Original Northamptonshire Kinky Boots boss to share how he went from factory floor to global fame this month

The original Kinky Boots boss, Steve Pateman pictured wearing his own creations at the Kinky Boots showing at Becket's Park last month.
The original Kinky Boots boss, Steve Pateman pictured wearing his own creations at the Kinky Boots showing at Becket's Park last month.

A celebration of the Kinky Boots story and its roots in the Northamptonshire shoe industry will take place this month at The Guildhall.

At the ‘Kinky Boots: A Northamptonshire Story’ event, Steve Pateman, owner of the Earls Barton-based shoemaking firm W.J Brooks, will tell his story of turning the family business around, finding global fame and where it took him next.

By the early nineties, demand for traditional, high-quality, men’s leather men’s brogues had slumped and Steve was on the brink of closing his factory.

Salvation came when a store selling footwear for cross-dressers and drag queens contacted him, asking if he could make high-heeled boots in male sizes.

This change in fortune inspired the 2005 Kinky Boots film, which features the historic Tricker’s shoe factory in St Michael’s Road, as its main location and includes many scenes in and around Northampton.

Steve Pateman said: “Who would have thought it? A simple business project has created so much interest. Two BBC documentaries, a hit film, Broadway and West End award winning musicals and now my autobiography.

“It is exciting to see the story having gone from our small village of Earls Barton, around the world and finally coming back home to the heart of British shoemaking.”

Steve will be joined by Rebecca Shawcross, Northampton Museums and Art Gallery’s Senior Shoe Curator, to talk about the creation of kinky boots and the history of glamour footwear. There will also be a special display of original boots from the film.

In 2012, the Kinky Boots story was transformed into a hit musical on Broadway and the West End, which will be showing at the Royal & Derngate Theatre later this month.

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “This exclusive event will be a celebration of Northampton’s famous shoe and boot heritage and a chance to hear Steve’s inspirational story.

“The Kinky Boots film and musical have put the town on a global stage and we’re really excited that the musical is coming home to Northampton.”

Tickets for this event, on Saturday, 22 September, between 10am and 12.30pm, will cost £15 each and include an exclusive discount for ‘Kinky Boots the Musical,’ which runs from 19 September to 6 October at the Royal & Derngate.

To book a place, call 01604 838110 or visit www.eventbrite.co.uk and search ‘Kinky Boots.’