Freestyle is incorporated as a closed corporation founded in 1985 by Ethwyn Munro and now managed and owned since 1996 by Grant N. Munro. Freestyle exports through partners to the USA, Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana. The main market for Freestyle products is South Africa.
The factory is based in Ottery, Cape Town. Our current capacity is 400 pairs of shoes per day. Approximately 40-50 staff are employed. The product range includes satchels, handbags. belts, hats and shoe-care products. The footwear range includes shoes and boots made by the stitch-down and stuck-on method, slotted and hand-lasted sandals and specialised footwear according to exclusive designs.
Footwear consists of mens, ladies and children's boots and shoes, designed for the outdoor market and work-wear.
Registered brands include Freestyle, Cape Vellie Company, Bush Treads and Mates by the Millers. In 2005, Freestyle began producing the Der Lederhandler brand under license.
Bovine cow leathers and Buffalo in suedes, nubucks, waxy and oiled leathers (mainly in full-grain). Exotic hides such as Springbok, Kudu and Ostrich are also available. Wherever possible procurement of leathers and other components is placed locally to support the establishment of local skills and industry.
The business began as a hobby following Ethwyn's interest in leatherwork that was sparked by a trip to Greece in 1972. In 1985 after retiring as a professional classical actress, her stage name was Ethwyn Grant, she started a stall on Greenmarket Square as one of the original founding stallholders. Working at night and beginning with a start-up capital of R200 she worked determinedly in her newfound craft, often working on the stall during the day and making products at night for the following days trading. She was greatly assisted by George Henry de Lange, who is still involved on a consultancy basis to this day, with the technical aspects of the craft and other influential enablers included Trudi Schneider, Clive Carter, Pieter van Niekerk, Sal and Stan Miller and Fred Johansen. As the business grew my sisters, Lindsay and Tracy and my dad Norm all joined in what became a family endeavour. The business enabled me, Grant, to complete a tertiary education during and after which I joined the fledgling business full-time.