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Top 7 Best of British Brands at AllSole

Is there any better time to celebrate the best Britain has to offer than London Fashion Week? Contributing over £32 billion to the British economy each year, our creatives industries are our strongest asset, full of rich history and innovation. Combining all the best of classic British character, values and strength, we’re running down our top British brands on AllSole to get a little patriotic in time for LFW. 

Grensons

Photo courtesy of Grensons

Barbour

Celebrating their 125th birthday, Barbour is a pillar of British fashion. From its humble beginnings in a market in South Shields in 1894, the international powerhouse still has its HQ in the North East, proving it isn’t so grim up north with their classic, clean designs. With its roots in country wear, Barbour still harnesses all the wit, grit and glamour of British country life, creating beautifully practical pieces that look good in the city and work well in the field.

While you could pair their classic boots with waterproofs and garden tools, we prefer them with well-crafted jeans and a matching Barbour jacket. Epitomising no-fuss British chic, Barbour will take you seamlessly from a country walk to a gastro-pub. 

Clarks

A household name and a British institution, its likely your first ever pair of shoes were Clarks. The brand is a high street staple, fitting shoes for the whole family from first steps to heels and formal footwear. Founded by brothers James and Cyrus Clark in Somerset in 1825, the brand has been a go-to ever since. Creating their first shoes from off-cuts from their rug-making business, Clarks are motivated by making clever designs, never compromising on comfort when crafting stylish pieces.

The Clarks range includes so many iconic styles, from the classic brogue to cult favourite Clarks Original styles including the Wallabee which is an unlikely favourite in the hip-hop scene and has been seen on icons of all industries including Kayne West, Oasis and LeBron James. Not just for school shoes, Clarks is beloved and trusted to create beautifully crafted, incredibly comfortable shoes for any and all occasion. 

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Dr Martens

Producing over 10 million pairs per year, you’re never too far away from a pair of Dr.Martens. Always in style and always reliable, Dr.Martens are a cornerstone of British fashion. After suffering a broken leg during WW2, doctor Klaus Marten stole some leather from a cobbler and created himself the first-ever air-cushion sole to help aid his recovery. Combining his sole with the classic sturdy, long-lasting boots being produced by the Griggs family in Northamptonshire, and the original 8-holed 1460 boot was born and remains a bestseller today.

From their origins as a £2 reliable workwear boot to their unlikely adoption into the British Ska and Punk subcultures, Dr.Martens represent the best of the British working class; strong, rebellious and unique. Rumour has it, even Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama owned a pair, so the punk boot has religious endorsement.

Grensons

Another brand with a rich heritage is Grensons. Over 150 years old, the business began in a loft in Northhamptonshire, with William Green making shoes by hand. Without enough money for a factory yet, Green would walk around town visiting his workers at their homes and handing out jobs on a daily basis by visiting each person individually. 8 years later, the first factory was open and the company has been producing steadily since. Creating sturdy functional boots, Grenson created shoes for British soldiers and their allies in both WW1 and 2, before moving into softer, more trend-led styles in the period of post-war cultural revival.

Still thriving today, Grenson is best known for their sturdy hiking-inspired boots, sticking true to their origins in practicality. The brand has seen a huge revival lately, with celeb endorsement from Jodie Comer, Keanu Reeves and Holly Willoughby whose styling of the Nanette boot on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here caused it to sell out. Whether you wear them with hiking gear or a soft mini-dress, Grensons are an iconic go-to. 

Kurt Geiger 

Even though Kurt Geiger himself is Austrian, the company lay their roots in London after the founder fell in love with the style and practicality of British life. Opening their first store on Bond Street in 1963 the brand has been based in the city ever since in their bold red HQ in Clerkenwell. Creating the best in premium footwear, Kurt Geiger is motivated by making its wearers feel beautiful, show in their perfect stilettos and sleek ankle boots, making the British public walk a little prouder.

Representing the British love for all things classic and simple, Kurt Geiger does the basics very well, opting for timelessness over trends.

Paul Smith

Dressing some of the most iconic figures in British history including David Bowie and Led Zeppelin, Paul Smith couldn’t be left out of this list. From his Midlands upbringing to his training on Savile Row, Paul Smith’s career is deeply rooted in British culture as his designs are infused with technique full of heritage and details full of playful wit and humour. Despite being a global fashion superpower, Paul Smith is firmly based in London, always returning to his simple life with his wife and grandchildren.

Just as Paul Smith is an iconic part of British culture, he gives back to it too, partnering with Penguin Classics to redesign the covers of great British novels and even designing school ties for his old primary school. With his heart always in his home country, Paul Smith’s classic shapes and pristine craftsmanship is always touched by a bit of British charm. 

Ted Baker

With humble beginnings, Ted Baker began as a little shop in Glasgow specialising in shirting and tailoring. Though they’re now a huge international brand, you can definitely see elements of their origins sticking around in their designs. From the clean shape of their loafers and brogues to their signature florals incorporating many of the blooms found on the Scottish highlands, Ted Baker stays humble.

Updating timeless shapes with delicate feminine detailing, Ted Baker proves our penchant for florals and commitment to tradition.

SHOP THE BEST OF BRITISH BRANDS ON ALLSOLE>>>

Words by Lucy Harbron


Photo courtesy of Grensons

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Lucy Harbron

Lucy Harbron

Writer and expert

Inspired by the most iconic women in history, my style is informed by the Monroes, Sedgwicks and Birkins. Forever torn between maximalism and minimalism, you'll find me stomping around in heeled boots and trying to refrain from buying another pair of earrings.


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