There’s Something About Harrys… Interview with Kevin Martel of Harrys of London

August 18, 2008



My guy friends criticize me of not writing about men’s fashion more frequently. It’s partly due to my thinking that men don’t care about fashion.  In the next couple of months, I am going to be introducing men to new brands and really helping them hone in on their style personalities. Bo Brummel will be writing more about men’s fashion and answering your questions, while I work on discovering new collections and designs for men.

The first in the men’s series is my interview with Harrys of London, a men’s shoe company based in London.  Harrys of London is a seven year-old brand that was started by Tamara Mellon of Jimmy Choo.  To date, Harrys has created some classic and contemporary shoes to fit the lifestyle of guys everywhere.  Celebs  and athletes have been stocking up on Harrys of London shoes for a while and now one of Hollywood’s best kept or not so kept secrets is out. 
Are you a guy that loves to hop in his Bugatti Veyron Pur Sang on the weekend? Harrys driving mocs are for you. The ultra stylish yet sophisticated mocs come in a variety of sweet colors that are sure to reflect your style.  Hey Golfers and corporate types, Harrys has you covered with their collection of golf shoes, boots, loafers and formal shoes to match almost anything in your closet. 
I had the opportunity to interview Kevin Martel, the creative director of Harrys of London, to find out more about the brand, the latest collection and a few tips on choosing the right shoes.  Read on …

What sets Harrys apart from the rest of gentleman’s shoe labels?
I have great respect for all the great shoemakers here in the UK – there is a fine tradition of classic shoemaking and true gentleman’s style – but the technology has not changed in over 100 years. Harrys combines the classic style references and modern shoemaking techniques to produce shoes that speak to more contemporary customer with their exceptional quality, style and comfort.

How and why did the brand get started?
The brand was started in 2001 by Matthew and Tamara Mellon (of Jimmy Choo fame): they identified a need in the market for the high-end male customer who wanted a modern alternative to the traditional welted brogues that are so common here in London. The iconic dress loafers with the wind-surf inspired Vibram sole are still in the collection today and continue to be a best seller.

Who is the Harrys of London man?
The Harrys man appreciates quality and does not give in to designer trends in his shoes. Although we make some cheeky statements with our JET SLIPPERS (think red camouflage pony), these are beautiful shoes with a dedicated following.

What makes your shoes so special?
The first thing is quality; we only use the finest English, French and Italian materials and components from the best suppliers. Our unique approach to materials and colour has set us apart. We are also well known for our approach to outsole design – particularly our rubber soles. Creating a fine dress shoe – on a rubber sole – that is appropriate for work or black tie dressing is one of our specialities.

What is your favorite shoe in the collection?
My favourite shoe this season is the JET MOC in Camouflage Pony. I love camouflage in any form – it’s like leopard print for guys.

What are the three most important shoes a man MUST have in his wardrobe?
A Driving Moc: literally designed to be comfortable pushing down the accelerator, ours are soft, unlined suede. The perfect alternative to trainers on the weekends – Always chic.
A Great Brogue: Preferably with a rubber sole – for leaping over puddles on the way to work and still looking smart. We make many.
A Classic Penny Loafer: Everyone looks good in nice shiny loafers – whether with jeans or a smart trouser. I live in them.

Are there any new styles you plan on introducing?
We are introducing a very luxe trainer for next season – think neutral Italian suedes and a version in genuine alligator for the guy who has everything.

How can fans take better care of their shoes?
Own many pairs! In a perfect world, you should never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. The heat and moisture from your body softens the natural leather components – after all, leather is also skin. You should use a good cedar shoe tree and let them rest a day before wearing them again – you will notice immediately how much better they feel when you put them on again and they will maintain their original shape longer.

What is your top seller?
Our DOWNING slip-on penny loafer is a classic best seller: The soft polished calf is perfect for everyday at the office – and the Vibram rubber sole is a cool sporty detail.

Age old question: Socks with mocs or no socks with mocs?
Depends on the weather really. Unless it’s the dead of winter, I am sockless. I will be buried in a pair of loafers – showing a little ankle!

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