The very best in footwear gathered at Birmingham’s National Conference Centre on Sunday 17 February for the annual Footwear Industry Awards. Organised by Datateam Business Media, publisher of Footwear Today magazine, the Awards have been specifically designed to celebrate the brands, retailers and professionals at the heart of the vibrant sector.
Footwear Today editor Cheryl Taylor opened the evening’s proceedings with a speech, saying: “The Footwear Industry Awards is a chance for us all to reflect on the successes and achievements of this incredible sector over the past twelve months – and it’s heartening to see even more professionals turn out year on year for an unforgettable evening of celebration.”
The awards presentation itself began with the Men’s Footwear Brand of the Year honour which was awarded to Loake, before Caprice was invited to the stage to collect the Ladies’ Footwear Brand of the Year accolade.
Skechers was revealed to be the 2019 Children’s Footwear Brand of the Year while Grisport picked up the award for Outdoor Footwear Brand of the Year and DB Shoes was presented the Comfort/Wellness Brand of the Year honour.
The award for Fashion Footwear Brand of the Year then went to Lunar, before Cherry Blossom picked up the Shoecare Brand of the Year gong and Eastern Counties Leather took the top spot in the Accessory Brand of the Year category. The new Made In Britain Footwear: Export Growth Award was presented to Hotter while the highly coveted Footwear Brand of the Year accolade went to Rieker.
On the retailer front, White & Son Shoes of Sidmouth and North Shoes were revealed to be the Men’s and Ladies’ Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year, respectively. The Children’s Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year award was presented to Luke O’Brien Shoes before Finale was announced as the Fashion Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year and Donaghys was given the honour of being the Outdoor Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year.
The 2019 New Independent Footwear Retailer of the Year accolade was presented to Solent Shoes, while Johnson Shoes picked up the award for Independent Family Footwear Retailer of the Year and Robin Elt was announced as the Multiple Footwear Retailer of the Year. The award for Best Use of Technology/e-tailer of the Year was bestowed upon Gardiners.
As always, the Footwear Industry Awards also recognised the outstanding individual efforts of professionals from across the sector. Ricosta’s Lyn Johnson was revealed to be the Leader in Customer Service, Cindy Rye of Lunar was announced as Designer of the Year while DB Shoes’ Rosie Laker picked up the coveted Personality of the Year honour. Cambrian Boots’ Delyth Jones-Evans was presented with the Student Shoe Fitter of the Year award while Steve Frost of Rieker picked up the Platinum Shoe Award.
The presentation closed with the hotly-contested Shop Front of the Year category. The creative retailer revealed to be the winner of the trophy – and the coveted £1,500 worth of holiday vouchers – was The Shoe Room, Doncaster.
Guests at the ceremony also had the opportunity to give a little back in the form of a charity fundraiser in aid of Footwear Friends and Time Is Precious, and raised a generous £1115 for the two charities.
While all of the awards had been handed out, the celebrations were still in full swing as guests were invited to enjoy post-awards party hosted by the Society of Shoe Fitters – which celebrated its diamond anniversary at the ceremony.
The Footwear Industry Awards 2019 received the backing of a number of industry heavyweights, including headline sponsor Skechers in addition to Cherry Blossom, Froddo, Hotter, Hush Puppies, Marie’s Shoes, The Milan Shoes and Accessories Fair, Moda, Legero, Padders, Posh Store and Superfit. A number of associations and charities also pledged their support to the scheme including British Footwear Association, The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, Footwear Friends, the Society of Shoe Fitters and Shoe Aid.
To find out more about the Footwear Industry Awards or to browse the full gallery of images from the awards presentation, visit www.footwearindustryawards.com.