How Footwear Has Become the New Way to Have Fun With Fashion


It’s safe to say that Angela Baidoo has earned the title of fashion expert. As a trend consultant and senior strategist who has worked with brands as diverse as WGSN, UAL, The Impression and Burberry, Baidoo certainly knows her stuff when it comes to analysing and discussing what will be big this year (and beyond) and which trends have fallen just a tad short. This month, we asked for her thoughts on footwear and how shoes and our approach buying them have changed over time. Here, she investigates just how much power shoes have in 2024 and what that means for the future of footwear in the fashion industry, in pop culture and for brands.

Raiding our mothers’ wardrobes for her highest, most colourful heels was often the first playground in which we explored the world of fashion and learned at an early age how we could transform our outward appearance through playing dress-up. In that time of experimentation, we learned how to create a fantasy world for ourselves, but now, as trends encourage us to adopt a more minimalistic and “quiet” aesthetic, are we missing the fun which drew us to fashion in the first place?

As It bags make way for 2024’s sold-out shoe style—namely flat shoes, including Mary Janes, Adidas Sambas and mesh anything—footwear is walking all over the competition as the guilty pleasure to invest in, minus the guilt. If there is one thing brands know, it’s that the right footwear can make or break an outfit, and as we acknowledge our current circumstances and cut back in certain areas, footwear has become our new status symbol and the last man standing when it comes to indulgent payday purchases. While some are playing it safe from a clothing perspective, we are thankfully entering a new era of fun with footwear as designers and brands, from Louis Vuitton to Ferragamo, experiment with fun faux furs, extra-long leather fringing, and fluffy feathers as a way to bring back a sense of carefree frivolity.

(Image credit: LAUNCHMETRICS; PRADA; GETTY IMAGES; MSGM)

They say that fashion trends work in cycles—look to the 1980s-style puffball skirts and Laura Ashley–esque dropped-waist dresses flooding our feeds as proof of concept. Just like those euphoric days post-pandemic when all we wanted was to celebrate life and trends such as “the joy of dressing up” and “revenge dressing” started to gain traction, we are seeing those same trends becoming relevant again now, but for footwear. At the time, we wanted to get dressed for the very occasions we had missed out on during lockdowns, showing up for our dentist appointments in the loudest of colours and going XXL with volume. This meant buying into brands like Molly Goddard, Christopher John Rogers, Simon Miller, Stine Goya and Valentino. As with most fashion cycles, a period of maximalism is often followed like clockwork by a period of minimalism, and four years later, we have seen in the rejection of logos and the shocking rise in the price of luxury leather goods. A small classic Flap bag from Chanel is £8510, an Hermès Birkin 25 Togo bag starts at the €8000 mark, and The Row’s Margaux bag will set you back £4810.