A new luxury men’s footwear brand has launched in Northamptonshire.
Denton’s Footwear was founded in December 2019 by Camilla Denton but, even though the business is new, there is 180 years of Northamptonshire shoe history running through Camilla’s veins.
Way back in 1840, Benjamin Denton made men’s footwear and, after producing all his footwear by hand, introduced the revolutionary factory system to produce more pairs. In 1867, Benjamin’s son George took over the family business. He was one of the first to purchase a labour saving machine which we now know as the Blake Sewer. This machine quickly attaches the shoe upper to the sole. The company progressed and diversified and during the First World War made military boots. In 1944, George Denton’s son - also George - introduced safety toe caps. George secured the rights for the patent of steel toe caps and safety footwear manufacture was born in Northamptonshire.
Meanwhile, in 1920, identical twin brothers Jack and Bill Denton returned from the First World War and started DB Shoes Ltd, which still operates in Rushden today and, at its height, was producing 30,000 pairs of shoes each week. In 1970, Camilla’s grandfather John took over the business from his father and Camilla’s father Roger, went to work for him before setting up his own safety footwear company, Sterling Safetywear in 1998.
Fast forward to the 2010s and Camilla has just left school. She knows she wants to follow in her family’s footsteps and during her travels Camilla gained greater knowledge of shoe making by spending a month in China learning all about shoe production. On her return to the UK, she did ten days of work experience at the Church’s factory in Northampton. After that, she went to work for her father at Sterling Safetywear and still manages his sister company Asia-Tek, which sources footwear from the Far East and imports two million pairs a year.
Camilla decided the time was right to start her own footwear company after attending trade fairs in Italy. She sourced a manufacturer and got to work launching Denton’s Footwear, a range of fine footwear for men that draws upon her heritage and is inspired by Italian fashion. Designed in Northamptonshire, the range includes classic Chelsea boots and stylish brogues, as well as suede loafers and desert boots.
The Denton’s Footwear collection uses the same Blake Sewn stitching methods introduced by George Denton all those years ago in all styles except for the loafers, which are made using a moccasin construction.
“I just love the class of Italian footwear,” says Camilla, 24. “I decided that I wanted my luxury men’s footwear to be produced in the Tuscany region of Italy as, in my opinion, no other leather comes close quality-wise to Tuscan leather. Florentines still tan and craft their leather goods the old-fashioned way. They’ve taken centuries of leather experience and passed them through generations, retaining the style and quality. Now I can offer high-quality, traditional footwear at affordable prices.”
So far, Camilla has sold 110 pairs of shoes online and is working on a point-to-point marketing plan that will see her reach her target market of aged 18+ males. She is also working with a local charity called The Mintridge Foundation, which helps young people to develop confidence and resilience through sport.
“I am so proud to be following in the family’s footsteps and launching my own footwear company,” said Camilla. “Not only that, I am the first woman in my family to do this too! The footwear trade comes naturally to me and Denton’s Footwear should be a good and stable business. I’m excited to see where the business and brand can go. This is where my own personal journey begins, and the Denton story continues.”
To find out more about Denton’s Footwear, visit www.dentonsfootwear.co.uk.