It’s time to talk Tracey — Tracey Neuls. She’s the Canadian-born, London-based shoe designer behind her eponymous label, launched in 2000. Since then, TRACEY NEULS has grown to distribute worldwide, with three bustling boutiques in London.
Neuls has been making shoes her entire life. Starting with tissue boxes and toilet rolls at the age of nine, she’s come a long way to the expertly designed leather footwear she crafts today.
“Sometimes I feel lucky that shoes chose me, as honestly, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making them,” Neuls says. “I work with the foot, not against it, and my manufacturers credit me for using leather to ‘drape’ over the heel for a seamless effect, like a garment or a piece of clothing.”
Neuls first sketches her shoes, then goes on to sculpt their shapes out of Plasticine, a putty-like modeling clay. “The smell always reminds me of being a child, and that evokes creative freedom,” she says. “All of the toe and heel shapes you see in the collections are original and signature to the brand. You won’t find them somewhere else.”
Rightfully so, Neuls takes great pride in her unique, ergonomic designs. “When designed right, there is no need to ever be compromised by what shoes you wear,” she assures us. “My mantra is: ‘good design is something you should feel as well as see.’” I know it verges on sounding a bit patronizing, but there is a lot of education to be had within the world of footwear fashion. The best impact we can have is to inspire and always to empower—never to impede!"
Neuls matches this distinct creative vision with the interior design of her brick-and-mortar stores. Take one step inside a TRACEY NEULS boutique, and you’ll notice something that immediately sets her brand apart from others: many of the shoes are suspended by ribbons from the ceiling. “This is a signature display of ours that we have owned since the beginning,” Neuls tells us. “The shoes are very sculptural, so it’s great to see them move from all angles and appreciate the detail.” This whimsical but elegant touch speaks succinctly to Neuls’ creative approach and brand ethos.
In 2020, Neuls will celebrate her brand’s 20th anniversary —a massive milestone for the designer, whose team is organising over forty collections from the brand archives to celebrate. “Twenty years of design mean a lot of memories,” Neuls says. “It’s like going through old photographs — you end up stopping to talk and reminisce about each one. They all have their own story.”