When we started talking about our first campaign, we knew that we wanted to showcase the versatility of our shoes as well as their style. To do this we needed someone in them who personified this union of beauty and practicality. This someone was Sophie Rowell. She was first introduced to us through our creative network and has been a friend to the brand since conception. Based in Folkestone, she is the incredibly talented owner of interior design consultancy, CÔTE de FOLK. With over 20 years in the fashion industry under her belt, a business which sees her travelling frequently, spending long hours sourcing items for her clients at trade shows and antique fairs, she knows the importance of footwear that stands up to a career on her feet. Not to mention her home life, where she is mother to eight year old Kyd and owner of Bruce, the dog.
Our shoes fit seamlessly into a stylish wardrobe and into a busy lifestyle, so instead of ferrying Sophie off to a photo studio or location, we wanted our campaign to fit seamlessly into her every day life. She very kindly opened her home to us for a day - and what a home! She excitedly told us how she had bought her beautiful house overlooking the sea in a bit of a ramshackle state and in only 16 weeks completely transformed it. As was to be expected, it is filled with beautiful pieces, uniquely brought together under Sophie’s experienced eye. Despite the rustically stylish decor, it has a warm, lived - in feel and it didn’t take us long to settle in with Sophie and our beautiful surroundings
With coffees and cameras in hand, we followed Sophie through her day, capturing her in key real-life moments looking beautiful in her favourite 52° shoes. Once the shoot ended, we sat down with her to talk shoes, inspiration and interior design.
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background – how have you got to where you are today?
After twenty plus years in the fashion industry as a stylist and art director i had a bit of a light bulb moment when I was ill in hospital - I needed to make a change in my life and be around more for my son. As it turns out, with lots of those big life decisions it was the best decision I ever made. I’ve not looked back and have been super busy with all different types of projects ever since.
What has been the project you're most proud of?
My own home actually. When i bought it it was a wreck with no roof. Every floor, wall and ceiling needed replacing. New wiring, new plumbing system, everything needing changing. With three guys we completed the whole house in sixteen weeks. Three years on (other than the bathroom wall lights) there’s nothing I would change, which is quite a statement for me as I change my mind a lot.
Your style is beautiful. Can you talk to us a bit about what inspires you?
Thank you, I’ve always loved getting dressed up, I don’t believe in keeping things for ‘best’ if you want to wear a dress and your favourite shoes for the school run do it. I love the fact that your wardrobe can change how you feel day to day. It’s like your armour for the day.
Who in your life has had the biggest influence on you?
My mum. After four kids she re trained in her forties’s and started a whole new career whilst running a home and looking after her kids. My work ethic and knowledge that anything is possible definitely comes from her. I also love the work of Interior Designer Athena Calderone, check her out on insta @eyeswoon
What does an average day look like for you?
Up and out off the house for school at 8.20am, we are very lucky we live opposite the school! Walk Bruce, my oversized American Boxer, on the beach. Catch up emails and Instagram - it's been an incredible tool for me to gain new clients. My day then depends on what project I’m working on and what stage it’s at. It could be a site visit, most days I work from home creating mood boards for a new clients, trawling the internet for lighting or furniture for clients. Or I could be driving to antique trade fairs all over the country and France. Most days I’m back for 3pm for school pick up then I finish my working day on the computer. The rest of the day is then filled with mum duties…. walking the dog again, dinner, taking Kyd to football training etc etc...
Comfort vs. style. How do you get the balance right when it comes to your shoes?
As you can see from the above I am on my feet a lot - especially at these antique fairs, you walk miles in a day. It’s important to me to look good but comfort has to come first. I can’t find my clients the best pieces of furniture and accessories if I’m worrying about my feet hurting!
We think you look fantastic in 52°! To finish up , what is your favourite pair of 52° shoes?
Ahhh thank you, Initially it was the Snakeskin Court but actually the pair I haven’t taken off is the Ballerina in Navy. They are perfect for around the house and popping out and about without thinking twice.
You can see more of Sophie’s work here: https://www.cotedefolk.com/ and don’t forget to check out her instagram: @cotedefolk.