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51 minutes | Jan 21, 2022
Ep. 20 - Patrick Frei, about making shoes with an own identity
In this episode you'll get to meet the very charismatic bespoke shoemaker Patrick Frei from Germany. He made a name of himself more widely when he won the World Championships in Shoemaking in 2018, and is seen by many as one of the greatest shoemakers around today. He works out of his workshop in Freiburg in Southwest of Germany, together with his shoemaking partner Kazuya Kimura. For those of you who have seen shoes made by the Patrick Frei workshop, you'll know they have a distinct personal character, an originality and identity one can't find anywhere else. How one achieves this is one of the main topics of our conversation, but we also we talk about his rather special way into shoemaking sort of through juggling on the streets of South America, about his interesting approach on lastmaking, about the balance between tradition and playfulness, about his obsession with small details, and much more.
47 minutes | Nov 14, 2021
Ep. 19 - Jacques Kress, Tanneries Haas, about calf leather tanning
For this episode I once again was able to sit down with the interviewee in person. A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Germany and France, and one of the stops was Tanneries Haas, one of the leading calf leather tanneries in Europe. Here I met Jacques Kress, Export manager and responsible for all the Tanneries Haas' clients from the shoe industry, who has a background as European agent for Allen Edmonds. In this conversation with Jacques we'll get to know the background of the famous tannery, we go through the process of chrome tanning and the rather special way they work with their customers, we talk about how the luxury goods market have taken over from the shoe industry as the main customer for quality calf, discuss the environmental impact of chrome tanning, and much more.
37 minutes | Oct 8, 2021
Ep. 18 - André Simha, about collecting shoes
In this episode we are meeting a proper shoe collector - André Simha, from Geneva, Switzerland. Known to many as andrel42 on Instagram, where he shows off his seriously impressive shoe collection, with around 300 pairs of welted shoes from literally all over the world. For over four decades he's had a big interest in classic shoes, and owns everything from the most famous brands down to very obscure new makers very few have heard of. We talk about what it is that drives him to continue to buy new shoes, discuss practical things like storage and shoe care, gets his experience of various shoemaking countries and brands, and much more.
53 minutes | Aug 1, 2021
Ep. 17 - Nicholas Templeman, about the experience ordering bespoke shoes
This time we're going to go in-depth on the experience of ordering bespoke shoes, this from a bespoke shoemakers viewpoint. Nicholas Templeman is an independent bespoke maker based in London, England, who left his job at the legendary workshop of John Lobb to set up his own brand. He has a reputation of being very service-minded, going that extra length to make both the process and the final products something special for the clients. We talked a lot on the customer experience topic, but also about for example his journey into shoemaking, about pros and cons with traditional British ways of doing bespoke fittings, about Covid and what a mess it has made of the bespoke footwear and clothing worlds in many regards, and much more.
40 minutes | May 16, 2021
Ep. 16 - Rezső Kuti, Vass Shoes, about handmade shoes from Hungary
In this episode I talk with Rezső Kuti of the Hungarian brand Vass Shoes, certainly the most famous shoe brand of the country, who've been making hand welted fully handmade shoes since the 1970's. Rezső worked as Sales Manager for the company for about a decade and built up its internationally successful MTO programme, he then spent a couple of years as Factory Manager for Heinrich Dinkelacker's Budapest factory and started the brand Passus Shoes, before re-joining Vass as Sales Consultant about 1,5 years ago. We of course talk a lot about Vass, about the reasons for the brand's fame around the world, about the massive challenges that the covid situation has put them in and how they've run a lot of sales simply to not have to lay off their shoemakers and staff, etc, but also about the Hungarian quality shoe business in general, with a long heritage and a characteristic style as a base, where most still do everything all by hand.
42 minutes | Mar 21, 2021
Ep. 15 - Leon Fan, Medallion Shoes, about succeeding in China
In this episode we meet Leon Fan, who together with Kevin Li founded the famous shoe store Medallion Shoes, now with two huge brick and mortar stores in Beijing and Shanghai in China. They have sort of become the Chinese equivalent to the Isetan Men's shoe department in Tokyo, Japan, in the way it's not only setting a big mark on the huge domestic market, but also internationally. This also goes for the brand of fully handmade Ready to Wear, Made to Order and bespoke shoes Acme Shoemaker, where Leon Fan also is a co-founder. We of course talked a lot about Medallion Shoes and how they have worked to become so successful, but also about things like the Chinese classic quality shoe market in general and about the increasingly interesting field of quality shoe brands and shoemakers coming out of China.
64 minutes | Oct 31, 2020
Ep. 14 - Q&A Special with Daniel Wegan, Catella Shoemaker
The Shoegazing Podcast is back, this time with a new type of special edition episodes that will pop-up every now and then, called Q&A Specials. Basically you listeners and readers of Shoegazing.com get to ask questions to some famous names from the classic shoe industry. This round is with Daniel Wegan, the Swede who made a name of himself working at the bespoke department of Gaziano & Girling in England for ten years. He placed second in the World Championships in Shoemaking 2018, and then won the title in 2019. Last year he left G&G to start his own bespoke brand, Catella Shoemaker. In this Q&A Special though, it’s you who have decided the topics. A big thanks to all who sent in questions, couldn’t fit in all, but we got a lot covered in the near hour we talked, among other things Daniel’s view on the current boom of more casual footwear and how he thinks this will affect his business, a breakdown on why bespoke shoes cost so much, about preventing work-related injuries as a shoemaker, how he works with the bottom of the lasts, why he is often wearing cheap New Balance shoes himself, and much more. Enjoy the listen!
38 minutes | Sep 13, 2020
Ep. 13 - Carina Eneroth, Skomakeri Framåt, about the situation for cobblers
This time it’s all about shoe repairs and cobblers. I met up with Carina Eneroth of Skomakeri Framåt, which sort of translates to Cobblery Forward, a cobbler and bespoke shoemaker based in Stockholm, Sweden. She’s been in the business for almost four decades now, and apart from being one of the owners of Skomakeri Framåt, with a Royal Warrant of Appointment to the Swedish Royal family, she’s also on the board for the Swedish Cobbler’s Association. With the mature shoe repair industry in Sweden as a base, but with lots of international lookouts, we talked some about the history of the cobbler trade, and a lot about the current situation with both how corona has affected the industry, but also how things were before and likely will be in the future. An interesting talk for all who want to know more about cobbler’s situation today.
32 minutes | Aug 9, 2020
Ep. 12 - Kostas Mandilaris, The Noble Shoe, about selling shoes digitally
We live in a digital world, and nowadays a lot of both marketing and sales takes place solely online in various ways. One online shoe retailer who have successfully used all the digital possibilities is Kostas Mandilaris of The Noble Shoe, who sells among others Carlos Santos, Paolo Scafora and Crockett & Jones. In this episode we talk about the benefits and challenges with selling relatively expensive quality shoes only online, about how to work with digital marketing in various ways, and much more. This is actually the first episode that’s been recorded after the coronavirus has turned the world upside down, and since one can’t travel like normal and I very much prefer to do these podcast interviews in person, we will likely see some more local Nordic folks represented the coming months. Luckily, we have lots of interesting shoe people up here.
18 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
Ep. 11 - Takashi Fukuda, Isetan, about Isetan Men’s influence on the quality shoe scene
For this episode I met Takashi Fukuda, who is a legendary buyer at the department store Isetan Men’s in Tokyo. For many years he has been the head buyer at their shoe department, and has been highly influential on what will be found on the shoe shelves at Isetan Men’s. Isetan is a Japanese chain of department stores, with it’s huge flagship store in Shinjuku in central Tokyo. There they have one building dedicated to women’s fashion and more, and one whole building with only men’s clothing and accessories. The shoe department of Isetan Men’s is likely the largest one in the world when it comes to quality shoes. It is an incredible place for shoe lovers, with everything from low-end Blake stitched shoes up to some of the best bespoke shoes in the world, and everything in between. I usually travel to Japan and Tokyo once a year, and the first day I arrive I always head directly to Isetan Men’s to browse the shelves and to see what’s new since my last visit. For makers of quality shoes, not just Japanese but from all over the world, Isetan Men’s is the single most prestigious store to be represented at. They have a huge impact on what will be popular among the Japanese, which together with the US is the largest market for quality shoes there is. And since other stores and shoe agencies from around the world always have an eye at Isetan Men’s, what is found here often quickly get traction also in Europe, the US and elsewhere as well. So, I sat down to talk with Takashi Fukuda about the impact that Isetan Men’s has had on the shoe industry in Japan, and abroad, how they work when bringing in new brands, and how they are going to keep its relevance in the increasingly digital world. Takashi Fukuda isn’t the best English speaker, hope for leniency, but I’m sure you’ll find it a good listen anyway.
19 minutes | May 22, 2020
Ep. 10, Jonathan Church, Cheaney, about leaving private label production
This episode was recorded at the Micam shoe fair in Milan, Italy, back in February. In this episode we’re meeting Jonathan Church, one of the owners of the British firm Cheaney & Sons. Jonathan has worked in the footwear industry for three decades, first in the firm bearing his family name, Church’s, later with Cheaney. Cheaney was one of the last Northampton based shoe factories to transcend from focusing on Private Label to sell shoes under their own name, which they did after Jonathan and his cousin William Church acquired the company in 2009. It has resulted in a massive increase in both turnover and profits. Our talk focus around this topic, but we also talk about his experience of the Prada takeover of Church’s, and about Brexit.
29 minutes | Apr 24, 2020
Ep. 9 - Robin Chang, about Asian-made quality shoes
This time you will meet Robin Chang, founder of the leading quality shoe store in Taiwan, Oak Room, located in the capital Taipei. He has been involved in the shoe business for many years, and is considered one of the foremost experts on the classic shoe industry in Asia. In this episode we will focus on the situation for factories making classic quality shoes as well as bespoke shoemakers in Asia, outside of Japan. It’s a topic that many in Europe or the US know very little of. Things are happening quickly in this part of the world, and this industry has come further than many believe. We will talk about how China has already moved away from being a low cost production country for shoes, nowadays it’s countries like Laos and Vietnam where manufacturing of quality shoes is growing the quickest. This has meant that we now see a lot of new Chinese independent shoemakers making fully handmade shoes, raised in a shoe industry that in parts have moved on, and now thanks to social media they can reach customers themselves. We also talk about for example how the very affordable, often very well-made Asian made quality shoes will be pushing European manufacturers, as they come into play as proper competition, we will go into the situation with customers in the domestic countries, and much, much more. You have a very informative half an hour in front of you, enjoy!
30 minutes | Mar 20, 2020
Ep. 8 - Richard Utting, Loake, about succeeding internationally
This episode was recorded at the Micam shoe fair in Milan, Italy, back in February. I sat down with Richard Utting, Export Manager at Loake, the famous British manufacturer of Goodyear welted shoes. Loake was a brand that, contrary to many other Northampton based companies, first got big on the domestic market and then went on to grow internationally. Richard Utting has been a large part of this journey, and we had a very interesting talk about everything from how to succeed internationally and why it’s beneficial to be on different markets, to how brand building has increased importance also for makers of classic shoes and of course about Brexit.
34 minutes | Mar 1, 2020
Ep. 7 - Christophe Corthay, about shoes and art
Christophe Corthay is a legendary bespoke shoemaker from France. He has spent more than three decades making shoes, previously with his brother Pierre at Maison Corthay, but nowadays he runs Atelier du Tranchet together with Sebastian "Toulouz" Algans and Phillippe de Paillette. Those who’ve seen their shoes know that most of them are truly artistic creations, that looks like nothing you see from other brands. So I decided to talk to Christophe Corthay about the sometimes slightly controversial topic: shoes and art.
36 minutes | Jan 19, 2020
Ep. 6 - Maslow So, Mori of Shoemakers, about merging bespoke and factory-made
In this episode of the Shoegazing Podcast I met Maslow So from Hong Kong, the man behind the brand Mori of Shoemakers, who in a very interesting way try to combine elements from bespoke shoes with factory-made RTW shoes. Mori has various bespoke shoemakers from around the world designing lasts and models, and then a factory in China producing hand welted lovely looking shoes offered at a very competitive price. We sat down and talked about this project, and about merging bespoke and factory-made.
30 minutes | Dec 15, 2019
Ep. 5 - Hiro Yanagimachi, about the Japanese bespoke shoe scene
Meet the famous shoemaker Hiro Yanagimachi, one of the pioneers of the new wave of Japanese bespoke shoemaking. When he started his business two decades ago there were only a few Japanese making bespoke shoes, today there’s more than 50 bespoke shoemakers in the country, now one of the leading scenes in the world. How this came to be is what we focused our discussion around.
40 minutes | Nov 24, 2019
Ep. 4 - Tom Brone, Sons of Henrey, about starting a new shoe brand
What's the main challenges when setting up a new shoe brand, how is it to be a small player working together with a big factory, and how do you succeed in today's highly competitive market? These are some of the questions that Tom Brone, the man behind the brand Sons of Henrey, answers in this episode.
46 minutes | Oct 25, 2019
Ep. 3 - Daniel Wegan, about dedication
Hear bespoke shoemaker Daniel Wegan talk about dedication, which took him to the bespoke department of Gaziano & Girling, made him the head of the same department, and this year he won the World Championships in Shoemaking. He also gives a bunch of advice to aspiring shoemakers.
28 minutes | Sep 17, 2019
Ep. 2 - Yohei Fukuda, about brand building
In this episode, I met the famous Japanese bespoke shoemaker Yohei Fukuda, who besides making some of the finest shoes in the world, also have been very successful with creating a brand image, something quite difficult especially for small bespoke shoemakers. It’s around this topic we focused our discussion.
39 minutes | Jul 18, 2019
Ep. 1 - Patrik Löf, Skoaktiebolaget, about multi-brand shoe stores
For the first edition of the Shoegazing Podcast, I sat down with Patrik Löf, founder and owner of the famous Swedish shoe shop Skoaktiebolaget, to talk about the journey they have been on and about the past, current and future situation for multi-brand men’s shoe stores.
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