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Pointer

The contemporary footwear brand is evolving its offer but sticking to its mantra of making styles that last.

When Gareth Skewis set up Pointer in 2004 it was to fill a gaping hole in his personal footwear collection. His preferred classic brands such as Clarks and Trickers weren’t nailing a casual contemporary style for trend-savvy men, so Skewis aimed to deliver footwear that would have longevity but which had a vulcanised, casual last.

Five years on and the footwear brand is flying, with 1,000 stockists worldwide including 80 in the UK such as the Schuh and Size? chains and east London premium menswear indie Present - and the offer has evolved significantly.

Pointer’s standout style for autumn 11 is the Charlie, a saddle shoe interpretation that is Skewis’s personal favourite and marks a change for the brand. Pointer’s heritage lies in skate and street culture, so its range is casual - the iconic Pointer style is a hybrid mid-height boot - but the new saddle style (pictured, top centre) is a grown-up man’s shoe. “If you are going to get the brand-loyal male shopper out of his shoes into another pair, you’ve got to offer something different, and never before have you been able to get every kind of style from one brand,” he says.

Newcastle premium menswear indie End Clothing has stocked Pointer for four seasons. Marketing manager John Paul Wager says: “The edge Pointer has is that it caters for the guy who is looking for something smarter than a trainer but not as smart as a typical shoe. By maintaining strong design standards it has developed these styles really well.”

The label’s women’s collection is gathering momentum and a big push to market will be made for spring 12. Says Skewis: “It’s not easy with women’s. It’s either Christian Louboutin at one end, a no-name brand at the other and not a lot between. Everybody is going to have to realise things are just not that cheap any more, which will force people into higher-priced product that will last.”

By cheap Skewis means £10 throw-away footwear. Pointer’s wholesale pricing architecture runs from £20 to £75 for autumn 11. The brand’s most expensive shoe in the autumn 11 collection is a fur-lined, bench-made boot that retails for £170.

Some of the most exciting Pointer product has come via collaborations with designer label Comme des Garçons and Japanese bag brand Porter, and this week Pointer was worn by models in menswear designer Christopher Shannon’s London Fashion Week show.

Says Skewis: “With [collaborations] we can experiment, but my design aesthetic is simple and remains the same. Anything we put out has to stand the test of time.”

Pointer 020 7033 4193 www.pointerfootwear.com

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