Marc Hare has made great strides in footwear design since launching his business in 2008, and west London has been with him every step of the way. #MrHare gets real with The Resident about his personal life and his west London inspirations
Words: Mark Kebble
In this world of media-friendly soundbites, talking to Marc Hare is a breath of fresh air. Take the inspiration for launching his footwear brand, Mr. Hare. ‘Unemployment, followed by knee dislocation, followed by divorce…’ he says deadpan.
‘The silver lining of not being able to keep your chin up for a spell is that you tend to look at a lot of shoes on the ground. In a bid to haul myself out of the ditch I was in, I went on a road trip in Andalucía and one afternoon, per chance, I was staring at the gentleman next to me and his shoes, redesigning them like I had done a million times before – except this time a penny dropped and here we are…’
Here is Hare’s new premises on Powis Terrace and boy is he happy. ‘This is the first time I have my whole operation in one building, with a large enough store to stretch my arms and a design studio out back,’ he grins. Why here? ‘West is best!’ he exclaims, astounded I am even asking. ‘I have worked and lived in west London since 1990.
Back when Notting Hill was cool, myself and a special group of people ran London’s only real surf shop called Low Pressure down in Kensington Park Road. From 1992-2005, it was a bona fide west London institution just like Rough Trade or The Globe. A lot of people disappeared from west London when east London happened because it was affordable, but now east London can no longer be described as affordable, west London is looking like paradise. It is a brilliant place to work and play in. I wouldn’t want to be based anywhere else.’
Given the enthusiasm and the fact he describes them as ‘specials’, it’s not a surprise that Mr. Hare’s footwear stands out. ‘All of my shoes fall into five categories,’ he says. ‘Daytime (looking good), Night-time (flossing and rock ‘n roll), Summer Adventures (suitable in the hot sun), Winter Adventures (suitable whenever and wherever I want to go) and Sneakers (all of the above). Inside those parameters are labyrinths of exploration from which I don’t believe I will ever emerge.’
All of my shoes fall into five categories and inside those parameters are labyrinths of exploration from which I don’t believe I will ever emerge.
Does Notting Hill inspire him? ‘I love Notting Hill’s heritage of underground culture,’ he considers. ‘I am fascinated by the close proximity of high and low life, and regardless of which side you call homies, you will always find that here. Mr. Hare is the shoe embodiment of that dichotomy, so, yes, the bricks, mortar, and spirit inspire me.’
Mr. Hare is the culmination of an obsession with design from an early age, and celebrating a new addition to his own family, my interviewee hopes that passion will live on. ‘I have just had my first son,’ he says proudly. ‘So hopefully Mr. Hare will be in good hands when I sail off.’
22 Powis Terrace W11 1JH; 020 7221 4025; mrhare.com