How Hunter Boots Became an Icon of British Fashion
29th September 2015
By Alison Millington
Delve into the history of Hunter’s go-to Wellington boots, and find out who's to thank for their rise to fame, from war trenches to Kate Moss’ perfect pins.
While Hunter boots may now be the go-to rubber Wellingtons in over 30 countries, you may not know that the Edinburgh-based company, formed under the name of the North British Rubber Company in 1856, has war trenches and Kate Moss’ perfect pins to thank for its rise to footwear fame.
We've rounded up the top moments in Hunter history that have made the Wellies the perfect friends for feet come rain or shine (but mostly rain)...
The company saw a boost in sales after being commissioned by the War Office to design boots suitable for protecting soldiers in the trenches during World War One. After producing over a million pairs during the period, the company was once again asked to whip up more wellies for the boys in 1939.
The Original Green Wellington, now the symbol of the Hunter brand, saw the light of day for the first time in 1956 and quickly became the top boot choice among royals and landowners alike.
The company was awarded a Royal Warrant from the Duke of Edinburgh in 1977 followed by the same accolade from the Queen in 1986\. If Royal Warrants weren’t enough endorsement, Lady Diana Spencer was spotted wearing Hunter Originals in her engagement photos.
_James McCauley/REX Shutterstock_
Kate Moss stepped in to save the day during a tough period for the business – the model was spotted wearing the boots as part of her Glastonbury festival outfit in 2005, causing the brand to kick off a new theme of “being outstanding in every field.” Clever.
After being bought out in 2006, the Hunter Boot Ltd was born, opening up doors for international expansion and allowing the brand to finally hit American shores - the same year, Hunter opened a showroom on 7th Avenue in New York as well as one on Carnaby Street in London.
The brand went floral in 2007 when it launched a range of RHS wellies at the Chelsea Flower Show, kicking off its ongoing relationship with the Royal Horticultural Society and giving the nod to other brands and designers to get on board. Hunter has since created bespoke boots for the likes of Jack Wills and Cowshed.
Not wanting to leave athletes out of the mix, Hunter sent special gold boots to every member of the Great Britain Olympic Team who took gold at Beijing.
Jimmy Choo was the first high fashion designer to collaborate with Hunter in 2009, producing a crocodile print boot that saw sales skyrocket worldwide. A second collaboration with the designer was launched in 2011, and the Hunter brand has since teamed up with the likes of Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton for similar launches.
The company posted 16m in sales profit in 2010 after David Cameron gifted President Barack Obama’s two daughters, Natasha and Malia, with pairs of pink and purple boots when he visited Washington DC in July.
The boots found their footing in festival style this year, with celebrities such as Bradley Cooper and Alexa Chung spotted sporting the wellies at Glastonbury. Poppy Delevigne and Suki Waterhouse even had personalised pairs. We’re not jealous.
_Jonathan Hordle/REX Shutterstock_