“Recapture your freedom which eloped with your youth''
Irregular Choice was created by Dan Sullivan in 1999 as a reason to stand out from the crowd. Dan saw that the footwear market was becoming very neutral and black, yet there was a global demand for something different, individual and something to wear with pride.
Born in London, England and growing up in the 70s Kings Road, original Punk era, Dan was influenced by working directly with Ever Last and Katheryn Hamnett before he had even graduated school. His parents saw a extraordinary design talent in him from a young age and so trained him full time on the footwear industry using their shoe chain of stores, Transit, at the time. He left home by the age of 15 and opened his first shoe shop in Covent Garden at the age of 18. By 23 he decided to close the store so he could travel and see what else the world had to offer. He chose to go to the fast east to meet with the factories and understand the full design and production cycle for footwear. His creative freedom and hands on knowledge meant he was able to dream outside the box and he started travelling frequently at a young age, his favourite being Asia and Japan, giving his perspective an even faster and broader design view.
“The culture, architecture, foods- they were a big influence for my first collection and that’s where I got the idea for the split toe shoe which is still incorporated into my designs” Dan Sullivan.
Together with his parents, they formulated an equation which would enable Dan to be as expressive as he could possibly be, yet produce the shoes at an affordable rate without needing the usually high production minimums. Hence, Irregular Choice was born.
Dan has stuck very determinedly to his philosophy throughout the past 12 years, which is to keep Irregular Choice as an ethereal source of fashion; something that is not influenced or changeable but is original and sets apart from the crowd. His fearlessness translates into the design of the shoes and an IC shoe is not like any other you’ll find.Dan doesn’t listen to what’s happening in the fashion industry or what another brand may be doing. Which is what makes Irregular Choice designs completely unique and truthful.
“A lot of retailers were excited since they’d never seen anything like it and my factory was able to produce small orders so they could test out the product” Dan Sullivan.
“Luckily, retailer’s confidence grew once they saw how successful the designs were in store, piquing consumer’s interest with colourful and humorous creations” Dan Sullivan.
Embellished heels, ornate wood carvings, tiny intricate charms, lavish fabrics, memorable colour combinations, everybody has an Irregular Choice favourite shoe or story. His library of fabrics, leathers, prints, trims, toys, glass, furs and colours are simply never ending. Each year Dan creates over 600 different styles, and is constantly jotting down styles, photos and sketches as an unstoppable creative process.
Irregular Choice has evolved with great strides over the past decade. It is now sold in thousands of stockists around the world, and has 5 of it’s own stores worldwide ; 2 in London England, 1 in Brighton, England (the hometown of Dan and his family), Paris and Hong Kong. The online website is one of the most viewed websites’s worldwide to this day (www.irregularchoice.com), and is largely due to the fact every aspect of design within the brand and it’s stores is by Dan.
He has a very clear vision which is never swayed but is brought to life within the Irregular Choice stores.The Irregular Choice fans responded so positively to the introduction of Irregular Choice stores that that is where the future of the brand lies. When a Stacked wooden hand carved heel with Scalloped fabric upper is displayed in the window of an Irregular choice store, the fans gravitate towards it, not only as artwork, but they see it as capturing a piece of fashion history. Between the details of the 3D vinyl coated purple velvet wall surrounding the Hong Kong Store, or the mirrored mannequins and flashing rainbow staircase of the London Carnaby Street store, the trips to IC are always memorable. The shoes are presented on floating light up shelves and the accessories are neatly folded onto multi-coloured tiles. Irregular Choice has not only taken over the retail world, but also the accessories market over the past couple of years. IC now produces and sell hundreds of items from rings and bracelets adorning the shoe-like charms, to donut scented I-phone cases and Bunny Teapots. This year we also saw the launch of Irregular Choice sunglasses, in limited quantity which have already taken everybody by storm. As per the Dan Sullivan touch, the cat shaped sunglasses range in colour, from the turquoise star encrusted and red velvet to bright pink. They come in a floral IC glasses case with detachable flower trims.
Irregular Choice clothing was launched in 2010 and has also been selling strong. Featuring the IC accents and prints, the clothing collections range from summer dresses and cute short shorts, to sequin snoods and paper thin evening scarves to leopard print leggings (a Nicki Minaj favourite).
The ‘Horse and Carridge’ Wedding collection was also launched in 2010 and has been a favourite for buyers and customers worldwide. Delicate glass heels to ornate flower trims, these are the perfect wedding shoe.
In 2012 Dan Sullivan is launching his first ‘Dan Sullivan Line’ straight to retail (online at www.irregularchoice.com) and is set to go live July 2012. These styles are jaw dropping and not for the feint of heart. It’s Irregular Choice Squared! Dan decided to go straight to retail with these, as a thank you to all the dedicated fans who have followed the brand over the years. The limited quantities and no repeats, will mean each shoe is truly special and hard to find. Each month between now and Feb 2013, Dan will release new DS styles online to keep the customers happy and excited for what’s next to come.
Each season Dan comes up with a new print theme for Irregular Choice which will be the outsole of each shoe in that collection, as well as the design on the shoe box and more recently he has also incorporated these characters and themes into flooring and wallpaper options for our stores. Our wholesale customers around the world also buy into these theme packs each season so that they too can express the brand’s ethos and creative energy into their stores.This has been an Irregular trait since the start in ’99 and will forever more. It’s a way for fans to keep up to date and able to collect the latest styles. Our shoe linings also change every season to a new colour and fabric. Past favourites have been the SS10 orange velvet or the AW11 multicoloured spots.
Irregular Choice has become a favourite for celebrities too, who also like to set trends and be the first in a new style. Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Whoopi Goldberg, Audrey Kitching, Audrina Patridge, Taylor Swift, Willow Smith, Jessie J, Paloma Faith, Rita Ora and Agyness Deyn to name a few.The collections are often seen in the pages of Elle, Vogue, Glamour, Instyle, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, People, Grazia, Look, Star and Cosmopolitan as well as online in fashion blogs.
Irregular Choice creates a new Look Book to present each collection to the buyers, press and fans every season , making sure each is different from the last and stands away from the market. Some past favourites have been an English Country Farm, a 70’s Rocker London Café, a LA Silverlake diary, as well as some appearances from Cindy. The latest was featuring US blogger and designer Audrey Kitching.
Over the past 12 years Irregular choice has made itself a considerable niche in the footwear and fashion markets globally. It is sold in over 200 countries worldwide and has over 1 million google searches a month. It seems the demand for the brand is only just beginning. The future of Irregular Choice is held within the speciality products Dan develops, and how they are sold to the customer in their own retail stores. Over the next 12-36 months Dan wants to open 8-10 more Irregular Choice stores across the world, always stocking the freshest and most innovative designs to come straight from his family’s factory. The limited edition quantities produced and fast moving pace means the demand is instantly met by consumers and that means there is no end for the future of the brand.
Watch this space…