The fashion of cork footwear has come a long way from the chunky platform cork soles worn by willowy women in the 1960s and 1970s. Thanks to designers such as Reefer, a young, dynamic and unique South African shoe brand, cork’s diverse ability to inspire footwear that is both functional and fashionable has seen this venerable Portuguese product putting its best foot forward.
Seb Matheson, founder and CEO of Cape Town-based Reefer says natural cork attracted his attention from the outset as it conforms to his company’ principals and vision. “From the outset our vision has been to create shoes that strike a balance between style, function and sustainability,” he says. “We are committed to using sustainable materials in producing our shoes, but this environmental and social awareness run far deeper than just the materials – for us, it's about creating a sustainable value chain. We are reinventing, recreating and reimagining the way in which we produce footwear.”
This has seen Reefer introducing an ever-evolving range of eye-catching sneakers made from cork and hemp adorning the feet of men and women throughout South Africa. “Our customers range from style conscious individuals, people looking for no-nonsense footwear that is comfortable and durable, as well as the growing number of people who are environmentally conscious in their purchasing decisions,” says Matheson. “There is no one that offers anything like our sneakers in South Africa at the moment, making them very unique and trendy.”
“Amorim are our exclusive suppliers, and we are proud to be working with the world’s leading name in cork. We look forward to partnering with them and developing innovative cork products in the future. “
Despite being known for its low-cut sneakers, Reefer plans to expand its cork product range, with full support of Amorim. “Cork is great to play around with and letting our creativity flow!” says Matheson.
Reefer is also in the process of prototyping and creating a number of different footwear styles to be launched during this year. These include a cork slop, sandal, boot as well as a slipper.Reefer products are currently found on www.reefershoes.com, a fully transactional website. The company is slowly starting to supply a few independent stores around the country and will hopefully be in a national chain store in the near future.