The Blog from Oi Polloi presents: by Mark Smith •

While living in Spain, Welshman Neil Morris was inspired by his surroundings to set up Vera Shoes. Tapping into his experience in clothing retail and his own label, he has created some very dapper looking footwear for the summer, with more to come later.

Before launching into our familiar ‘Talking Threads’ blurb we asked him to tell us how he arrived at where he is today, and how Vera Shoes were born.

“I ran Drooghi Clothing in Cardiff for 10 years, we used to stock some nice labels, 6876, YMC, Duffer, Tricker’s, Red Wing, Mandarina, Patagonia etc back in the day. At the same time, I also did a label called Rather Not Say. We sold it to a few nice shops.”

“Setting up Vera shoes was about being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people and believing in myself. I obviously made a few contacts from my time in the industry and stayed close to a few. I produced some samples whilst living in Spain, showed a couple of friends who are agents and distributors and it kind of went from there. I got introduced to a Japanese distributor who came out to Spain to see the whole set-up, he liked it so he’s on board. I also now have Patta Distribution who take care of Holland and Belgium. It’s just ticking along at the minute. I’m hoping to get something sorted with regards to the US so we’ll have to see how that pans out.”

Where are you at the moment and what are you doing?

I’m at home in Wales, I’ve just cooked peas and rice for my kids, I’ve got a wet dog running around the house, it’s mayhem the same time every night, the kids don’t actually listen and I’m trying to do paperwork and sort out invoices or my bank manager will be ringing me over the next few days. Who said fashion was fun!

What was the last piece of music you listened to?

My missus had the Carpenters on earlier if that counts? Saying that she had Bread on before that. I’m not sure if that’s cool, sad or just the result of a sheltered youth.

What was the last item of clothing you picked up?

A Classic Uniqlo Button Down Oxford Shirt.

What are you wearing right now?

I wish I could say Bedwin chinos, Visvim Kiefer Elk plimsoles and an Engineered Garments Work Shirt but I’m afraid I’m at home, it’s a damp Tuesday night in Wales so it’s an old Duffer t-shirt, Paris St Germain shorts and a pair of Corgi socks….Not the greatest of looks but damn I’m comfortable.

What was the last moment of inspiration you experienced?

I get inspiration everytime I fly into Spain and still get a buzz from the place. I go there quite a bit visiting the factories etc. I lived there up until a few months ago.  I love the whole Mediterranean lifestyle, olives, jamon, bottle of Mahou, blue skies….

If you could be another person from history, who would that be and why?

Arturo Bandini, author of the Little Dog Laughed.

What keeps you awake at night?

Nothing really. Back in the 80s it was bad clubs, 90s it was Drooghi, the 00s it was kids but now I sleep okay actually.

How do you relax?

5 a side football twice a week, I think I’m like Roy Keane but I’m probably more like Roy Cropper.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Hopefully some more nice styles, classic shapes with a twist. Nice footwear that is also a nice price.

Click here to see more from Vera Shoes.

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