Mr. Hare, the brand, was conceived at a roadside Tapas bar in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Andalucia, Spain on July 23rd 2008. I was looking at the woven leather shoes of the old gentleman sitting next to me thinking those shoes could be so awesome with a few tweaks, but who could I get to make them? Five minutes later, Mr. Hare, the brand, was born.
Mr Hare, the person, was conceived in the winter of 1969 in South London, by an English Woman and a Jamaican man. Mr. Hare, the baby, was born in July 1970.
Everything you need to understand about Mr. Hare, the brand, can be found on Mr. Hare, the blog.
Before Mr. Hare the brand, Mr. Hare, the person, had a long and winding career, which includedworking at Lynne Franks PR in the late 80s, opening London’s only proper surf shop called Low Pressure in 1992. Being a design consultant for British outdoor company Karrimor.Being a marketing consultant for companies including Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Speedo, Caterpillar, Sebago, Dr. Martens, O’Neill, Reebok, Levi’s and Kangol. Mr. Hare also opened a ground breaking fashion boutique in London called Something, which stocked amongst other things, Balenciaga, Dior, Margiela, Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, AF Vandervorst, Bernhard Wilhelm, Martine Sitbon…shall I go on?
Mr. Hare, the brand took 360 days to go from idea conception to shopfloor at Dover Street Market.
Mr. Hare, the person’s, goal in life is to live in a beach house somewhere hot that I can surf my older days away, before I am too old to surf. Therefore, Mr. Hare, the brand, will make a small number of essential products extremely well for the people who desire them the most. Mr. Hare, the person, believes that this is the ethical way to do business by having more small pockets of great expertise instead of a few large corporations affecting a brain drain for unnecessary greedy economical gain.
Mr. Hare, the shoes, are currently designed wherever I choose. They are handmade in Empoli, in Tuscany, in Italy. In future they will be made wherever the greatest manufacturer best suited to the task is located. The daily operations of Mr. Hare, the brand, the person, the blog, happen in London.
Mr. Hare, the person, has no formal training in shoe design or any other form of design. He just knows what he needs and knows what he likes. He needs food and love and music and fresh air. He likes MF Doom, cooking, surfing, his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, dancing, bespoke suits, flip flops, camping, riding mountains, the Wu-Tang especially ODB, girls, White Wine and Dark Rum, but not together, Spinach and many other things, but these are the ones I have remembered today.
Mr. Hare, the brand, is a black shoe company. This means my shoes are created to make the wearer look stylish and completely in control at night. This doesn’t mean they can’t be worn in the day, or come in other colours. It just means that when I designed them I was thinking about having a great time at night, outside, with friends, with great food and drink, and dancing. Lots of dancing.
For more information, buy me lunch sometime, or visit
While some people may covet an honour or title to be bestowed upon them in recognition for their services to…I personally have always been intrigued by the simple appendage of an “At Large” after my name. What does it even mean?
Firstly it’s an Idiom. * Secondly it is usually followed by the words ‘to do as he pleases”. It basically denotes a state of freedom or a state where one is constantly receptive to pleasure. I am not sure the Queen has an honour to cover that.
So…At Large, as a shoe collection? In my mind the capital city of At Large would have to be night time Soho in London. If you have not been there, just imagine the epicentre of night time action in your town and improvise. At Large in Soho will invariably take in princes and paupers, romancers and walkers, life changing truths and colossal porkers. You need shoes that are acceptable from the swankiest clubs to the grimiest pubs, stealth shoes with the charisma to hold court, but sturdy enough to fight your way out should your At Largess inflame the regulars.
To this end I have mainly used sturdy high shine calf leather that has a very smart appearance and won’t be troubled by a splash of beer or incoming clumsy dancers. Rubber soles of all descriptions ensure our wearer at large maintains an upright demeanour whether descending or ascending from street level. The colour palette is richly understated using black, dark grey, toffee, plum and British racing green.
The At Large collection is based around a new last called Rico. Shorter in length than previous Mr. Hare lasts with a rounded point toe, it is less elegant but no less handsome. There are six new styles, which take their names from six of Soho’s greatest proponents of the At Large statute. Bernard is a classic Derby. Bacon is a bebop monk strap. Cooke is a mocc toed derby boot. Deakin is a ghillie inspired creation of my own hand. Freud is a brogued cads boot with a vintage military grain while Wilde is a loafer Oscar may even have been seduced by himself.
Mr. Hare. At Large. If not the catalyst for an honour at some point then certainly my epitaph of choice.
*Google it. I am trying to get all the main facts on one side of A4.
Photography Marley Lohr
Of all the months there are to choose from, August is my favourite. For eleven months of the year I think and I work and I am Mr. Hare. But in August I under achieve. I under achieve under the hot sun. I under achieve under the hot sun under no pressure answer my phone. Occasionally I disturb the blissful lapping waters of under achievement by slipping into a pair of shoes that can only be justified in August and, with people I love, laugh and dance under the light of the moon.
August used to be sixth month of the year on the Roman calendar and it was called 'Sextilis' as in "We love August so much we just going to have Sextilis September". It became the eighth month in 700BC when King Pompilius invented January and February. Gaius Julis Caesar Augustus renamed it August because it was the moth in which most of his great conquests happened, including the one with Cleopatra, who had recently been underachieving with Mark Anthony.
As well as being my favourite month August as an adjective menas "Inspiring awe or admiration", Dignified or Imposing". The thesaurus offers, noble, great, kingly, grand, excellent, imposing, impressive, superb, distinguished, magnificent, glorious, splendid, elevated, eminent, majestic, dignified, regal, stately, high-ranking, monumental, solemn, lofty, and exalted. Exactly how I would describe the shoes I want to wear in August.
Mr. Hare SS12 collection August is the final paragraph in the first chapter of the Mr. Hare story. August is the application of Mr. Hare's principles of male pedal elegance applied to casual high summer shoes. Therefore, the sneaker, the driving shoe and the oxford summer wedge make their debut appearances in more natural, more colourful, nubuck, suede and calfskin than I have ever used before. Mr. Hare was founded in 2008 because the time was right and now sells in most of the bravest fashion retail stores in the world.
Photography Marley Lohr
It’s a simple premise. The shoes I idolised in my adolescence. Not the actual shoes but the shoes as I dreamed them. Here, now realised and amplified to 11 because I made them myself.
Let me set the scene. It’s 1980. The Conservatives have been in Government for a year and everyone hates them, especially the youth who thought Punk was going to solve everything. My style icons crowd my street corner with their skinny, bleached turn-ups, and red laced oxblood 10 holes and Crombie's. So sharp, so full of hate for a brown boy who can’t stop staring. If I had those loafers and a clean white sock for everyday of the week then surely the hate could subside. To quote from Geno
“On a night when flowers didn’t suit my shoes,
After a week of flunking and Bunking school,
The lowest head in the crowd that night,
Just practising steps and keeping out of the fights.” Is how I remember that period.
A couple years on and the reality in London are riots, but fashion has gone fantasy. The punks are now pirates. There is swash in their shoes and buckles on their boots. Unplug the Jukebox and do us all a favour!! I surfed the New waves until 1986 when the underground went over ground. When Buffalo was served up on a Petri dish. Looking at my Gucci it was about that time.
My Adidas, put my shoe game on pause, but they got me through all the best club night doors. Ask Phillip Salon. Inevitably it was a girl who loved Gucci’s that I wanted to love me, that brought me back down to shoe earth. She ran off with Nellee Hooper, but shoes and I have been lovers ever since.
Now I realise this is not much of a press release but every line is an honest insight as to how this collection came about. For those of you who weren’t there…
Mr. Hare’s AW11 Idolescent collection is a range of Bovver Boots, Loafers, New Wave oxfords, Apache steppers, Trans Atlantic Engineer fantasies, Boots for bowling about in Soho, razor sharp evening shoes and the classics. Made from a selection of pit tanned veggie leathers, exotics, suede’s, high shines and fine Italian calf skins. Mr. Hare has also experimented with more Northern European constructions, utilising such hardware as Rubber and Vibram soles, in order to take these audacious pedal creations into the rain and slush. Mr. Hare was founded in 2008 because he couldn’t find a job or the kinds of shoes he wanted to wear. Five seasons later…
Photography Marley Lohr
Do not mistakenly perceive Mr. Hare as a Luddite or techno-reactionary, it is merely being pointed out that, like the feeling of hot sun on your face or warm flesh against your flesh, there are some things in life that there is just no app for.
Fine shoes, the example to which I draw your attention. You simply can’t derive the actual pleasure of curating and brandishing fine shoes, from a two dimensional virtual interface. The full arsenal of the known senses, receptive to arousal, will not thrive on mere media alone.
For my S/S2011 collection I have used, soft Napas, hard Vachettas, Shrunken Goat, Eel, Salmon and Ostrich shin hides to communicate textures only TOUCH can know. The new Jopling last shape, with its almost cubist execution, challenges perceptions of space and light and male pedal proportion and form, the Onyx Soir, Onyx wholecut and Onyx loafers being visual portrayals of these ideas.
The fragrant incense of meticulously tanned Italian leather, diametric to the flagrant insouciance, of that same leather, for wear and tear and the inevitable scars of real life.
And what of the sound of leather on the cold hard ground? Surely there is no credible tribute act. Without wanting to over glaze this doughnut may I finally enquire, rhetorically of course, when was the last time you were compelled to compliment someone on how beautifully their outfit was finished off by a pair of smart electronic data storage devices?
Badass shoes and the audacity to apply them. Ain’t no app for that !!
Ain’t No App for that !! is the fourth men’s only shoe collection from Mr. Hare, a black shoe company founded in 2008 by Marc Hare. This collection is made from an excerpt of the finest sustainable skins by wonderful Italian craftsmen on lasts conceived in my head, but created in Northampton. It is available from a coterie of the bravest and smartest retailers on the planet including Dover Street Market, Colette, Mr. Porter.com, Joyce (Hong Kong), Tsvetnoy Central Market in Moscow and thirty others, all of whom can be found on the website.
PS. “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.” Marshall Mcluhan.
Photography Marley Lohr
Have you ever pondered the term ‘Airs and Graces’? The dictionary defines it as derogatory, in so much as you put on ‘airs and graces’ to create a false picture of oneself. The dictionary offers no explanation of ‘Airs’ in this context and ‘Graces’ is all good, however you use it. But put them together though…
Anyway I digress. For me the AW10 collection was inspired by the city of Paris. The cigarette smoke stain that a smoking ban can’t erase. The shitty clubs. The chic fight. The never appearing taxis. The snooty girls. The Napoleonic complex. The Language. The Attitude. God! I love that city. I remember standing under the Eiffel Tower aged 10, with all my classmates and marveling at the sheer decadence of pure aesthetic, Paris had, but London had never struck me with. Paris had an Air and it was graceful.
Leading up to this collection, I was also obsessed by the idea of men in heels. “I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller!” Prince, the purple one. Bowie. Bootsy. The court of Louis XV. Many great heel wearers. Yet when I mentioned it in public, ‘Sarkozy’ was often the exchange. Which brings us back to Paris, but not in a good way. The gauntlet was on the floor.
Wearing 2.5 inches of heel will change any mans perspective quite literally. You see the world from where other people see the top of your head. On naming my Parisian Man Heels I decided this. Andre Bazin was a French film critic who’s writing influenced the new wave of French film makers, Truffaut, Godard and others, whose contribution to film went on to change everyone’s perspective about what cinema could be.
Besides Godard, Truffaut and Bazin the ‘Miss Your Air’ collection contains many of the Mr. Hare classics, Miller, Kerouac, Fitzgerald and Orwell, all imbued with ‘Airs and graces’ that bring them more in line with my skewed perception of Paris. They are also joined by the incredibly handsome Huxley wholecut in ‘Vitello Lucida’ featuring the exquisite Mr. Hare brogue pattern.
I have discussed much to ponder in this correspondence but I fear this will be this following bit that makes the most editorial.
Mr. Hare was founded in 2008 as one man’s selfish pursuit of great shoes. That man was Marc Hare. Mr. Hare is a wholly independent shoe company and will be stocked at only 16 of the world’s most desirable men’s shoe stores for AW2010. Visit www.mrhare.com to find out where they are. Mr Hare shoes are handcrafted in Tuscany by Italian geniuses of shoe on Mr.Hare’s exclusive British lasts. The materials are only the finest and the high quality is a given.
Photography Marley Lohr
Above adventures of the night, come adventures of the night in tropical climates in Mr. Hare’s world. The ‘Hot Steppers’ are a collection of shoes I would like to have at my disposal when preparing for el baile en la luz de la Luna. Pulling fine shoes from a Keepall is a little pleasure that ranks next to favourite smells, tastes and tunes.
The major emphasis is on the materials. After the decadence of AW09s ‘Purest Form’ Collection, I wanted to create something with just as much presence, but much greater depth of character. The heart of this collection is made of Vachetta. Vachetta is a vegetable tanned leather which means it isn’t produced in such an environmentally damaging way and the leather retains much more of its natural characteristics. Vachetta is the natural leather you find on a Louis Vuitton bag.
You are about to enter a two-way relationship if you purchase a Vachetta ‘Hot Stepper’. You must polish them regularly with natural bees wax polish and in return they will age and grow with you. They will form a Patina where the colouring will become distinct and unique. The more love you give them; the more reason they will give you to love them back.
I have dedicated this collection to a selection of Dancehall generals who through their sheer brilliance have given us reason to tear up dance floors across the continents. Above the thrill of music that moves your physical and emotional state, there is only love in my humble opinion. Stand up Johnny Pacheco, Victor Boa, Fela Kuti, Phil Spector, Sir Coxsone, King Tubby, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Barretto, Sir Jablonsky and all the others.
The dancehall is also where youth honed its style, physical expression, and moves. So I had to revisit the teenage footwear that gave those dancehall movements their start. The saddle shoe and then the brothel creeper were amongst the first shoes of youth when teenagers first came into their own after World War II. You will find them re-imagined here. After the success of last season, I am very excited about ‘Hot Steppers’ and my further adventures into the realms and possibilities of male pedal elegance and this ongoing shoe conversation.
Hot Steppers was shown exclusively at London Fashion Week.
18-19-21-22 Sept 2009, 10am – 6pm @ White Cube Gallery, Masons Yard
23 Sept 2009 @ Noon-2pm BFC MAN Exhibition Somerset House, The Strand.
Mr. Hare was founded in 2008 as one man’s selfish pursuit of great shoes. Mr. Hare is a wholly independent shoe company and is stocked at Dover Street Market, Oki-ni.com, Colette,
Surrender, SPR+ and Beams in Tokyo.
Photography Marley Lohr
“Quality, Style and Emotion. For years Mr. Hare has sought these qualities in the pursuit of great men’s shoes, only to be cozened by the inducement of comfort features or outlandish fashion attitude.
Geographically and historically, Northampton has given us a foundation in quality and style through very restrained British emotion. More recently Milan and Paris have executed style superfluous to requirements while compromising quality and tapping emotions too few men are truly in touch with.
In these times of imminent CHANGE, Mr. Hare will address the Quality, Style and Emotion equation to create men’s shoes with dignity, purpose and elegance. Beautiful shoes born of a black shoe perspective, made from the finest materials, utilizing the skill of craftsmen and the most appropriate constructions, evoking the talk of the evening.
Mr. Hare’s man is sartorially, a swan amongst geese, worldly in the modern way and as rural as urban. Equipped with charm and good humour in spite of the times. Mr. Hare’s man is comfortable in himself and displays attitude not on his sleeve, but in the engagement of the audience he has since departed.”
Mr. Hare’s premier collection ‘Purest Form’ will be launched and presented in London and Paris throughout January and February 2009 for delivery in the AW09 season. Purest Form is a study of the classic oxford and derby constructions on handsome lasts. The results are expressive sculptures in fine grade skins, entertaining the classic and contemporary details of impeccable male footwear, handmade in Italy by Tuscan craftsmen.
Photography Marley Lohr