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Sneaker Chat: Fern Merrills

To celebrate the launch of our new sneaker collaboration with Goral, we visited three Sheffield locals each with their own creative story to tell - and a pair of our sneakers on their feet. You can also check out our Sheffield Guide on Google Maps which pulls together all the recommendations from Fern, Jonathan and Luke.

You may recognise Fern Merrills, one half of creative agency Department Two, as she has very kindly featured in many of our previous campaigns.

Billy Tannery x Goral Leather Sneakers Fern Merrills

For those that don't know you, can you tell us who you are and what you do?

I'm an art director and the co-founder of Department Two, a Sheffield based creative studio. I founded Department Two in 2018 with my now husband Arran Cross, who is a brilliant commercial and fine art photographer. Together we produce photography and video campaigns for premium, mostly independent brands across the fashion, travel and lifestyle industries.

How long have you lived and worked in Sheffield?

I've lived in Sheffield all my life. In fact, I was born just a stone's throw away from our studios at the old Jessop hospital.

Billy Tannery x Goral Leather Sneakers Fern Merrills 2

What's the one thing that an outsider won't know about Sheffield that they should?

Sheffield's a bit of a hidden gem in my opinion. It's home to some of the best independent coffee shops and eateries in the UK and there's an abundance of creativity to be found across its seven hills. One of my tips for for food and also shopping is a food hall called Kommune.

There's a lot of stunning countryside nearby. Do you have a favourite spot?

Yes, Sheffield is right next to the Peak District which is a real benefit. Scaling Mam Tor is always rewarding - both for the scenes to behold and the calories you'll burn! Not far away is Stanage Edge which has a great walk and some rock climbing spots. Slightly further north you'll also find Slippery Stones, an amazing wild swimming spot.

Sheffield played a major part in the Industrial Revolution, do you think the same manufacturing spirit remains in the creative life of the city today?

I do, yes. Both Arran and I come from families who worked in the steel industry and although that has taken a hit in recent decades, the impetus to create and produce runs deep in the people of this city. We've seen a resurgence of interest in British-made and quality craftsmanship, and Sheffield has played - and will continue to play - a big part in that.

Exceptional Leather Sneakers - Made in Sheffield

50 pairs of our limited edition goat leather sneakers will be available to pre-order between 14th - 24th October. After this they will be made-to-order in Goral's Sheffield factory for delivery in early December, which also makes them a perfect festive gift.


Billy Tannery x Goral Leather Sneakers Fern Merrills

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