The 1960s brought flipflops, fashion footwear became freely available and of course the 1460, the classic Dr Martens. A decade of innovation brought fantasy platforms in the 70s. And then, the 80s – the decade the trainer or should we say ‘sneaker’ came into its own with brands like Gola and Reebok. Today, New Balance and Crown Northampton create and make great products with athleisure for all genders, cultures and ages in an ever-growing market throughout the world.
Vivien Westwood introduced the Ghillie shoe in the 90s, Patrick Cox the loafer and Stella McCartney introduced non-animal-based materials. It was, again, a time of a great change throughout our industry. This was the decade when the BFMF changed its name to the BFA as the second / third round of off shoring changed the nature of the British footwear industry, it was thought … forever. BFA members embraced brands, retailers, wholesalers and wider suppliers. As BFA entered the 90s the key themes recorded around our centenary were; training and education, significant concerns around the ‘relentless rise’ of very cheap imports, the stimulation of exports in a very challenging international market, and an often expressed, desire for more resource to better promote the industry. Again, it seems, pan industry issues repeat themselves albeit with a contextual evolution.