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The Story Of Broxbourne-Based Laura See London Shoes

Broxbourne-based fashion entrepreneur Laura See talks to Natalie Li on her fearless approach to becoming a luxury shoe designer

Approaching life with a new clarity after a great loss can seem impossible. For Laura See, the death of her husband Stuart in 2015 prompted her to take a leap of faith and realise her dream career as a shoe designer. It’s not been an easy road, especially navigating a global pandemic along the way, but as we chat, See’s unrelenting perseverance and drive is evident.
Her shoe collection is a labour of love aimed at strong, fearless women, a mantra that echoes her own personal life. “I always dreamt of creating a brand that represented my journey,” she explains. “I wanted to design a small collection of bold, original luxury footwear. The brand is aimed at making any woman feel fabulous no matter what age, shape, or size.”
See’s passion for design was embedded from a young age. “I always enjoyed art at school and studying artists like Monet and Cézanne left an imprint on me. Painting on canvas was my passion and I always had the urge to do more.”
Creative desires were shelved, but left burning after See pursued a career working as a health and safety consultant for an interior design company. It wasn’t until her husband Stuart was undergoing cancer treatment in summer 2015 that See found herself sketching for escapism. “I started to paint, and I found a real creative outlet,” she says. Sadly, months later Stuart passed away.

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Laura See


“I realised life is too short to live with regrets, so I took up a short pattern cutting course in 2016, but I wanted to bring together my love of painting and shoes – I have over 300 pairs!” she laughs. “I left my job and moved to Italy on a scholarship at Istituto Marangoni, a fashion design school in Florence, to design shoes for a year.”
Returning to the UK in 2019, See discovered that breaking into the shoe industry was a tough call. “I had such an amazing time in Florence and loved being around so many creative people. I applied for scholarships in the UK and realised that I would have to work for free for a year. It wasn’t an option, so I returned to my old work and then lockdown hit in March 2020. It was now or never, so I started working on my sketches, branding and my tutor in Italy helped me to create my first mini collection that launched in May 2021.”
The result is See’s first collection, handmade in Florence, with sustainability at the heart of her creations – she only uses leather from the food chain, off cuts or previous season’s materials, and sources recyclable accessories where possible. Collections are kept small to avoid unnecessary waste.
She adds: “We recently received an ‘Honourable Mention’ in the 2021 Global Footwear Awards for our sustainability efforts, which was a great feeling. I truly believe that buying quality, well made products from unique, independent brands is the best way to be sustainable. You pay more, but you are paying for quality that will last.”
See’s vibrant autumn/winter collection, which features her original artwork printed onto Italian leather heels and flats, includes a mix of metallic leathers and suede – all perfect for date nights, weddings, and weekend brunches.
“When the first shoes arrived, and I saw my name on the sole, it was quite a moment. I realised I am good at this, and I love it. Seeing orders coming in and women spending their money on something I have produced is a great feeling.”
While Manolo Blahnik is recognised by his crystal buckles and Christian Louboutin by red soles, Laura See’s gold hummingbird at the bottom of her footwear is a logo to represent freedom, beauty, and determination. “It was really important to me that my footwear had a visually recognisable logo that symbolises what the brand stands for.”
As for her favourite shoe in the collection, See says: “I love high heels, so I wear the Esmeralda a lot in all the colours. The Stellula is also a favourite – a fantastic square toe pump perfect for day to night styling.”
See’s unwavering determination is already paying off and recently attracted the attention of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, wife of Hollywood star George Clooney, who recently requested a look book. Vanity Fair featured the Esmeralda shoe in their special Oscars edition – both proud moments for See. “It’s incredible to get the recognition for the brand that I’ve worked so hard on. Building a brand is scary and you’re fighting to be heard in an over saturated market, but it makes you fearless. Hopefully it’s all starting to pay off. I’ve gone for it, and nothing is holding me back. This is not just a side hustle, it’s like a full-time job,” she says.

Laurasee
If you like heels, you’ll love Laura See London

The 41-year-old, who grew up in north London and moved to Broxbourne two years ago, is influenced by art, colour, design, and nature. Still working full-time as a health and safety consultant and building her brand means life is non-stop. Retreating to Hertford and Ware for long walks is a must. “It’s great living in Broxbourne as it’s a short commute into London for work, but getting back to Hertfordshire to enjoy the wildlife, trees and parks is a lovely escape.”
With supportive family living close in Hoddesdon and Cheshunt, See is confident that she can continue to grow the brand. “My family are shocked at how far I’ve come – navigating Brexit, lockdown and a global pandemic is quite something. They will be very happy to have a lifetime supply of free shoes!”
See also believes her late husband would have been beyond proud. “He knew I was determined and that I’d find a way in whatever I do. I think he would have been shocked at what I have achieved in the current climate and jealous of the fact that I lived in Italy for a year!”
The future seems bright, but what’s next for See? “I hope to collaborate with artists and accessory designers and hold more pop-up events. I’d like to be stocked in a little boutique in Hertfordshire or Primrose Hill in London or even own my own store. Reaching consumers in California, Australia and the Middle East would be amazing, too. I’d love to see my shoes on A-listers like Reese Witherspoon, who is a strong woman, but seeing my shoes on any fearless, confident woman is the dream – that’s who I created these for.”

Laura See will be holding pop-ups at various locations over the next few months. Sign up on lauraseelondon.com to receive the newsletter and keep up to date with the latest events

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