aprile 03, 2008

Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair SpringSummer 2008

Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair
||| Sweden

Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair
is one of the most important fashion brand in north europe.

Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair
Written by Henric Zethelius

It might be that Astrid Olsson and Lee Cotter have had some luck with building the latest Swedish fashion wonder, but there has most definitely been a lot of hard work and determination involved to get where they are today with Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair. A chat with Astrid reveals a bit of how they have achieved this and what the dreams are for the future.
When Astrid began her education as fashion designer at Textilhögskolan in Borås she had already done the small scale, knock on doors, eating porridge thing in her early twenties. She and her husband Lee had a pretty clear picture of what they wanted to create and achieve and the three years in school were well spent with a rather specific goal in sight.

Lee was still working at RNB but together they shaped the concept during this time. At one point Lee called home and had the name. This was not the first time, but this felt right. It is long, a bit odd and therefore easy to remember. Their strict concept and rather minimalistic style is easily recognised in everything from the clothes to printed material and the office.

With concept and name ready they could start. A small but reasonable amount of saved money was the initial funding. A well developed bank contact as well as excellent relations with suppliers has made it work. “We decided early on that we would only work with people that we like and are comfortable with”, Astrid explains. “There must be mutual trust and one of the things to do is to make sure every payment is perfectly on time”.

These small but ever so important mottos and a bit of luck have made it possible for Fifth Avenue to become a very interesting and, not the least, fast growing player in the fashion industry. They already sell in 18 countries all around the world and have opened their own shop in Stockholm.

It is clear that Astrid and Lee are quite different and have passion for different parts of the business. “If you asked Lee about the future for the business you would probably get a completely different answers then from me”, says Astrid when asked about the vision for the future. “In five years I would like to have one really nice shop somewhere in Europe or in New York. If you ask Lee he will say several shops in different cities”.

Though it would be cool to show in one of the big cities it seems as if the base for Fifth Avenue will remain in Stockholm. “Swedes are good at organising and get things done”, Astrid says. “It is easy to work here though Swedes as consumers are a) boring b) cowardly and c) way too practical”.

Personally Astrid grows a dream of being able to live somewhere else – Paris clearly seems to be the city of choice. “There is a special sweet smell in the tube”. As long as it is possible to bring work and commute it seems quite possible that Stockholm will loose this duo – if only part time.

Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair spring Summer 2008 collection is available now at Coffee.n.television

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