With over 20 years of friendship behind them, best friends Roxann Message and Julia James are tighter than ever. Their shoe business is going into its fifth year since conception, and has fast become one of South Africa’s most well-known and loved shoe collections on the market.
Working together has been so much fun. We laugh a lot . . . a hell of a lot. Actually, we kill ourselves laughing,” says Julia. “We plan together, learn together, room together, swear together, take risks together, succeed together and fail together. In the end, through highs and lows, we are a damn good team!”
After having her first son, Jesse, in 2014 Julia was looking to get back into the working world. When Roxann approached her with the idea of creating a well-priced range of summer sandals that were pretty and super comfortable, she was in.
“There is nothing better than seeing your best friend every day and travelling the world with her.”
Julia says Saint&Summer was created in the humid heat of a typical Durban December, “the beauty of our coast inspired us to create a unique range of matte jelly sandals for women who are just like us – unapologetically fashion forward with a strong desire for both comfort and class. Sun-kissed bodies, vibrant sunsets, cocktail umbrellas and sandy hues became our mood board for Saint&Summer’s first range.”
Since then the team have become well-known for their resilient, fun, bold and fearless shoes, which have evolved from jellies to genuine leather sandals, espadrilles and sneakers.
“In just five years our business has doubled, our office has relocated, our team has grown and our styles have revolutionised from when we started. We’re young, vibey and new-generation business owners who believe hard work, dedication and commitment to our brand play a major role in our success.”
Spending countless hours researching styles and looks for their ranges, Julia and Roxann find inspiration in the everyday working woman, mom and housewife.
“We travel Europe looking for trends. We watch the runways, fashion shows and the latest European Vogue. We search the internet, following bloggers we know and bloggers we don’t. We pay attention to international brands. We find inspiration around us, in the company we keep, people on the street and the amazing multi-cultured diversity of South Africa,” says Roxann who enjoys dabbling in different fabrics, textures, colours and accessories while paying close attention to what is trending.
Aiming to keep their line unique and stylish with limited-edition styles, Roxann and Julia very rarely re-run their styles.
“We want every woman to feel as if what they are wearing is part of an exclusive range. We don’t want to over-saturate the market with the same styles again and again, so we very rarely re-run our styles. We want to keep it fresh, new, trendy and fabulous.”
Having just finished a hugely successful autumn winter collection, which they say is the best range they have ever had, they are already working on their next pre-collection which they will be launching this August. Clients can expect shoe trends that are modern chic, with an unexpected twist, making an effortless transition from winter into spring.
“It’s all about classic colours, natural fibres, animal instinct and genuine leather. We aren’t completely reinventing the wheel. Instead, we’re building on our archives and past trends, adding embellishments here and there and introducing new shapes and materials . . . from barely-know-they-are-there comfort to ultra-high platforms and African safari fabrics.”
Stand a chance to WIN: a pair of Saint&Summer shoes of your choice from their new collection. Click on the competitions tab to put yourself in line to win.
Details: www.saintandsummer.co.za | [email protected] | @saintandsummer on Instagram | saintandsummer on Facebook.
Text: MONIQUE DE VILLIERS-DELPORT | Photographs: CHRIS ALLAN PHOTO / www.chrisallanphoto.co.za | Hair and make up: VOLENTI LAURENTINA / [email protected]