April 01 2010
Bettina von Hase
I’ve always loved brogues – to me they are not a fashion item but a staple, to be worn with everything from jeans to vintage floral dresses. The current vogue for brogues reminds me of the ones I can’t stop wearing. About a year ago, I saw my sister and her husband wearing brogues which took my breath away. Sturdy and classic, they had no laces, which gave them a quirky and contemporary look. Instead of laces, the shoe’s exposed leather tongue serves both as decoration and to hide an elastic band, keeping the foot in place. I was so smitten, I subsequently bought four pairs.
The brogues came from Pokit, founded in 1999 by a young Nigerian-English couple, Bayode Oduwole and Claire Pringle, who make clothes and shoes for men and women, interpreting the traditional “English look” in an entirely original way. Oduwole describes the brogues, made in Northampton by one of the oldest English shoe manufacturers, as a cross between a brogue and a trainer: “They are familiar enough to attract the most conservative buyer, and radical enough for the avant garde.” He dreamt up the idea when he found himself constantly arriving late for chapel at his English boarding school. “I got dressed in one minute flat, but never had time to do up my laces,” he says.
There are two versions, both for men and women, the Horace I and Horace II (both £255). The Horace I is a half-brogue; the Horace II is a full brogue, available in five colours: white (pictured), caramel, dark brown, black, and two-tone (brown and white). I own two pairs of the Horace I (brown and camel) and two pairs of the Horace II (white and black), and to me there is nothing more solid and stylish.