Behind the Sole: Photographer

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behind the sole

Our Photographer is a massive Chelsea fan, likes to wear pink on a Wednesday (if you don’t know this as a Mean Girls quote, she won’t be happy) and is mildly obsessed with Pinterest, Fashion Week and the gym. We caught up with 22-year-old Abbie Stern to chat inspiration, creativity and unwinding after a stressful day.

What did you study at University?

BA (Hons) Fashion Photography at Falmouth University in Cornwall. I actually didn’t know what to study at Uni so I asked my photography teacher for his opinion and he said I’d be stupid not to take it up. He mentioned Falmouth, which at the time was University College Falmouth, and my course was brand new. I was the second cohort to ever graduate with that degree and I wouldn’t change it for the world – I miss being there so much.

How did you get this job?

I’m actually really lucky as I’d put my CV on a particular website and received an email from HR in July 2015 asking me to come for an interview but I didn’t get the job. I went about my life and then one evening in October I got a phone call, had another interview the next day and got the job offer for a Junior Digital Designer that night. I started work two days after, and seven months later here I am as Photographer!

Did you always want to pursue a career in photography?

My mum is an artist so I’m heavily influenced by her, forever going to galleries and exhibitions and actually pursuing art/painting myself. I’ve known from such a young age that I wanted to work in the fashion industry and was always designing clothes, taking pictures, watching fashion shows and had magazine subscriptions for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until I applied for Uni and gained all my work experience that I realised I could turn my hobby into my career.

What does a typical day involve?

It’s really hard to say as every day and every week is totally different. From sorting out and editing the new arrivals, creating six email newsletters a week, making banners for all three websites, coming up with new ideas and themes for social media and then taking all the images – the list is endless!

 

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What’s your favourite part about the job?

I get to set new challenges every week – it’s never boring. The emails and social media images always have new brands and new themes so coming up with ideas for those is the best.

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

Even though it’s my favourite part of the job, actually coming up with new ideas on a weekly basis is quite hard. I have to make sure that my ideas fit in with the image of the brand as well as our own image. Despite that, there’s nothing better than finishing my work for the week and everyone in the office likes the outcome.

How do you get creative for a shoot?

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram. It’s not normal how obsessed I am with looking for inspiration. It’s got to the point where I could be out over the weekend and I’ll see something and be like OMG I can do that. I’m also subscribed to Trendland which is amazing for looking at forecasted trends.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m obsessed with Fashion Week. Or Fashion Month you could call it. I’ve worked as a photographer at London Fashion Week twice, New York Fashion Week three times and I fall in love with it each season. Now that it’s not just restricted to NY, London, Paris and Milan, I’m constantly looking at Shanghai and Australian shows and wishing I was there. The buzz and excitement of looking at new collections from up and coming designers is such a great feeling.

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Describe your style in three words…

Chilled, sassy and trendy (I hate this word, but hey ho).

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

My shirt is Zara, my jeans are Topshop and my trusty adidas Superstars are from SOLETRADER (obviously).

What’s an interesting or quirky fact about you?

I’m a massive Chelsea fan. My dad dragged me to my first game at Stamford Bridge when I was six years old, and now I’m there keeping my blue flag flying high every other Saturday.

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

I’m slowly becoming obsessed with the gym. I refuse to miss my body pump class on a Tuesday and my Zumba class on a Wednesday as they’re great stress releases.

What inspires you?

Nothing specific really – it could be anything from an interesting pattern or a detail on a shoe, to a colour scheme I’ve seen on a website or a blog.

What’s your favourite piece of advice/quote?

It’s actually a lyric from Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. It’s mine and my dad’s song and it means a lot to me – “Don’t worry about a thing, cos every little thing is gonna be alright”. I also love “On Wednesdays we wear pink”.

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.

adidas: The Power Brand

Where sports brands are concerned, adidas is killing it right now. They’re completely on top of their game, continuously taking innovation and creativity to a whole new level. Their diverse and fashion-forward products not only create a powerful brand and identity, but also secure a strong and loyal customer base. Diversity and creativity are fully embraced which allows adidas to deliver on each and every occasion. To celebrate and support the iconic brand with the three stripes, we’ve selected our top picks for you right here, right now.

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We couldn’t deliver our favourite products without throwing an accessory into the mix, and this right here is ultimate summer backpack goals. The bold and colourful print creates a feminine and light feel to a sturdy and reliable rucksack, ideal for carting around those summer essentials. The perfectly practical bag with a large injection of fun floral.

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You could say this is playing it safe, but the skate style inspiration behind these trainers offers a slight urban vibe. This is one of the most popular designs by adidas, created in a breathable dark grey nylon with a torsion-infused sole to allow the feet to naturally adjust to the ground, while offering high levels of support and stability suitable for a range of sports.

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It’d be a crime to neglect a summer staple where adidas is concerned, and these Adilette slides are definitely much more hot than not this summer. The black footbed combined with the cracked metallic pattern provides a stylish, chic and fashion-forward upgrade to an iconic sport slide. Being on-trend and comfortable is merely second nature to adidas.

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The classic that never grows old. The iconic adidas Superstar which we can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s because of how crisp and sleek they look, or maybe it’s because of how irresistibly comfortable they are. Casual with ripped jeans or smartened up with culottes, they’re the ultimate go-to trainer which certainly won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

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Lightweight, slim and sleek. The adidas Gazelle is a very practical and comfortable trainer available in a whole host of colours. Whether you’re keen on lush pink or pale grey with silver flecks, the Gazelle offers a colour palette of pastels, bolds and prints to suit just about everyone. The metallic branding offers a little bit of luxury to another sports staple.

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An upgrade from the 1980s classic, the Hamburg is a truly iconic sneaker. The soft orange suede offset against navy stripes showcases a bold and vibrant footwear choice. The original rubber sole completes the classic trainer design and the combination of texture and colour proves a very innovative and creative footwear favourite.

To view our full range of adidas products, head over to our website. For the latest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

The Trainer Trend: What’s Hot

We’ve already spoken about how great trainers are, so there was undoubtedly going to be a second slice of trainer temptation delivered right before your eyes. The fashion saviour that not only looks great but feels amazing, will well and truly be staying right where it is throughout the summer season. Sandals and sliders are of course essential, but your summer shoedrobe will not be complete without at least one pair of trainers for that effortlessly chic and unbelievably comfy dose of summer style. Fashion’s trainer game is seriously on point right now so it’s time to top up your wish list and set your sights on your next pair of kicks. Are you ready for the comfiest days of summer you’ll have ever known?

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If you’re looking for lightweight, the Nike Air Max Thea is most definitely the answer. You’ll struggle to find a lighter, and in this case brighter, trainer which is equipped with premium lightweight cushioning and a sleek, low-cut profile for lasting comfort and an understated style. The chalk blue colouring creates a statement summer look which will go down a treat.

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Talking of Nike, the Air Max Turbulence is the male equivalent for style and comfort. New from Nike, the Turbulence style comes in a grey breathable material which is ideal for the warmer weather. The Nike Air Max perspex heel tube adds another dimension to the otherwise subtle trainers and will complement your summer shoedrobe perfectly.

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If pastel pink isn’t the perfect colour palette addition for summer, then we don’t know what is. The playful and feminine pastel hue in an embossed reptile pattern offers something a little different to the classic Superstar that has decades of history behind it. The colour and texture combo provides a little bit of luxury to an otherwise classic trainer.

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While pastels are prominent for the ladies, the men’s Superstar sneakers are updated in street-inspired woven styling. While you may be concerned that the black leather trainers are a little heavy, the authentic and iconic white shell toe and sole keep them looking fresh while giving them a smart casual overhaul for those summer evenings.

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Combining the retro silhouette with a contemporary edge, the Superstar Slip On trainers in crisp white feature elasticated crossover straps for optimum simplicity and ease. The trainer still possesses the same iconic shell toe cap along with minimal black branding to the tongue. For fuss-free, white and bright summer footwear, the Superstar Slip On is your solution.

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The adidas Stan Smith trainer is a modern update on the classic silhouette featuring three velcro straps and metallic gold branding on the tongue and heel. The all white colour offers a fresh summer update to your shoe collection while the minimal metallic detail shouts premium sports luxe because sometimes, less is more.

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Fancy that, the original adidas Gazelle has had a makeover just in time for summer. Think bold, think bright and think statement. The all-over print is inspired by the collision of soccer and surf styles, paired with the iconic serrated three stripes. A light and comfy trainer which bats away any thought of chunky or clumpy footwear.

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If you’re looking to splash out a little more when it comes to a summer shoedrobe revamp, Y-3 is quite literally sitting there staring at you in the face. This running silhouette is a modern execution of the new Pure Boost trainers which allow you to champion sophisticated and premium footwear fashion everyone is bound to envy.

For our full range of summer shoes, head over to our website to browse our selection of sports and designer brands as well as our own in-house range SOLE. If you’re after the latest styles as and when they drop, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Slide Into Style This Season

April showers really went wild last month, huh? The dull grey clouds and drizzly days weren’t as few and far between as we’d hoped, which subsequently failed to get us in the summer spirit. Believe it or not, a new month has come to the rescue and what a breath of fresh air it is. May mornings have provided us with nothing but blue skies, warm sunshine and a light but refreshing breeze. Of course, climate change means a shoedrobe update, but don’t sweat it –  we’ve got it covered with the best of our new-in styles to pop straight on your wish list and fill you with footwear inspo. Forget faffing about with trainer laces spiralling out of control and battling with complicated fastenings, we’re taking it back to basics. When we say you’ll be sliding into style this season, we really mean it. If you’re a footwear fanatic or are currently in the process of rejuvenating your summer shoe collection, hear us out.

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Oh so effortlessly chic, slides provide both style and comfort in equal measure. In plain black with a small feminine injection of floral, this slide creates the perfect casual silhouette. Inspired by the vibrant beauty of Rio de Janeiro’s Botanical Garden, this version of the Adilette is designed in collaboration with Brazil’s fashion label – The FARM Company – and is perfect for a big dose of summer downtime. Paired with a pretty summer dress, a lightweight playsuit or simply worn as a swimwear accessory, you can’t go wrong.

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We couldn’t possibly forget the men where slides are concerned. A simple yet stylish design requiring minimal effort is a footwear dream, right? This minimalistic monochrome colour scheme is perfect for summer, not to mention the Adilette style itself which has risen to global prominence as the most popular slide ever. With striking black branding over a simple white texture, the brand with the 3 stripes has got it right this season. Be comfortable and on-trend wearing these bad boys abroad.

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Make a statement by slipping into a comfy pair of UGG espadrilles. This particular style will allow your feet to do all the talking with a bold leopard print, making your footwear choice the centre of attention all day long. The beauty of espadrilles is how totally practical yet versatile they are, capable of being dressed down with a pair of boyfriend jeans or dressed up with culottes. If you’re after a footwear show-stopper, look no further than the brand that creates products which deliver luxurious comfort.

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Boat shoes are the epitome of warm summer days with a smart casual twist. Paul Smith has delivered a high quality navy leather style for a sophisticated and premium look. Whether you’re opting for casual attire during the day or are looking for a slightly smarter option to take things into the night, this boat shoe is the answer and can be styled for either. No fuss, just slip it on and sink into the molded insole for maximum comfort in minutes. A classic which should be a staple in any man’s summer shoe collection.

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Every summer shoedrobe needs a trusty pair of flip flops – fact. Forget about flimsy, a decent pair of flip flops is an investment your feet are desperate for you to make. Brazilian shoe brand Ipanema has partnered with creator Philippe Starck for the Ipanema with STARCK range – a collection that re-imagines footwear and focuses on stylish and smart innovation worldwide. This minimal and organic design encompasses simplicity in a soft orange hue, perfectly finished with an elegant single strap to provide a modern twist on a classic design.

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As long as we all understand that socks and sandals is the biggest fashion footwear sin in all the land, we’re good to go where flip flops are concerned. Men should 100% let their toes go on vacation a little more and embrace the flip flop. Our in-house brand SOLE has delivered these men’s thong sandals in a rich soft brown leather which is the perfect balance of smart and casual. This style ensures a comfortable ride with a cushioned foot-bed because where footwear is concerned, comfort is key.

For our full range of summer shoes, head over to our website to browse our selection of brands. 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: Buying/Merchandising Assistant

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Our Buying/Merchandising Assistant has the voice of an angel, describes himself as always on trend and believes you should never give up on your goals. We caught up with 29-year-old Michael Wright to chat success, career paths and all important life quotes. 

What did you study at University?

I studied Sport and Exercise Science at Sheffield Hallam University. I’m currently preparing to start a Mathematics and Statistics degree part-time with the Open University.

Did you always want to pursue a career in buying?

Yes – 100%. Since I first learned even the smallest detail about the buying world I was hooked. It’s a job I think everyone in retail should aspire to have.

How did you get this job?

Good question! My first role within the company was Store Manager in the Stoke branch. Through my Area Manager, David Way, I was offered the chance to visit Head Office to introduce myself and meet the team. I put forward my CV, then after a short while I was interviewed and offered the position. I was, and still am, extremely thankful to be given the opportunity.

What does a typical day involve?

Every day is different really. Generally though, analysing store/product sales data, selecting products and range planning. My role in the main involves buying for the Outlet stores, so I do a lot of price negotiation. I also help out Dave Mercer, our Head of Merchandising, in the merchandising department regularly. Oh, and I drink lots and lots of coffee.

What’s your favourite part about the job?

By far it’s got to be seeing new collections from my favourite brands. I always leave thinking ‘how am I going to afford all of these shoes?’.

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How do you get creative when deciding which products/brands to buy?

When we see collections I try and envisage the consumer who would wear the shoes. What outfit would they wear with them? Where do they hang out? How old are they? What town/city are they from? I basically over-evaluate the situation.

What’s your favourite footwear?

This is easy – for me it’s adidas. At the moment the styles they are producing are perfect for me. I like the old school silhouettes with a contemporary twist. Stan Smith Primeknit, Superstar Slip-On and the NMD Runner are probably top 3 on my wish list at the moment.

Describe your style in three words?

Always on trend.

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

ASOS, H&M, Topman and most importantly – SOLETRADER.

If you could describe yourself as a shoe, what would it be and why?

I would be an NMD Runner. On trend, but a little bit funny looking.

Tell us an interesting or quirky fact about yourself?

When I was much younger (we’re talking pre-adolescent years here), I had the voice of an angel (primary school choir teacher et al., 1990s) and performed in local theatre productions.

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

Answering interview questions is a personal favourite of mine at the moment. My favourite way to relax when I get the chance is watching a movie on the sofa wrapped up in my duvet with a cup of tea, pizza and Haagen-Dazs for afters. Call me indulgent.

Who/what inspires you?

Successful people are my inspiration. People who are successful through adversity. I believe wholeheartedly that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. You should never give up on your goals.

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

Challenging myself to be better. The past two years have been a big learning curve for me so learning in my own time has been valuable. It’s very hard to keep up with Derrick though! Read Derrick’s (Buying Controller) Behind the Sole here.

Describe your life in one sentence…

Eat, work, eat, gym, eat, study, eat some more… and sleep.

What’s your favourite piece of advice or quote?

Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.

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.