Ravel - A Buyers Guide

Ravel began its corporate life as a small independent shoe retailer which was founded in 1934, the company was family run headed up by Mrs Wise. Its growth was slow but more and more high street stores were opened over the years. In the 1960’s Ravel became known by fashion conscious Londoners as a trendy and stylish place to buy shoes. The family bought a shop on Oxford Street in 1967 called Chasseurs Raoul which was later changed to ‘Ravel’. In the same year the Clarks family bought a minority share in the company running it independently from the main business and sales flourished. In 1974 the Wises retired and Clarks bought the remaining the shares and the company continued to grow throughout the 1970s. Ravel has always been known for their high fashion designer edge and they are a brand who has never been afraid to be different, wild and outlandish. In the 1970s when platform shoes were at the height of fashion Ravel stocked the biggest and the best! Starting trends, not following them was key and Ravel originality meant competitors could only watch and copy the best sellers.

Originally, the Ravel head office was in London at the heart of British fashion. During the 1990s the business began to lose its way and in 1999 Clarks make the mistake of moving the office to the Clarks main head office complex in Somerset. During the 2000’s the Ravel’s business began to fail with the company employing inexperienced and junior buyers and merchandisers which resulted in buying was effectively controlled by the Clarks board. Factors such as ranges which lacked inspiration, remoteness from central London and drab surroundings contributed to the company’s failure. In 2007 Clarks closed all Ravel Shops and they were sold and the brand was auctioned off to the highest bidder. The brand is now owned by the Jacobson Group who have worked hard to revive the old brand identity.

We’ve picked out a few of our favourite picks from the Ravel range. We love the lace up espadrille wedge shoe which has been crafted in genuine suede leather and features a small peep toe opening, zig zag side straps with a lace up front closure, an ankle high cut with a zip through fastening to the reverse, and a high, plaited raffia platform sole and wedge heel. We also love the leather sandal with coin embellishment, these have been crafted in genuine leather and feature a slim toe post, wide T bar panel and side straps with a metallic leather disc embellished finish and a two tone beaded trim, the back is open and the sole is flat.

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