Handcrafted Leather Footwear From James Noakes
View recent Mere Collections on Australian Fashion Review Blog
Australian designer James Noakes founded his footwear label ‘Mere’ in 2009 with the aim of producing hand-crafted leather shoes for men and women that don’t break the bank. Each collection is manufactured in Vietnam, with Mere being hands on through every step of production, from dying the leathers to overseeing the last stitch, ensuring quality and individualism in the shoes they produce.
The Mere motto is simple:
Mere shoes can’t help you fly, or live underwater.
Our shoes can’t bring world peace, or stop famine.
They can’t take you back in time & they won’t help you find love, or a cheeky one night stand.
Our shoes simply are what they are…
Recently, we were lucky enough to interview the brains behind the operation, to find out all there is to know about Mere footwear.
1.) Who the name behind the Mere footwear label and what is your background? What does the Mere specialise in?
My name is James Noakes and I am designer and director of Mere. Mere is a high quality, hand made footwear label offering casual, fashionable leather shoes for men and women. My background is primarily in graphic design, and I have been designing and producing footwear for over 5 years.
2.)How did it all start for Mere? When and where was the Mere founded?
I began working for a Sydney based shoe manufacturing company in 2006. I started as warehouse manager, moving to designing footwear within the year – it was a really great experience to observe and learn all processes that go into making a shoe from concept to sourcing and eventually production. In 2008, I began drawing and working on my own styles in my spare time. By the end of 2009 after a lot of research, planning and drawings I felt a real need to take the plunge and leave my job to put all my focus and energy into Mere.
3.) What are the future plans for the Mere?
Without giving too much away, over the next few years we will be expanding Mere across a number of categories and really testing the waters with some new products and ideas. This coming summer will see the launch of our exciting men’s clothing line plus some new and different techniques and finishes we have applied to our footwear.
4.) Name some inspirations and fellow designers you draw inspiration from.
I try not to put too much focus on other brands or designers as Mere takes up all of my attention. If pushed I would have to say there are 2 designers that do spring to mind. I am a big fan of Supra footwear and their designer Angel Cabada. Their silhouettes and concepts are great, and it is a real stand-out footwear brand in my eyes. Another brand/designer I am a big fan of is I Love Ugly, by designer Valentin Ozich. I was lucky enough to meet him a few years ago when he was running his label out of his boutique, Broken Puppet. Since then I’ve watched their range of clothing and accessories expand and evolve. He puts such a unique signature look and touch to his product. I love it.
5.) Name the ideal celebrity that reflects your the Mere style.
Without sitting on the fence too much, I don’t think I could name a celebrity that reflects the label’s style overall. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to see someone like Ryan Gosling kicking around in a pair, but there is no one particular person that sums up the style of Mere. For me it’s the eclectic mixture of people that buy our footwear, and the unique flair they combine with the shoes that helps define our style.
6.) Where is the Mere stocked?
We are stocked in independent boutiques throughout the east coast of Australia including Nique (5 stores in Melbourne, The Annex in Bondi Beach, Mint Shop in Manly and The End Collective in Byron Bay, just to name a few.
Visit the official Mere website, here.