Backstage at our SS13 campaign shoot
Alex Beer was our model for the shoot - we think he wears our new collection very well!
On such a nice day we made sure we enjoyed the sunshine too!
Our SS13 collection is already coming in so keep an eye out for emails and offers.
St. Crispin's Day - The Patron Saint of Cobblers
There are two accounts of what happened to Saint Crispin and his brother Saint Crispianus, but this is the one we like the most!
They were the sons of a noble Romano-Briton family whose father was killed on the orders of the Roman emperor living in Canterbury, Kent at the time. To make sure Crispin and Crispianus didnt meet the same fate as their father their mother sent them to London to seek an apprenticeship.
But the brothers never made it to London. Just like Oliver Sweeney, Crispin and Crispianus came across a shoemaker's workshop in Faversham, Kent on their travels where they decided to stay.
They are now the patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers and even have a pub named after them - "Crispin and Crispianus" in Strood, Kent!
Spring Summer 13 Press Preview
For our Spring Summer 13 collection we've taken all that we love about summer; the lighter shades, fresher tones and simple patterns to create a plethora of colourful casuals and formals in suede and leather.
With interesting additions to the core collection: monk shoes, tasselled trainers and a new swimwear range we had lots to showcase to the Press on 18th October at our Conduit Street store in London.
We've used the Fin Project XL sole on a large part of the collection to create a lightweight yet durable range.
Choose between single and double strap monk shoes - a first for Oliver Sweeney.
We've also given a colour injection to our cup sole trainers...
...and we also introduced the 'Gentleman's Collection' to the press. The collection features Oxfords, Derbys and Monk Shoes in black and brown colourways.
London Shoeshine was polishing people's shoes during the event and we handed out souvenir Oliver Sweeney branded rock sticks too - a nice little reminder of a great Press Day!
Oliver Sweeney Meets: World Cup winning England Rugby Player Will Greenwood
How do you walk your own path?
Neurotically with a great deal of stress! I recently watched Michael Vaughans programme on what professional sportsmen do after they retire. I think anyone whos been a professional sportsman sees that fear of retiring at 34. Everyone thinks wow youre so lucky to retire at 34. Yes youve had a great time, youve played in front of 90,000 people and had your name chanted by people, but suddenly its like okay I need to get a job.
What have you been doing since you retired from rugby?
My works been very media based. I work for Sky and The Daily Telegraph and then I do 10 to 12 days for companies like Aviva, JP Morgan, Betfair and Canterbury. Ive written a couple of books too. So the real answer to how do I walk my own path is with great enjoyment when I go home and lock the door and Ive got the wife and three kids and I can just enjoy the day.
Whose shoes would you like to be in?
It was always Take That. Then I became a bit of a Westlife fan. Id like to be the lead on Flying Without Wings! JLS have now taken over. Basically I would have liked to have been in a boy band and done a concert at Wembley in front of 80,000 people.
Are you a bit of a singer then?
No Im totally tone deaf! Thats why I go to Tiger Tiger, rent a karaoke booth and sing like a muppet. To me it sounds great though!
Weve seen your collection of Oliver Sweeney shoes which is your favourite?
I slightly ruined my favourite pair and now you dont make them anymore. They had a black toe with a white bit in the middle and a black back. I usually use your polish but I cleaned them badly - there was some old black polish left on the brush. I still have them though and wear them for weddings. Clearly the England shoes from 2003 with the rose on the back are pride of place. I reckon Ive had those reheeled four times and properly reheeled by Oliver Sweeney so that shows how much Ive worn them.
Why do you have the relationship with OS in the first place?
We were introduced to Oliver Sweeney by Clive Woodward when he took over England. It was all about changing our mindset and feeling special. In the old days we used to stay in Travelodges and the kit was rubbish; you just werent treated as though you were an international athlete. Clive changed that. We started staying at Pennyhill Park, we were introduced to Hackett and then Oliver Sweeney came in with the shoes. I probably got my first pair of shoes in 1997 or 1998 when Woody first took over. Ever since then I genuinely think that other than a trainer Ive never worn a different shoe and if I see anyone with a tatty pair of shoes I tell them to go to Oliver Sweeney immediately!
Why do you like them so much?
They feel great, theyre very cool. Sometimes Im a size 11, sometimes a 12, sometimes a 13, but once I find the right size it fits like a glove. Theyre so well made and as you can see from my collection I still have shoes from 1997.
Youve talked about the different things youve been doing since you retired which do you prefer?
Theyre very different challenges. The Telegraph is a blank sheet of paper every Monday for 40 weeks of the year plus extra articles. Its 60,000 words a year and youve got to be different and interesting and youve got to have people coming back when it comes to the end of the season I like people writing in asking wheres Greenwood? So its that mental challenge to maintain the support levels from your readers. The adrenalin challenge is live TV stuff so that would be Sky. At the end of the Heineken Cup final I was out on the pitch interviewing Man of The Match Brian ODriscoll. The speakers were going out to 90,000 people in the stadium and it was also going out to all the countries taking part. If you start to think about whats going on you start panicking a little bit, but that also makes you feel very alive.
Does that give you the same sort of kick you used to feel on the pitch?
It does - all sports people try and find something that gives them that buzz without playing and live TV certainly does that. Sky are great to me they give me big and tough challenges and its sink or swim. We dont do media training - we just get on with it.
And what about School of Hard Knocks?
Hard Knocks is great. We do that for three months of each year where we go to inner city areas. Weve done North Wales, Liverpool and more recently London. We spent three months with unemployed guys whod never played rugby before. We turned them into a rugby team, got their CVs sorted and then got them job interviews. We try to give them a leg up in life, give them a second chance.
Talking of young guys playing do you think theres a danger of going pro too young?
Thats a great question. Rugby wise I think so. The problem is theres always the exception to the rule. Johnny Wilkinson came through at 19. There are guys that started playing at 18 so a lot of 16 and 17 year olds see that and go after it. They believe they can be the next one. In reality there are 400,000 kids that play rugby and theres one Wilkinson. These young guys get invited into Academies and think they are going to be the next Tuilaghi but then they get cut at 21 or 22 and theyve missed the best three years of their life. My genuine recommendation to most kids coming through is stay at your local club enjoy yourself. If youre that good theyll pick you up and put you straight in the first team which is very different from being in an Academy. Go to college, go to uni, live a little bit - rugby will still be there.
Youve just released On Rugby how did that come about?
A book yes! Lawrence Dallaglio has a publisher called Simon and Shoester so he introduced me to them and we decided it would be good to write two books. The first one is an amalgamation of all the work Ive been doing for The Telegraph for the last eight years. Ive probably done over half a million words for them in that length of time so a book was meant to pick out the best bits and adopt a storyline to put the different chapters together.
And finally whats the story behind your nicknames Shaggy and Twigman?
Twigman was between 12 and 15. Then I matured and became Stick Man as I put on a bit of weight. I would have like to have become The Log but as you can see I am still The Stick! Shaggy was from virtually the first day at Durham University so anyone who knows me from Durham its still Shaggy I had floppy curtains and couldnt grow a beard. Im a complete coward too so Shaggy was the perfect fit. Then I have sort of become Rodney Trotter as times gone on. The Welsh nicknamed me Nicholas Lyndhurst in 2003 so I get a lot of Rodneys when Im in Cardiff!
Oliver Sweeney Meets: Jeweller Joy Everley
We've just launched our beautiful Sterling Silver accessories range that we created with jeweller Joy Everley's help so we took a trip down to Newburgh Street just off Carnaby Street to meet her properly.
How did you first get into making jewellery?
People always ask that! Its been my life for over 30 years so I can really hardly say. Ive just always done it. From a tiny child threading beads up to now making diamonds and precious pieces.
Youve been on Newburgh Street for 14 years - how has the road changed?
Its stayed the same in that its cool and interesting and attracts individuals looking for something different to buy, what has changed is that there are more corporate brands. There used to be more independents but the corporates have jumped on the bandwagon.
How do you differentiate yourself from those bigger corporate brands and make Joy Everley special?
No one else sells our jewellery so far. There arent many jewellers who design and make only their own brand and we dont advertise on the side of buses!
Where do you take your inspiration for your collections from?
I find my ideas come from the customers. Even though I dont like to work in the shop as much as I used to I would hate to not do it all because youre working with the customers. We sell things individually pendants, chains and bracelets our customers will put together their own combinations and they will come up with things you would never have thought of so from that you get an idea of trends.
Oliver Sweeneys latest collaboration with you features little sterling silver cufflinks how did that come about?
Sarah Cooper (Oliver Sweeneys Tattooist-in-Chief!) and I have known each other for a long time. Shes a fan of Joy Everley and she had an idea that shed like to have something in the accessories range to complement her tattooed leather pieces. So we got chatting in the pub and I immediately knew what she was talking about. I came up with some ideas and then it just grew from there. We realised the things you sell in Oliver Sweeney lend themselves to having precious accessories that also relate to what youre already selling.
Were you familiar with our Anatomical Last and brogues?
Yes! I love brogues!
How did you recreate our intricate details on the miniature cufflinks?
Thanks to Emily Jacobs Oliver Sweeneys Accessories buyer. She is very meticulous. It really was such a pleasure to work with another designer because we were just hitting off each other the whole time. I knew the practical limitations and could also think of ideas knowing what we could do and how small and detailed we could go. Emily knew what she wanted and by pointing out the details that are unique to your Oliver Sweeney shoes we were able to reproduce that but in tiny form!
Where was the collection made?
The silver collection is all made in Thailand. Its a factory weve worked with for 20 years. Luckily I go out every year to visit them with my new collection. Weve become friends. Its a big operation. They mostly work for French designers and fashion designers because they also make costume jewellery.
In terms of the Joy Everley brand are you planning any more collaborations?
I would love to. It stretches me and gives me the chance to go in a different direction. My collaboration with Oliver Sweeney has been really fun.
OS Meets: Brighton band Paper Playground
How long have you been playing?
John: About a year now, but we spent a year before that structuring our music and our sound working on what we wanted to sound like.
Is this the first band youve all been in?
John: Weve all been in bands before and some of us have played in bands together as well.
Eddie: Adam and John are brothers and I went to school with Lloyd so we played in bands together there.
Lloyd: Between the four of us weve all played in bands since we were 14 years old together but not the four of us together.
How did you come up with the name Paper Playground?
Adam: Thats what took the year!
John: It was torture! Its a reference to the innocence of being a child. It was all about being young and spending your time making things.
Do you write your songs all together or is it just one of you?
Adam: Its a bit of a mixture really. We do a lot of stuff on the computer at the moment. One of us will come up with an idea and well email it around. We all live together so we go running upstairs and downstairs listening to things weve all played and the songs evolve from there.
John: If we like where its come from we push it further. Its done in a different way to just sitting down and playing together - its more individual.
Where do you get inspiration for the lyrics?
John: I write the lyrics. Every time I come up with something new I always promise myself it wont be personal but you cant really help it. The music always comes first and then I like to take it away and see how it inspires me. So yes its about personal aspects of my life really.
How would you describe your style of music?
Lloyd: Dream pop has been thrown about.
Eddie: I joined the group a bit later and before joining I put these guys on once and I described them as being part of the chill wave Brighton scene.
John: I think you have to put electronica in there too because its an electronic sound and we have songs of various speeds.
Where do you play most?
John: Its mainly Brighton at the moment as were still fine-tuning our sound, but we are starting to play a bit more in London too.
Lloyd: Were only just really finding our feet but now I think we are ready to venture out there.
Whats your opinion on Britains Got Talent and Pop Idol?
Eddie: I think shows like XFactor have ruined a few things but theyve also encouraged bands to rebel against talent shows. Bands think well just do our own thing so theres a lot of DIY music at the moment because the major record labels will only sign up the X factor rejects. So I think the shows have killed a lot of music but kids arent going to be into Paper Playground so the kids can love Olly Murs and people who like real music can love our band!
Whats the next step for the band?
John: Its just to play at the moment. Since weve actually got together in the proper line up weve done about four gigs. Weve been so busy writing songs and fine-tuning the sound that now we can go out and actually enjoy playing to people.
Whats the bands style?
Adam: I just wait til John has bought something and then copy him! Its much easier!
Eddie: Thats real little brother love isnt it! When we play live we all wear the same colour.
Lloyd: Thats only really happened since Eddie joined the band! Weve never actually said lets wear one particular colour!
Eddie: So was that just a coincidence then! So every time Id seen you before youd just happened to be wearing the same. Oh so maybe I have uniformed the band! Thats what Ive brought to the band no bass playing skills, just fashion!
John: We wear what we feel comfortable in.
Adam: We dont go on stage and put a different outfit on. We wear what wed normally wear.
How do you walk your own path?
John: We try not to follow any trends by just being ourselves.
Eddie: We make our own path.
Lloyd: We almost didnt want to worry about what people wanted to hear. We just thought lets do whats fun for us and play and thats sort of come across now. There are a lot more people dancing at our shows now!
What makes your toes curl?
Eddie: I really dont like peanut butter.
Lloyd: I dont like it when youre eating a yoghurt and someone says can I have a bit of your yoghurt.
John: Weve been given the opportunity to talk about our band and youre talking about peanut butter and yoghurt!
Eddie: I think we make eachothers toes curl!
Which are your favourite OS shoes?
Eddie: I really like Wren: its a classic brogue but in boot form. Theyre never going to go out of fashion. They look like a classic Dr Marten and theyre made in Italy so theyre good quality.
John: We all appreciate good quality craftsmanship. Thats a sign of a good shoe. You can tell that its a brand thats made very well. In the same way that we are musicians and we craft songs Oliver Sweeney craft their shoes beautifully.
Italian Inspiration for SS13
Built to Last
The last is a critical part of the development process. Its the design, shape and length of the shoe. More importantly its the anatomical information of the human foot. We use both the best selling lasts from past seasons and add new in order to fit in with current fashion trends. This seasons additions include a new casual last and a pointy toe!
Choosing the leathers
We work with some of the best tanneries in Italy and each season we choose new leathers to include in the collection. We use vegetable tanned leather for almost all of our leathers; these are not chemically tanned with chromium. This produces soft and natural leather and is much more eco-friendly. The most common vegetable tanage is Mimosa Bark. We also use Oak and other beautiful tannages.
Putting our sole into it
Our soles fall into two types. We use leather for formal shoes and rubber for casual shoes. The leather soles we use are made of Argentinean sole bond - the best available on the market. Our soles are made locally in the Marche region.
Our shoe designs start their life as two dimensional but in order to make patterns these need to be made into three dimensional. The first stage is to tape the last. This allows us to make a standard and from this all the patterns are cut. Having designed the shoes and cut the pattern, chosen the leathers and the soles we are now ready to make the prototype samples.
After having cut the patterns we have a natural break. I like to use this period of time to meet other suppliers and visit somewhere inspirational in the region. Already in possession of a hired Fiat Panda a mini road trip was a natural choice. I had to meet Giovanni, our wonderful belt supplier, who is based in Florence so we agreed to meet in Assisi.
Assisi is steeped in both religion and beauty .We arranged to meet at the entrance of the Basilica di San Francisco. Giovanni was the perfect guide and his knowledge coupled with the beauty of the Giotto frescos made for a perfect catch up. That and the food and wine!
Then it was back to the factory to finalise the prototype.
For first prototypes we make a quick pull over, a lasted upper without a sole. This allows us to check proportion and initial fit before we attach the sole. We use masking tape to draw on the pull over and then use this to adjust the pattern. We look at all of the materials we have collected from the tanneries and choose which colours and leather types we believe will best suit the style.
With the first phase finished we leave our colleagues at the factory in peace to make our beautiful samples. A very successful trip in terms of inspiration and SS13 development...
Our latest billboard campaign at Euston Underpass
Tattoo Your Shoe at De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam
Sweeney for Winners: Gold Medallist & Cyclist Ed Clancy
Double Gold Medallist and Cyclist Ed Clancy
British Cycling has become associated with the words inspiration and participation; do you think youre going to play a part in getting people to participate in cycling from now on?
Perhaps when I retire. I think were already inspiring kids to get on their bikes and thats a good start. Ill do a few participation programmes involving kids and the talent team at British Cycling, but at the moment Im just enjoying riding my own bike too much. I want to keep doing that for another four years, but as soon as I finish cycling I want to something back into the sport. Its given me so much. Its transformed how I feel about life so Id love to put a bit back into cycling when Ive finished.
You mentioned the next four years so is Rio in 2016 definitely in your sights?
Going into London I wasnt so sure how Id feel afterwards. I figured that if things hadnt gone so well Id still have my medal from Beijing. Now Ive got my second gold it makes sense to go for a couple more.
Cycling and the velodrome became a focal point during the Olympics. Can you describe what the atmosphere was like inside?
In terms of the achievement essentially it was the same as what we did in Beijing but it just felt like so much more doing it in front of 7,000 people. It isnt a huge number but the atmosphere in there was so tight. The roof was so low on the velodrome it was just like walking out of a nightclub your ears ringing! It was a really special atmosphere and its fair to say well never have anything like that again.
And compared to your win in Beijing four years ago better or the same?
I think it was better. Obviously it was my first gold in Beijing, but being able to share this gold with my friends and family and the people of Great Britain was better. Its the place Ive grown up and Im quite patriotic. Its important to us that weve had a home Olympics to do our thing in front of the home crowd.
Dave Brailsford talked about the preparation the cycling team had even special pillows for each athlete do you think that attention to detail made sure the team was absolutely ready for the Olympics?
Absolutely. For British Cycling the Olympics is the only thing that really matters. The performances you saw at London 2012 were the result of how we go about our training and preparation. There was no stone left unturned whether in equipment, the way we were sleeping and what we were eating and drinking. We put all our eggs in the Olympic basket and it came good again.
It was an amazing time to be involved in cycling with the Tour de France setting the scene for the Olympics it was going to be a summer to remember for British Cycling wasnt it?
Bradley definitely kicked off the feel good factor amongst British Cycling and while he doesnt ride Team Pursuit with us anymore I remember him fondly from Beijing. He was quite an inspiration for me and Geraint Thomas at the time as the younger lads of the team. It was great to see him go off and win the Tour. It seemed a bit like an impossible challenge so I think that inspired the whole of British Cycling and the way we think.
So now youve finished are you still training or having a rest?
I ploughed straight into training after Beijing and looking back six or seven months post Beijing I regret not taking my foot off the gas, so I think Ive not got a lot to lose by having a bit of time off now. I think Ive got time to swagger about in gold shoes before I get down to the serious training for Rio!
How do you walk your own path?
I cycle for a start! I think its important to choose your own route and not follow others like sheep. Im quite well known for not towing the line and having my own ideas in training. Just as long as youre happy doing what youre doing then thats all that matters.
What makes your toes curl?
Cabbage, broccoli, sprouts - anything green. Im not big on salads and vegetables.
Whose shoes would you like to be in for the day?
Your shoes obviously! Im pretty happy just being me to be honest. You cant change who you are so just try and be happy being yourself.
TWITTER FEED.@oliverproudlock the Nox Pardus leopard print is available in women's sizes @AnnieKobyluch!
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