He had no formal training yet in a very short space of time, footwear designer Marc Hare and his eponymous label Mr. Hare has made huge inroads in the world of quality, gleaming Italian made shoes. He capped it all with a deal with high street brand Topman. Black Heritage Today finds out how.
“I figured nine years out of school was plenty of time to make my fortune. I felt some pangs of failure when I turned 26”
He lost his job. Two days later he dislocated his left knee, and a couple of months afterwards his marriage crumbled. When you’re that down the only way is UP!
Marc Hare realised he had a clean slate on which to draw himself the future he really wanted, and it was not working for someone else. It was time to walk on the ‘shiny’ side.
“I was in a very fortunate position,” says Hare. “I had carte blanche to do whatever I wanted. I decided it was going to be men’s shoes.”
Obsessed with shoes since the age of 10, Hare had always felt that a good pair of shoes could make a very cheap outfit look spectacular. “It only took me another 30 years to realise there was a business in that childhood wisdom.” He called the lapse “arrested prodigy”.
Born in Croydon, Hare recalls spending his early years in South Norwood until the family which consisted of his Jamaican father, English mother and one sibling at that time, were evicted and had to move to the Waddon Estate.
One of only two black boys in a school of 270 children, Hare was glad when the family moved again. “To this day the happiest day of my life came in 1982, when we got a council house exchange with an old couple from Stockwell,” says Hare.
Brixton was his local high street and to top it all there was a skate park at the end of his road. For Hare, it was “like winning the lottery and moving abroad”.
“I am very proud to say I attended Tulse Hill Boys School. It was a seven storey tower block with no sports field but we had black teachers who had published books. We could count Smiley Culture and Ken Livingstone as alumni.
An “analytical juvenile” who was also inquisitive, independent, happy, proud and ambitious as a child, Hare had no specific ambition. “But I always intended to retire at 25,” he laughingly recalls. “I figured nine years out of school was plenty of time to make my fortune. I felt some pangs of failure when I turned 26, but I got over it.” His career path began with a work placement at leading consumer PR company Lynne Franks in the late 80s whilst doing a BTEC in business studies.
“After seven days they offered me a job. I’d like to think it was because of my work ethic and good ideas, but I think it may have had as much to do with my baby dreadlocks – Soul II Soul were massive at the time. Regardless I rinsed it. I was office junior so I worked on any account that needed me.”
Read the entire story in the 2011-2012 issue of Black Heritage Today. Click here to find out how to order a copy which will be posted or sent electronically to you.