Chances are if you’re female and grew up in the 90s, some time circa 1997 you either owned or dreamed of owning a pair of jelly shoes.
Not the kind picked up at the seaside – thinner, flatter and not glittery enough to emulate the Spice Girls in that way you and your friends so wanted – but the bright, chunky, and realistically impractical for an eight year old to wear to school versions the high street offered.
The kind Juju Footwear has been producing in their Northampton factory since 1986; Juju tip, the classic described above is the Juju Babe (obvs).
With the girls whose mothers wouldn’t buy them jelly’s now women with their own dollar to spend however they so wish, Juju is enjoying something of a resurgence in 2014.
Hence for their SS14 collection – titled ‘Always In Colour’ – the label cherry picked a team comprising some of the finest twentysomethings of their respective fields to shoot a look book.
“We had so much fun!” says Hayley Louisa Brown of the shoot. “Apart from the bit where the lighting company I use sent us the wrong cables and I had to make my assistant get his electrician on and rewire loads of stuff…”
Sometime Clash photographer – responsible for that Nas cover and countless other Clash portraits – Brown worked alongside Mushpit co-founder, the stylist Char Roberts.
“We were both on the same wavelength with references and stuff, so it was really nice to just be able to let her do her thing and know that it would be exactly what I wanted. And she's a lovely human, which helps.”
Elsewhere on the shoot, Boom Nails gal Emma Zentner took care of talons while models came via O Youth, the street-casting agency Roberts runs with Sharmadean Reid and Rae Elliman. Boys on the day were represented by make-up artist Thom Walker and hair stylist Kota Suizu.
Casting the girls to ‘fit’ the shoes was perhaps one of the most important elements of the shoot, and why the finished thing works so well. “Yes, Issey from O Youth was amazing throughout this project,” Hayley agrees.
“We really wanted fresh faces for the shoot, real girls who all had super strong personalities that would shine through and come together to become something really diverse and reminiscent of that time during the 90s where every single supermodel was totally individual.”
Reflecting brand identity and the names of the shoes was equally important to Juju, as one look at the label’s Tumblr page – a platform Juju has a strong connection with as a way to engage fans – suggests.
Brown’s own social outlet of choice is Instagram, where 2,732 followers head to devour her selfies with Sir Quentin Blake and Pharrell Williams, latest hair chop and much prized culinary champions. Far from arrogant, it’s a world that invites praise and respect.
“I've been lucky enough to make friends with a couple of photographers who I really admire through it, which is amazing to me as I still can't believe some of them know who I am!” she confides.
Diplomatically she offers, “I also think it's a great place to cheer people on, when I see my friends, and even people who aren't my friends, posting something amazing I love that it's so easy to encourage them and congratulate them on doing a good job.”
She identifies herself as a Seven kind of girl, but what we really wanna know, what we really really wanna know, is her jelly experience the first time around.
“All of my friends at school had high heeled jellies and my mum wouldn't let me have them – I remember being pretty distraught about the situation,” she says.
“I also blame that incident for my inability to walk in heels now.”
Words: Zoe Whitfield