What does a Los Angeles-based vintage-style shoe brand have to do with a tropical group of islands in the Indian Ocean? For anyone who has searched for the latest news on the Seychelles Islands, this would be a valid and burning question. The answer may be a simple matter of aesthetics.
In the 1960s, a young American named Michael Kaufman left his home and set out to explore the wonders of the world. While living in Mombasa, he read about the Seychelles islands in a copy of Surfer magazine, lying a tantalizing 1,500 kilometres away, off the coast of Kenya.
Intrigued, he decided to travel to the islands, but as the Seychelles international airport was only built in 1972, going by boat was the only option. He boarded a boat to Bombay (now Mumbai), India that would make a stop in the Seychelles halfway through the journey.
Many years later, in 1984, Kaufman and a business partner, Michael Katz decided to set up a business in a very fashion-forward place – Los Angeles. Wondering what he should name his footwear company, which would feature women’s Italian-made jewelled sandals and cowboy boots, he remembered the paradise he had visited long ago.
“Years later when I started the business and was thinking about a name, I thought: what not better than to name this company after the most beautiful place in the world? So that’s exactly what I did,” said Kaufman.
And so Seychelles footwear had been born. Fifteen years later, in 1999, the company came under new leadership and repositioned itself to address the shift its new management had noticed in women’s shopping patterns.
Realising that young women were moving away from shopping at department stores to find more unique items at specialty and vintage boutiques, they Seychelles brand identity shifted towards taking inspiration from vintage footwear designs and transforming them into more modern, fashion-forward designs.
“Seychelles footwear strives to be the perfect blend of cutting edge looks and romantic and timeless details,” said Brittanie Murch, Seychelles’ Marketing Manager.
“Among the first brands to recognize the incredible potential for bloggers as brand ambassadors, Seychelles has cultivated a loyal brand following amidst trendsetters the world over. We cater to the ‘fashion explorers’ who love hunting for one-of-a-kind treasures.”
It seems that the brand has now connected with its namesake better, with a slightly whimsical comfortable-in-its-own-skin offering that pays homage to the comfortable luxury and adventurous spirit that the Seychelles islands embody.
“Being a small brand competing on the same playing field as some of the biggest retail names in footwear, the fact that we not only survived, but rather grew our business through the recent economic downturn is testament to the quality of our product and our fresh point of view,” said Murch.
The company takes a lot of pride in the knowledge that even though they have a strict policy of not paying for celebrity endorsements, some of the hottest celebs, such as Taylor Swift and Megan Fox, have been spotted in Seychelles shoes. Actress, comedian and author Olivia Munn even gave the brand credit when she talked on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show about showing enough confidence at auditions to start getting booked for acting jobs.
Seychelles shoes can be purchased in well-known retail stores throughout America, such as Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Hudson Bay, American Rag, Free People, and CUSP as well as in independent boutiques across the US, Canada, the Phillipines, and Japan. The footwear is also available through major online retailers such as Piperlime and Zappos in addition to their own website.
The brand seems keen to bring their products closer to the powder-white beaches and turquoise waters of the Seychelles, and the prospect of a modelling shoot on the islands may just be a real possibility.
“We have never brought the shoes to Seychelles before, but that is a fabulous idea and we would love to do something like that in the future,” said Murch.
Source : Seychelles News Agency