Glasgow-born Alan Mair jumped on the early ‘70s platform shoes fashion fad and ran with it – or at least as fast as one can in four-inch-high heels.
In fact, Mair, who tasted great success in Scotland in the 1960s as the bassist in popular beat group the Beatstalkers, reckons that if you bought a pair of platform boots between 1971 and 1975, then there’s a fair chance it came from his London boutique.
Suffice to say, Mair’s stacked heel boots were massively popular among ‘70s clubbers, both north and south of the border.
Mair opened his own shop in Kensington Market around 1970 shortly after his group the Beatstalkers broke up and would eventually sell products to a whole host of famous and soon-to-be-famous faces, including Yes, Santana, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Uriah Heep.
A year into running his shop, Mair offered the role of shop manager to none other than Freddie Mercury, who had yet to make it big with Queen.
Mair said: “Freddie would say he had this little band and that he’d be turning professional soon. I used to think, ‘yeah, OK, I’ll believe it when I see it’.”
With Mair in the factory and Freddie on the shop floor, business was soon booming, with in excess of 1,000 pairs of boots flying out the shop every week.
And the deal was mutually beneficial, with Freddie earning more than three times the £20 per week he was getting for fronting Queen at that time.
Mair continues: “One time David Bowie comes in to see me and I ask him if he’d like a pair of boots. David told me he hadn’t any money, so I offered him a pair and said ‘Freddie will fit you’.
"Of course Freddie wasn’t known then and David wasn’t a big star yet, but there he was, Freddie Mercury on his knees fitting David Bowie with a pair of boots he can’t afford.”