Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Interview with Alexandra Finlay

Hello Alexandra, I am very excited to have you drop into my wasp factory for a chat, so would you like to introduce yourself and fin’s to my readers?
Oh Hullo Portis Wasp! Thank you for having me! My name is Alexandra Finlay, I'm known as Fin to my friends, I've lived in London all my life, and I have a men's footwear and accessories brand called Fin's for Him.
Lovely, Fin it is then. I’m embarrassed to say I only recently discovered Fin’s for Him (like last week) but I have already fallen hard for your fantastic website and blog, reading up on the brand and your fin philosophy. How long ago did you start Fin’s and what would you say makes your shoes special?
I'm so pleased you have fallen for Fin's. I have put a huge amount of work into the website, and if I do say so myself, it's something I'm very proud of. The idea of Fin's was born from a genuine desire to fix the feet of my boy friends, who were at the time struggling to find a pair shoes that looked "right" without the Bond Street price tag. I launched the website in March 2008 with an initial offering of one style of classic suede loafer in 10 colours, from the trad to the slightly outrageous, and have organically updated the range to fill the gaps of my friend's "shoedrobes" since.
And let’s talk about the wonderful array of colourful shoes you stock. I guess this was a conscious decision by you from the start, to inject some colour into the male population one foot at a time? Or I guess two feet at a time.
I suppose men are so restricted in what they wear and how, that colour is one of the very few things they can experiment with. Eye-popping brights are now a lot more mainstream, but 3 years ago, I remember causing quite a stir. My brand philosophy is simple, classic, affordable and fuss-free, and all those words allow for a sense of fun to be involved. Colour is a natural extension of this philosophy: for the same price as a pair of Tod's or Ferragamo driving loafers, you can get 3 pairs of Fin's: a pair in a more traditional tone, but a hot pink here and maybe an emerald green there.
I am totally sold on this philosophy. Would you say your shoes appeal to a certain type of gentleman? Or can any man rock out in a pair of Fin’s?
I think any man can rock out in a pair of Fin's. My customer base is so varied, any age, any background, the styles are so simple they can be applied to any blank canvas. I'm constantly thrilled and amazed to see the different creatures putting their own stamp on their pair of Fin's.
Where is your company based and can any of my more fashionable readers (I promise they’ll behave) pop into your showroom should they prefer a more bespoke service?
Fin's HQ is on the King's Road above cult Chelsea boutique Austique. We keep office hours, so call ahead to book a slot and we'll give you the VIP treatment. But Fin's can also be found in lots of shops all over the place, like Harvey Nichols, Office, Poste, lots of hotspots.
Classy! I think its time for my wasps to hear a little bit of name-dropping from you Fin. (They love name-dropping!!!) So who are some of the famous fellas to have developed a fin shoe crush? (I read on your site you have be-shod the feet of quite a few familiar faces!!)
So many men, so little time! We have a plethora of famous feet to our name: why, only yesterday The Hoff popped into Fin's HQ to say hullo (pic attached!). We just had an order from the One Direction boys, which was quite exciting, Frank Lampard was wearing some London Navy George Loafers the other day; Bradley Cooper is a size 13; the Westlife boys love them and wear them on their holidays; Benedict Cumberbatch and Danny Boyle just got pairs, a few English cricketers are fans, lots and lots, I lose track!
Well feel free to bookmark this interview to help jog your memory.
Portis Wasp never wakes up feeling the same way twice (it’s an illness), so which shoes from your collection would you suggest I wear to help me deal with each of the following emotions – and why?
Happy Portis - I think the Fiji Lilacs are a very happy shoe, it's such a soothing colour. click shoe through to website
Confused Portis - A pair of the Marshalls in Hopetoun Brown would be such a classic, timeless choice, at least you could take the confusion away from your footwear... click shoe through to website
Depressed Portis - do you need a pair for cheering? If so, a Finspadrille will surely lead you to the nearest beach click shoe through to website
or if you want to wallow in your sadness, let's at least do so stylishly in a pair of Jacob Desert Boots. click shoe through to website
Well that was extremely helpful - and expensive. *wink* Do you ever plan to bring out a collection of shoes for women? (not that us men particularly care)
NO! I'm afraid I'm just too attached to my Lanvin ballet flat collection to every stray away with my own efforts!
Good lass. Where do you pull inspiration from on a day-to-day basis?
From all my lovely Fin's customers mainly: I really rely on their feedback and thoughts. I have a brilliant group of Finbassadors; I try and go on as many holidays as possible to get a sense of what boys are wearing in the sunshine!
And where would you like to see Fin’s as a company in 5 years from now?
As a British Ralph Lauren, obv.
A song that makes your heart skip a beat?
Barry Manilow – “Could It Be Magic”
Umm, no. If your life were a film it would be?
The Way We Were - "What's too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget..."
Swoon. If you were looking to impress a date or partner which signature dish would you cook?
Roast chicken or my famous lamb burgers usually get the thumbs up...
Sounds all kinds of tasty. A guilty pleasure you can’t seem to quit?
I managed to finally kick smoking a year ago, so with the exception of a worrying reliance on red wine, my life is pretty squeaky clean at the moment.
And would you like to ask Portis Wasp a question?
If you weren't a wasp, what member of the Animal Kingdom would you be? And of course, what's your favourite Fin's style?
Good questions. I think I’m going to have to go with a rhinoceros, to answer your animal kingdom question. Not that I would want my wasps to assume I always have the horn, I just feel a little sad for the rhinoceros. They seem a little misunderstood. You see that grumpy squashed up face of a rhinoceros and you find it hard to feel anything for them, cos they look so angry all the time but they can’t help the face they have. Tough skin on the outside but I bet they’re cute as a button on the inner. I really don’t know where I’m going with this.
My favourite Fin style? Well... do you know what is funny, I would have never (and have never to this day) purchased an espadrille shoe - there is just something about that look, which lets face it, has become a serious fashion of late that I just don’t buy into for some unknown reason, and yet, when I first clicked through to your website (seems like so long ago now) the one shoe that stood out for me (even though they’re all great) was the ‘finspadrille’.
Isn’t that funny??! Speaks volumes for Fin’s doesn’t it, but then it’s no simple espadrille, it’s a ‘finspadrille’. And it is totally my new go-to shoe for this summer, let me tell you!
But enough about me. Thanks Fin for schooling us on Fin's for Him, and for sending me my very own pair of Finspadrille's (in yellow of course)!
Wasps I will share my new wears with you tomorrow via a cute little image post but until then please do visit Fin's for Him for something a little bit different and just a tad, amazing - here


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