a senior industry analyst, and she inspired me to get going. I also really admire Marty Wikstrom [former chief executive of Richemont’s fashion business], who is an incredible business women.

If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be?

I would align fashion’s seasonal deliveries with our weather, so autumn deliveries came in September rather than July for instance.

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What would we find you doing at the weekend?

Hanging out with my family, finding the best breakfast restaurants and seeing friends.

What has been your career highlight to date?

Seeing Rose Rankin in the sneakers concept area of Harvey Nichols.

What’s the best business advice you were ever given?

Get the detail right. The small things add up to your sum total. You won’t have a solid business if you cut corners.

Tell us something not many people know about you?

I know every word and non-word of I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book.




Favourite clothing brand?

Rachel Comey

Favourite places to shop?

I love indie stores packed with unusual finds – close to me are The Cross, The West Village and Couverture & the Garbstore. 

Last fashion purchase?

Rachel Comey – a denim dress

Last holiday?


Last book you read?

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Last filmed you watched?


First job?

An internship in the press office at Alexander McQueen

Dream job?

To handprint textiles from a shed somewhere beautiful

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