It is said that some of the best inventions come to light through the growing pains of experience.
Sherene Headly embraced her own growing pains by deciding to level the playing field for women whose shoe size did not fit the high street criteria, by creating Mokkah Shoes.
At the age of seven Sherene didn’t realise that her size 5 shoes were not the norm for a child at Junior School, in fact Sherene and her teacher found it quite amusing that they both wore the same size shoe.
From a designer’s perspective, I have been commissioned to make garments for tall ladies, and their clothing dilemmas were not just about the length of a garment, as is the usual assumption. Fashion speaks of a whole look from head to toe; this includes the important role that shoes play in completing and complementing ‘a look’. According to ibisworld.com the UK shoe industry is worth £5bn, now that’s a lot of footwear, however there is a huge disparity with women’s shoes for large feet.
I was also taken aback as to the emotional rollercoaster women with larger feet have to confront when shopping on the high street; another interesting fact is that not all tall women have large feet, oh the assumptions we make without having asked the question!
In Sherene’s case at the age of 11 she was wearing a size 8 shoe and by age 16 a size 10, puberty as we know does not take any prisoners, she throws you out into the world whether you are prepared or not. The more we spoke, the more I realised how much I and my size 6 shoes took for granted the choices and colours available. Whereas from Sherene’s viewpoint, black shoes lacking in style or femininity would continue to be her wardrobe staple of bland.
But this is where our story takes a turn: I learn that Sherene had always loved shoes, way before her growing feet became a topic of conversation, her rough drawings never quite matched the vision, however little did Sherene know that in her adult years those rough drawings would come to life.
The shoe frustration transitioning from teenager to woman continued with its sparse selection, unless shopping for trainers in the men’s shoe section; come on, I mean, yes, I know it can be seen to be hip to wear trainers with a ball gown for a fashion photo-shoot, but that’s usually out of choice!
Fashionable shoes for ladies with large feet needed to be revolutionised, whilst some taller ladies were opting for ballerina styled shoes as a choice in footwear; sexy high heels are normally reserved for the smaller shoe sizes. Sherene Headley decided to inspire other women, first she would learn their stories and through those conversations, she would come into contact with women from all walks of life, varying in height, those who did not fit the standard high street shoe size. Mokkah Shoes were about to make tall women taller and sexier by also creating shoes with high heels in addition to their ballerina pumps!
Through Crowdfunding Sherene would learn that she was supported in this venture as she hit her target figures supported by an initiative with NatWest Bank. This start-up capital would provide her with the means to launch Mokkah Shoes, employ a Footwear Technician and start the sampling process to bring the vision to life. As it stands Mokkah Shoes will be launching online in October 2020 with five styles initially; the website will be launched late August for pre-orders.
As we get ready to wrap up our conversation I just had to ask Sherene had she attended any racing events, to which she replied, ‘yes’, she had attended Ascot, wearing flat shoes, and her headdress fascinator. She found the event to be spectacular, women of varying heights, cultures and sizes, a fashion show at the races, and the perfect opportunity for Mokkah Shoes to put its best foot forward in the future!
For more information visit www.mokkahshoes.com
Coral Turner is a couture designer based in London. Specialising in unique ready-to-wear Race Day Fashion, her emphasis is focused on the way clothes make you feel. In addition a dressmaking service is also available. “My dresses are just like you… one of a kind.” See her website at https://coralturner.com