Those of you in the know and the social media savvy can’t have failed to have noticed the British footwear and accessories brand Fairfax and Favor. Team EWW will be featuring a review of their boots very soon, but until then here is a taste of the brand for those heading to Badminton this week.
Founded in 2013 by childhood friends, Marcus Fairfax Fountaine and Felix Favor Parker, Fairfax & Favor is a young British brand shaking up the luxury footwear market. Their concept is simple, offer a fantastic product and retail experience at some of the best eventing and country gatherings across the country. Through this concept Fairfax and Favor have developed a strong following of style centric customers who love their classic, but fashion led footwear.
Their goal is simple – to make their brand of affordable luxury footwear fun to experience in every way. Their distinctive footwear is a blend of classic British style and contemporary, laid-back elegance made with the highest quality materials. The result is a range of stunning, handmade shoes and boots, stylish enough to take you effortlessly from town to country and from smart to casual.
‘The line between smart and casual is now completely blurred especially if, like us, you live with one foot in the country and one in the city. We really struggled to find shoes we liked and could wear everywhere, at a price we could afford.’ said Marcus Fairfax Fountaine.
Their women’s wear range features the iconic Regina boots which now come in a heeled as well as a flat
style. A new departure has been the availability of coloured tassels which can be brought separately to personally customise boots. It is this detailing that makes Fairfax and Favor boots unique. It is clear that the duo spend a great deal of time and commitment to their product. Speaking to Nikki, the EWW fashion editor, at Belton Horse Trials Felix Favor Parker explained the boot’s calf area detailing.
‘We have a really wide demographic of customers with very different leg measurements. We also realised that boots are now worn for the majority of the year, with thick socks and thin. So our boots need to expand and contract to accommodate this, without losing their fit.’
To combat this need the design team incorporated an elasticated panel, incorporated within the suede. Not only does this offer a stylish solution to the issue but adds to the design details. It seems like the brand really knows their customers and decisions to develop the range to incorporate other accessories such as belts and bags was an obvious departure.
‘We realised that classic, glamorous looking handbags were really hard to come by. So we set to design a bag that would work with the boots, so the two looked fantastic together!’ said Marcus.
Fairfax and Favor is a British run business run by two young guys so it is hardly surprising that men’s foot wear is a key part of their collections. A choice of suede Chelsea boots or loafers cover all bases and with plans to introduce “driving shoes” later on this year. The brand has shown they are not ones to rest on their heels.
Eventer Craig Barr, a rider for Dassett Eventing, will be trialling the boots as part of EWW’s review team.
‘I love the Fairfax and Favor style and can’t wait to try their Chelsea boots. They are going to be ideal for trot ups and riders drinks parties but will also look really cool when dressed down with jeans’ said Craig.
It seems like the brand has some great plans for growth, and will be trading at Badminton and Rockingham Horse Trials and the Royal Windsor Horse Show during May.
‘Our ladies’ long’ Regina’ boots have been really popular, worn by a lot of riders for their trot ups. They have really taken off at these sorts of events. We have a great connection to the eventing world as we were both brought up in the country and our office and warehouse is actually based in a beautiful old block of stables. In addition, the shows are great fun and when you are providing customers with complementary champagne (and drinking it yourself) its hard not to enjoy it!’ said Marcus.
Fairfax and Favor are clearly on the up. I asked the Felix and Marcus what inspired them to take the plunge and develop a luxury British clothing brand, particularly during times of austerity, when many businesses were struggling financially.
‘We started with 420 shoes, which we brought with all our savings on a trip to Spain twenty months ago. We used to keep them all in my attic before we moved into our beautiful old stable block. We both agreed from a young age that we would go into business together and we realised that there wasn’t a footwear brand that really provided the style and price point of shoes that we wanted. I think have been lucky because we are both the same age (24) and we both have the same ambitions and dreams and we work well together which makes us a good team I think’ explained Marcus.
I asked Marcus if he had any tips for people thinking of developing their own fashion centric businesses.
‘The biggest tip I can give is to find someone else with the same mind-set to go into business with you. The early days of any business can be demoralising, especially if you are working late into the night, on your own and for zero pay. But don’t take the decision too lightly as it’s you will be spending a lot of time together, so it basically like a marriage!’
‘Our ultimate aim is to be the ‘Ralph Lauren’ of footwear & accessories in the UK and then internationally. That means we have to expand our range so we become the go-to place for affordable luxury footwear. We would like to grow our stockist list three fold (we currently stock 20 shops). A plan is to try opening some of our own flagship stores in London once we have enough of a product range. At some point in the next five years I would like to have a crack at the American market as well as I think Kentucky Derby would be great fun!’ enthused Marcus.
Clearly they have big plans and the team at EWW will be following this pair very closely. Fairfax and Favour will be exhibiting at Badminton Horse Trials this year and would like to invite customers to view their ranges, including a new bag design, and of course have a glass of champagne!