COLUMBIA, SC (June 27, 2012) –- Gwen Rawls believes that a woman’s wardrobe is created from the ground up. “An elegant shoe serves as the ultimate foundation for fashion and I firmly believe there’s nothing more elegant than a finely crafted Italian shoe,” said Rawls. “More than any other part of a wardrobe—or from any other part of Europe—Italian shoes elevate a woman’s sense of style and give her the utmost of confidence to step forward in fashion.”
And coming soon, Rawls will share her own passion for Italian imported shoes with the opening of GWEN RAWLS, an Italian shoe boutique in Columbia’s Trenholm Plaza.
A South Carolina native with a love for European fashion, Rawls has traveled extensively throughout Europe but always found herself returning to Milan to explore the world’s fashion capital. “I’ve always loved fashion but my passion for shoes began in Milan,” said Rawls. “During my travels, I met more and more shoe designers and was consistently impressed with the extraordinary craftsmanship and artisanship one only sees in Italy.” As she began traveling back to Italy on a regular basis, Rawls jokingly says her background in international shipping was enormously helpful as she shipped “countless treasures” back home to South Carolina.
Like many women living in Columbia, Rawls felt her shoe shopping options were limited. In addition to buying abroad, Rawls typically traveled to boutiques in Charlotte, New York and Atlanta to find the stylish brands she loved. “But more than anything I dreamed of a boutique right in my own hometown that could offer the same Italian brands that have defined my sense of style.” That’s when Rawls first conceptualized an Italian shoe boutique that could help women in Columbia—and throughout the southeast—find their own foundation for fashion right here in the capital city.
Influenced by the Italian expression “passo con passione” (“to step with passion”), Rawls forged relationships with some of Italy’s most desired shoe designers including Roberto Cavalli, Loriblu and Luis Onofre. “I wanted to bring these incredibly crafted shoes home to the women of South Carolina,” said Rawls. “And even though a small number of these designers can be found in other markets, most of the designers we feature will not be seen anywhere else in the United States.” Adding to the exclusivity and limited selections, Rawls has also worked with several Italian designers to create her own “GWEN RAWLS” brand that will also be exclusive to her boutique.
In addition to Italian shoes, GWEN RAWLS will also carry a limited collection of high-end handbags, with special styles chosen by Rawls to compliment her boutique shoe inventory.
“At GWEN RAWLS, women will find accessibly elegant Italian shoes and bags that are limited in quantity to ensure a customer can build their own signature look. Buying a shoe from GWEN RAWLS gives customers a unique purchase that can help elevate their own sense of style and create a bold statement. I want my customers to feel empowered with their purchase and to give them a renewed sense of elegance.” Rawls emphasizes her boutique will offer an upscale but very relaxed atmosphere and that she and her staff seek to develop long-term relationships with customers to share new product as soon as it arrives from Europe.
“Columbia is in the middle of an exciting transformation as it becomes an authentic, cultured and diverse capital city,” said Rawls. “I’m so excited to offer a new boutique shoe experience that will enhance our city’s reputation for stylish retail while also giving women a real choice for high end Italian brands that have been missing in this market.”
GWEN RAWLS plans an early August opening at Trenholm Plaza and will be located near Café Caturra at 4840 Forest Drive, Suite 17. Store hours will be Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. To stay connected with GWEN RAWLS, follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GwenRawlsShoes or on Twitter @GwenRawls. You can also visit the boutique’s web site at www.gwenrawls.com.
About GWEN RAWLS: GWEN RAWLS offers an accessibly elegant Italian shoe boutique that gives women the foundation for fashion to elevate their sense of self and style. With brands that include such famed Italian designers as Roberto Cavalli, Baldan Luxury Shoes, Luciano Padovan, Loriblu and Luis Onofre, GWEN RAWLS also carries her own signature brand. With select styles and an evolving inventory of shoes and handbags, GWEN RAWLS offers uniquely designed and handcrafted products for style-conscious sophisticates. For more information, please visit www.gwenrawls.com
– Press Release