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The official birth of Church's shoes started in 1873 in a small factory run by Thomas Church, his wife and his two sons. In 1881 William introduced the revolutionary concept of right and left shoes in the "Adaptable" model, advertised to be available in a variety of widths, materials and unheard-of half sizes. In the 1890's the brand’s range of sporty and casual footwear expanded considerably, echoing the continuously evolving tastes of the clientele. The Roaring Twenties saw major upheaval in terms of lifestyle, culture and fashion. In 1921, Church's opened its first boutique in London and introduced the brand's first women's shoe, "Archmoulded", shaped to the foot's arch. In the brand's second royal encounter, HM Queen Elizabeth II visited Church's and bestowed the company with the prestigious Queen's Award to Industry for excelling in exports. This achievement further demonstrated Church's growing recognition as a distinguished name in the international footwear industry. In 1999, with the support of the family, Church's was acquired by the Prada Group, a paradigm of artisanal excellence in its own right and the ideal ally to help the shoemaker take its brand to the next level. Prada, whose luxury leather goods and shoes have enjoyed international renown for over a century, combined its inherent appreciation of heritage with a more marketing-oriented mentality to evolve Church's global strategy.

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