Dan Sullivan had left home by the age of 15 and opened his first shoe shop in Convent Garden in the UK by the age of 18, which soon grew into 6 stores. By the age of 23, he had shut shop to travel to add to his vast experience of what the rest of the world had to offer. He had been visiting factories and trade shows and working in his parents' stores from a very young age and got to visit the most amazing and inspirational locations. He chose to go back to the far east, where he was influenced by the culture and everything around him and it showed in his first collection in 1999.
Very determinedly, Dan has stuck to his philosophy not to be influenced by passing trends but to stay original and set apart from the crowd and he's definitely achieved and maintained that aim. Irregular Choice was born in 1999 when Dan decided to start his own brand. He offers exceptional fashion shoes with an emphasis on fun, funky, affordable, Irregular designs. The formula has worked and customers from all over the world, which included a huge Australian online following, and celebrities have fallen in love with shoe designs that are to date, still designed by Dan Sullivan himself.
This ensures the styles remain fresh and unique and in line with Dan's vision for the brand. This has resulted in a highly respected, international footwear brand stocked in over 50 countries worldwide, including Europe, America and Asia, and has flagship retail stores around the globe. It's now Australia's turn to get its very first Irregular Choice shoe store and Melbourne is the only state in Australia who can boast about being the first.
Just a couple of months old, Irregular Choicestands on 161 Swanston Street in the city and are open from Monday to Wednesday from 10am to 7pm, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 9pm, and from 10am to 6pm on the weekend. Dan has moved with his family to Melbourne and has brought across young Jamie from the UK, who has only been in Melbourne four months and forms part of the Australian team.
Each season, Dan creates over 300 unique styles, which has chalked up to a catalogue of well over 10,000 styles since the birth of the company. One Friday a month is deemed Funky Friday, and I'll give you a heads-up that the next one is going to be the American Diner theme with burgers, milkshakes and even a bum-bag to go with the shoe, factoring in. The Halloween collection for 2019 has already been created, following the huge success, of the last Halloween.
The adult shoes range from $149-$399 and kid's shoes range from $99-$115. There's also a men's collection, so wear if you dare to all the men out there. You'll also find a range of accessories to go with your shoes, like scarves, handbags and the likes. Embellished heels, ornate wood carvings, tiny intricate charms and lavish fabrics feature in the creation of each shoe, and Dan's library of fabrics, leathers, prints, trims, toys, glass, furs and patterns are seemingly never-ending.
The new style store reflects the patterns of the shoe boxes on the floors, which reminded me of the commissioned ornamental floral floor paintings at the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) by renowned Taiwanese artist Michael Lin, all hand-painted, not too long ago; late 2017. The walls are patterns of prints (unicorns on one side, and glitter on the other) from materials that have been used on the shoes, which are embellished inside and out, and even on the underside of the shoe. The shoebox matches the print on the shoe.
The store has been designed by Dan himself, complete with mirrorball like walls, unicorns, and rows of flowers everywhere, including the ceiling. I felt like Alice in Wonderland who had landed in a magical world, with so many beautiful, and intriguing shoes to look at. There have been shoes themed after Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Dumbo and more.
If you are one that likes to stand out from the crowd, wearing exquisitely designed shoes, a work of art that has stories to tell, this is the place you'll find it. For the very first Australian collaboration Laura Gilbert; Australian Influencer, Youtube personality, musician and Comicon star, was invited by Dan to design her own Irregular Choice. To check out these vintage throwback classics, you'll find them in-store on Friday 18 Jan 2019 at 6pm. Be sure to visit as there's a huge collection to choose from each season, and there's always something tempting for the shoe addict.