Behind the Sole: Freelance Photographer


behind the sole

Our Freelance Photographer co-owns her own clothing company, wears more men’s clothes than women’s and is inspired by the prospect of a successful photography career. We caught up with 21-year-old Abbie Smith to chat dinner party guests, clothing customisation and photography goals.

How did you get this job?

I wanted to work for a big shoe or fashion company so SOLETRADER was one of the first companies I contacted directly and it went from there.

What does a typical day involve?

It’s normally pretty varied because I freelance, so it changes quite regularly. Some days I’ll be editing whereas others I’ll be out on location or shooting in the studio.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

The most exciting part is going to events. They’re always great to photograph and getting to meet new people who are interested in similar things is a lot of fun.

What’s the biggest challenge your job role presents you with?

Managing my time, as a freelancer particularly, so I can shoot as much as possible while still having time to sit and edit everything.

Did you always want to pursue a career in fashion photography?

Since the age of about 15 I wanted to be a sport photographer, but as I got older I then fell in love with fashion photography. When I started my own streetwear company I really started to get into and appreciate fashion photography. Streetwear and style is a big interest of mine, and I think when I first got to photograph LFW and work with some great designers like Milena Konakchieva I realised it was an industry I wanted to be involved in.


How do you get creative when trying to photograph a particular shoe?

I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s work so I think I get a lot of my inspiration from building off of great ideas I’ve already seen and adapting them in my own way.

What’s your favourite way to relax after a stressful day?

Calling up some of my friends to grab a drink in our local pub.

What’s an interesting or quirky fact about you?

I co-own my own streetwear company called KXC with my boyfriend, which we started together when we were about 15.

Who/what inspires you?

My dream of becoming a successful photographer inspires me the most – looking at photographers I love such as Jordan Green and the idea that one day I could be in a similar position.

What’s your favourite piece of advice/quote?

Keaton Henson – If you must work, work to leave some part of you on this earth.


What’s your favourite footwear?

I’ve always loved trainers. At the moment I love the adidas Superstar 80s Primeknit Slip-On trainers and also the DKNY Bobbi trainers in white.

Describe your style in three words?

Workwear, streetwear and menswear. I seem to have a lot more men’s brands than women’s.

Where is your OOTD (outfit of the day) from?

Shoes – Reebok Classic
Striped tee – Supreme
Jeans – Topshop (I’ve taken some scissors to them)

If you could invite three people to a dinner party, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

Bon Iver, Casey Neistat and Tom Rosenthal – purely because I love them all.

Behind the Sole features monthly on our blog so make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram where we’ll share our blogs with you on a weekly basis.

Student Style: Back to Uni

Going back to Uni is always one of the best times of the year. But let’s be serious – you’ve probably racked up more hours trying to catch Charizard on Pokemon Go, binging Stranger Things on Netflix and trying to work out why #Hiddleswift was EVER a thing instead of working towards the next instalment of education. Oh well, summer is for having lazy-induced fun, right? Now where the style stakes are concerned, this is the time to get the Autumn ball rolling and invest in some footwear to get you through first term. As always, we’re on hand to point you in the right direction.

All Black Everything


All black trainers – a fail safe method for creating a smarter and more sleek look. Sneaker kings New Balance include this 530 old-skool runner in their latest drop. If you’re in need of a simple yet stylish shoedrobe overhaul then these kicks could be the answer. The black suede and bold detailing provides a sophisticated finish for the perfect smart casual look this season.


If smart black tickles your fancy then a beautifully simple penny loafer from the ladies SOLE range, our exclusive in-house collection, might be the perfect pair of shoes. The androgynous Alexa style is both striking and practical in a bold black with a patent python print. Paired with a roll neck, pinafore and tights you’ll have Autumn style sorted.

Loan Drop Splurge


It’s a universally known fact that loan day is one of the best days in the student calendar, so why not indulge in a guilt-free splurge? Y-3 has delivered another masterless in design update, and the Future Low trainers exude class and premium luxury details. The slip-on, no lace design concept is part of the Yohji collaboration which is at the centre of cool kicks.


Michael Kors is the master of sports luxe footwear – period. The epitome of class, this bandaged wrapped women’s slip-on sneaker is one of this season’s fastest selling styles. The classic metallic colour palette combined with an array of different textures creates a unique and striking silhouette, beautifully accentuated with prominent yet understated metal branding.



Chelsea boots are quite simply an Autumn staple and these Wynter boots from our exclusive in-house men’s SOLE collection are the perfect addition to this season’s shoe collection. In a traditional black suede with wooden sole and heel detailing, these boots are both practical and comfortable. The 72 emboss branding creates the perfect finish for a suave and sophisticated shoe.




Every girl probably has more boots than textbooks but that’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Exclusive to SOLE, these May boots ooze casual class and premium comfort. The suede finish and mid-heel create the perfect style comfort balance, topped off with a subtle almond toe for an added unique dimension to the classic silhouette.

For our full range of shoes, head over to our website. If you’re after the latest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Reebok: The Classic Comeback

A few years ago the iconic Reebok Classic would have been met with a few raised eyebrows. Fast forward to 2016 and the Classic has firmly stomped all over the fashion scene once again, and with quite an impact. The Classics have quite frankly become a 90s fashion revival everyone has been rushing to get back into, and with good reason. Celebs have reinstated the popular style as a streetwear staple and we’re totally not complaining. Let’s take a little look at what’s on offer – but be warned, we’ve got some seriously fierce footwear to show off.


Ladies first and what better way to start than with the launch of the brand new Pearlized Pack – comprised of two gorgeous colours with a pearl finish, obviously. Reebok has teamed up with cosmetics company FACE Stockholm to create the Classic Leather trainers in a simple white and an elegant rose gold, with an inspirational message printed in the footbed. Perfect for your comfy yet super stylish footwear option to slip in your city break suitcase. Understated chic or gorgeously girly – which gets your vote?


For guys, on the other hand, we have the Classic Leather Clip TechStep trainer which is a new drop from Reebok. The Die-cut EVA midsole is designed for shock absorption and the classic rubber outsole tackles high abrasion to ensure they stay in tip top condition at all times. Available in a black or navy colourway, this is a classic sneaker with a cult following. A clever fusion of old skool vibes and nu-skool styling, this Classic is one to be desired this season. Smart, stylish and definitely on the luxe side of things.

For our full range of shoes, head over to our website. If you’re after the latest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Autumn Edit: Slay in CK

As the mornings get colder and the evenings grow darker, it’s time to look towards Autumn –  which by the way, could possibly be our favourite time of the year. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve loved the endless beach cocktails and flurry of summer festivals, but there’s something so satisfying about throwing on a roll neck, slipping on a pair of boots and warming up with a salted caramel cappuccino mid-shop. If you are however a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly known as SAD), then the only potential resolution we can suggest is new shoes. Why? Because sadness is rarely associated with a beautiful brand new pair of booties. We’re loving this most recent Calvin Klein instalment which is the pinnacle of modern chic meets iconic.



We’re sorry, but we can’t spend another minute NOT talking about these thigh highs. This minimalist design has been injected with a little bit of playfulness and some serious sass. The risqué back zip detail and black suede finish oozes glamour, while the gold block heel adds a touch of elegance and class – a sexy yet sophisticated number. Three, two, one – slay.

When we don’t fancy trotting about in fancy footwear, something a little more classic is in order and this is where the LBP (little black point) comes out to play. The snake embossed upper and subtle gold heel epitomises catwalk glamour while the point (which by the way, is seriously on point) takes your outfit from casual to smart in seconds.

Beautifully crafted in a soft yet statement velvet, these gorgeous block heel ankle boots are most definitely a fashion worthy investment. The gold inside zip and branded back tab creates a powerful piece of footwear which is sure to send you sky high in the style stakes. Worn with cropped frayed jeans and an oversized shirt, you’ll be at the core of Calvin Klein envy.

If kicks are more your kind of thing then these gold trainers are unquestionably luxe. Casual and laid back yet seriously stylish, these prime knits will make you sparkle on any occasion. The platform sole is bang on trend while the gold hues add another dimension to the already statement shoe. There’s no doubt about it – you’ll be gleaming in these bad boys.

For our full range of shoes, head over to our website. If you’re after the latest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.


Behind the Sole: Digital Creative & Graphic Designer

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behind the sole

Our Digital Creative and Graphic Designer used to be an e-sports athlete, is a lover of Zen proverbs and has big ambitions for his career. We caught up with 26-year-old Jack Flaxton to chat about standout moments, biggest challenges and favourite quotes of all time.

Did you go to University and if so, what did you study?

I studied 3D Visualisation and Animation at Bournemouth University and it’s got to be the hardest course I’ve ever taken. It covered everything from Computer Science, Mathematics and Programming Languages to Life Drawing, Animation and Cinematography. A huge stretch between technical and creative that really pushed my understanding of visual art and design.

How did you get this job?

I applied online and was contacted to come say hi! After coming to the Head Office – and liking what I saw – I took the plunge and moved from London to Hemel Hempstead. Six months later I’m settling into the role nicely and feel I’m on my way to realising my full potential as a Graphic Artist.

Did you always want to pursue a career in this field?

My creative sensibilities started to majorly take shape at college in my second year when I was 17. My art and graphics teachers were absolutely fantastic and I feel like they were keys that unlocked me. After college I wanted to go into 3D animation but after university I realised that industry, and the ways into it, did not suit me at all. The first jobs in my career included creating event flyers for local organisers advertising gigs and parties. I had another part time weekend job in a cafe too. A common vein that ran through all my years growing up, even before college, was the software Photoshop and its incredible power to help one realise images. I use it every day in this role! 

What does a typical day involve?

Most days I’m designing emails and banners as well as other tasks like designing the website and posters/flyers to be displayed in the stores. Occasionally I also do some video production/editing and create motion graphics. It’s a real mix of stuff, just how I like it!

What’s your favourite part of the job?

My favourite thing about my role here at SOLETRADER is having the opportunity to create kick-ass visuals in order to promote our great brand and the premium quality shoes we sell. I take great pleasure and pride in my responsibility to render our visual presence both online and off.

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How do you get creative when trying to design to a specific brief?

Just like a magician doesn’t tell how he performs his magic, nor will I! I will give a clue though; Google is an eye-opener to say the least!

What’s the biggest challenge your job role presents you with?

My background before SOLETRADER had been a freelance method of working; I would have a single point of contact within a company to complete a set task over a period of time. My role here is the opposite as I have many points of contact in the office and many tasks. So I guess my biggest challenge right now is juggling everything so everyone, including myself, is happy.

What’s your favourite way to relax after a stressful day?

It used to be a few games of Dota 2 with some buddies online – I could switch off from the world and focus on the hour the game lasts. But my RSI (repetitive strain injury) along my arm/wrist is not taking a turn for the better so I’m considering more social/hands-free pastimes.

Where do you see your career going?

I have big ambitions for my career – I aim for a position like Art Director – relied upon for my vision, and an ability to communicate this vision.

What’s your favourite footwear?

Right now I’m a Chelsea boots kind of guy. Slip on, durable and smart. An all-purpose, one solution kind of deal! 

Describe your style in three words…
Work hard play hard. There’s actually only three different words used there haha. I say this because I dress very smartly at work – I take it very seriously (maybe too seriously) – but at home you’d see me in very casual clothing. I used to blade a lot at skate parks, so you could probably say I dress like a skater sometimes with a cap etc. It depends on the situation and the people.

Where is your OOTD (outfit of the day) from?

H&M: Shirt, tie and slim jeans.
USC: Chelsea boots.

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What’s an interesting or quirky fact about you?

I used to be an e-Sports Athlete! This means taking computer gaming too seriously haha. I was awarded money for winning a few competitions (in UK/Europe) and I nearly signed with the France based team Quantic and their sponsors. This was all in Dota 2 – a game similar to League of Legends.

Tell us about a standout moment in your life…

One of my favourite moments of all time was sitting in an Indian-style cafe on a hill at Glastonbury Festival, shaded from the beaming sun with a group of friends and some great vibes.

Who/what inspires you?

Peter Joseph (a contemporary Philosopher and filmmaker), Buckminster Fuller (wrote Operating Manuel for Spaceship Earth, 1968), Alan Watts (Spiritual Entertainer), Rage Against The Machine (Rock band) and Tim Marrs (Illustrator and Designer). 

What’s your favourite piece of advice/quote?

I guess one quote I’d like to share that means a lot to me is this old Zen Buddhist proverb.

Before enlightenment,

chop wood, carry water,

after enlightenment,

chop wood, carry water.

I love how Zen proverbs make no sense and a lot of sense at the same time. Simple yet complicated ideas.

If you could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Firstly Nikola Tesla because I think he had more to teach the world than his investors (J.P. Morgan) allowed. Secondly a Croatian/English translator and thirdly, someone who can type on a computer ridiculously fast (do I have a time limit?) to record all his genius. I guess my choices here are a more practical use of summoning the dead, and not everyone’s idea of fun – but it would make general life better for everyone I think!

Behind the Sole features monthly on our blog so make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram where we’ll share our blogs with you on a weekly basis.