I first heard about Rosie toes from a friend living in London. I was quite taken aback to find out that someone across the world new something I did not about the things happening in Grahamstown. This was indubitable proof of the global reach of a Grahamstown-run business. Curiosity got the better of me, I looked it up online and I fell in love.
Leather shoes have become a passion for me. They may cost a lot, but they are better made, longer-lasting, repairable and kinder to the environment than most shoes on the market. They are an investment in your closet. Lucky for me, there has been a revival in artisanally-crafted leather shoes for women. Even the humble veldskoen has had a fashion revival in the women’s footwear market. Rosie toes adds some imagination and creativity to its designs. While there are definite Rosie staples, many of the shoes in the range have a quirky and playful feel added to them with bows, ribbons and lace. This is Rosie toes’ signature: feminine, floral and playful. The shoes embrace the delicate juxtaposition between feminine elements and hard-wearing, rigid leather.
Inge started Rosie toes in 2015. She was a fan of leather shoes and couldn’t find what she wanted in big retail outlets. She, therefore, started playing with making and decorating her own shoes. She put up a Facebook page and things just took off from there. Inge designs and makes a extensive range of shoes, including the leather Rosies and custom wedding shoes that form her bestsellers. The business purposefully remains a small one and forms a creative outlet for her in the evenings and over the weekend. Suprisingly, I was the first local to order a pair – a fact that shocked me. The market for Rosie toes is, in fact, national and most orders come from the Gauteng region.
My first two pairs of leather Rosies arrived and caused quite a buzz amongst friends who are now risking financial security to own a pair (you know who you are). I chose the brown Proteas and the tan Lady’s Slippers. They are gorgeous, on-trend, well-constructed and very comfortable. The Proteas have a playful element added to them with the lacy pink ribbon that takes the place of traditional laces. They are made from extremely soft leather, which makes them a comfy choice to throw on with a pair of jeans or an easy summer dress. The Lady’s Slippers are trendy, 1930s-inspired, leather t-strap flats that add some vintage magic to a look.
It seems that wedding bells are in the air at the moment and it is pretty difficult to find the perfect pair of shoes to go with any dress – let alone a wedding dress. A custom-made formal and yet playful pair of Rosies may be just the ticket. The Wedding Hydrangeas are a particular favourite of mine (although these are part of the standard catalogue). Inge enjoys the creative process that she shares with her clients during the design process. The clients love the idea that they have a pair of special shoes for their big day – unique and designed with them in mind.
These wonderful shoes are in need of a local market. If you want to find out more check out the Rosie toes Facebook page and online shop.