Tamara Henriques began her career at American Vogue. A childhood spent wearing bog standard (and bog colored) wellies, had given Henriques a fetish for footwear – Vogue led her to explore a world of shoes beyond her Wellingtons. She soon began designing her own label.
During a trip to a Hong Kong shoe factory, Tamara discovered a printing process thought too laborious to use widely. Elaborate designs were being printed onto children’s rubber Wellingtons and Tamara spotted unlimited potential in adapting this technique to adult boots. She packed in the dainty shoes and went back to her rubber roots to create the urbanized welly.
Her friends at Vogue loved the idea and promptly shot her first floral pair in May 2000. Thomas Pink and Paul Smith were next on her hitlist and soon snapped up her fabulous designs.
Henriques’ prints have since bloomed into fashion; stripes, polka dots, paisley, plaids, hearts and animal prints are included in her current collection. She has also begun expanding the models of rainboots, with a kitten heel boot and now a Western Welly for Urban Cowgirls.
By her own admission, Tamara never anticipated the extraordinary global appeal of the patterned boot. Today they sell in over 250 stores in the US alone, as well as hundreds more all over the world, including UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, Italy and Scandinavia. There are boots for cold winter rain, and lighter models for spring showers and warmer climates. In addition to her own line, she has been sought out by a number of top design houses, making a swirly boot for Paul Smith and a different boot every year for LVMH subsidiary Pink. Her Regatta stripe boot won a prestigious design award while her argyle, tweed and toile boots feature in a number of design museums around the world.
Henriques still lives in her wellie boots in Europe, but she won’t even allow green ones in her house. She wore her black flowery boots all summer and is currently wearing her new cowboy boots every day.