Marc Hare’s determinedly upscale but simple men’s shoes are attracting serious attention.
It’s taken less than three years for Marc Hare to establish his luxury footwear brand, Mr Hare, as an object of desire for discerning men.
The slim-lasted Oxfords, loafers and boots – and imaginative deviations thereof – are sold through the likes of super-cool indies Browns and Dover Street Market in London, Colette in Paris and Tokyo’s Beams. The brand has been written about in glorified prose by a host of bloggers and discussed in glowing terms by drooling buyers and slathering pundits alike.
“The shoe thing was a total out-of-nowhere moment,” confesses Hare. “I was sitting in a tapas bar in Andalucia, checking out this old guy’s shoes, redesigning them in my head, when suddenly I thought ‘why not do this for a living?’”
That was July 23, 2008. He registered the company in November and received his first order from premium menswear etailer Oki-ni in December.
Previously, Hare’s CV included stints in a fashion marketing consultancy, head of marketing at a Swedish fashion house, PR work, partner at Low Pressure, which he says was “London’s only real surf shop”, and owner of Notting Hill premium lifestyle boutique Something.
All of which, Hare says, meant he got a thorough grounding in everything he needed to know to set up his company.
With 36 stockists worldwide, Mr Hare is growing steadily, but with its high-end positioning there is a limit to how far its distribution can spread. Hare is aware of that but he doesn’t believe in diffusion. “You can’t buy a cheap Aston Martin can you?” Still, a collaboration with Topman is in stores this summer. “I don’t mind collaborations, but only if two plus two makes eight,” he says.
The brand promises quality and lightweight construction, often with a screw-the-pricing attitude. Yet this is no simple luxury version of staple styles – regular customers come back for Hare’s distinctive design tweaks and confidently spare details.
Spring 12 will not disappoint, as a host of remixes update even the most classic lasts. There are definite nods to trends, with soles from specialist outsole manufacturer Vibram and grainy leathers hinting at the hiker trend on ankle boots. But there no carbon copy replicates. Subtlety is key. An ostrich panel here, a punch-hole stripe there. A trio of textures makes a simple Oxford utterly covetable, mixing patent, washed and matt leather panels in black or black and white.
Cobbled in Empoli, the shoes are generally made with the Blake construction method, which uses a single row of stitching in the inside of the shoe. Hare says: “I’m attracted to slender, elegant shoes so it suits my aesthetic perfectly.”
165 Pairs sold in first year
3,500 Pairs sold so far this year
£430,000 Turnover for 2011 on a 15% profit margin
70 Number of pairs of shoes owned by brand owner Marc Hare
- Mr Hare 020 7033 3650 www.mrhare.co.uk