The higher the shoe, the more in demand it is


The world has gone mad for platforms again. And now, these are not the pageant types, which are garish and flesh-toned.

The platforms I am talking about are triple stacked, with a large, block heel that immediately makes you one of the tallest people in the room.

The charge was initially led by Italian brand Versace, and it was quickly embraced by the stylish and the famous. This then led to Valentino, Lanvin and Rick Owens releasing their own versions.

And now, even local South African retailers, like Edgars and Mr Price, have come out with their own take on the trend.

The platform shoe renaissance did not start with sky-high heels. It was the chunky loafers trend of 2019 that signalled that there was something in the air. It was a callback to the 90s nostalgia trend, which saw Doc Martins and similar chunky boots, come into the conversation again.

Retailers saw stock move pretty quickly, on both the men’s and womenswear side, signalling that the time for the chunky platform is night.

Even when the pandemic had an impact on event-wear shopping, with people choosing comfort over glamour, the promise of vaccinations and a return to normalcy saw fashionistas quickly start the revenge wear trend, which led to brands responding by designing these platforms, the antithesis to the leisurewear of 2022 and 2021.

Speaking to Hailey Roberts, head footwear buyer at Edgars, she said it’s a trend that will keep giving, especially since the chunky shoe trend lends itself to gender-neutrality, especially when it comes to these chunky platform loafers.

“It’s the new chunky look that is in demand, similar to how Dr Martens were the rage in the 90s. The consumers are responding well to the footwear. And seeing it in formal footwear is a sign that it’s popular. That’s where things are going,” she said.

“We are finding there’s a huge move in heels. Consumers have reacted very well to the Sissy Boy platforms we have stocked, and it’s selling very well. And it’s sold out. We are looking into bringing in the Valentino pink shade and the green as well because they are in-demand with our consumers.”

Looking at the trends in the Northern Hemisphere, the platform is appearing in various iterations, from sky scraper wedges, to bulky heels and boots. And those who are fans of the shoes say the comfort is better than single soled heels because the platform supports the ball of the foot and alleviates the pressure from the heel.

Not bad for a shoe style that is inspired by Persian warriors in battle. Fashion historians note that the knights used the heel to fix their position in the stirrups in order to pull the arrows more effectively and fire at their enemies. Whoever said fashion was not functional clearly needs to study history.

This article first appeared in Sunday Insider, June 19, 2022


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