Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 15 May 2009

New York Shoemaking Course

Twice in one day, phew!

The course has finished and the students have left. All have finished the shoes and are inspired to make more.

It is always a last minute rush to finish and people cannot believe you need 90 hours to do it, but you do.

Very satisfying moment when they try the finished pair on.

I think they all did pretty well, and the finished shoes are not bad at all. Some had more cuts and scuffs than others, but I always say that they are 'learning marks' and should not be regretted. If you have a reminder of what not to do, you don't forget so quickly.

Off to San Francisco tomorrow on the next leg of my trip. Missing my Pearl, but looking forward to the trunk show on Tuesday and many new customers. Wish me luck!

New York Shoemaking Course

Last day in New York. A bit sad I suppose. It has been a great stay. The course has been a pleasure, but a very familiar gig. The trunk show at Leffot however, was new and exciting. It went extremely well.

The response to our collection was positive; we took some orders; and it showed me that there is certainly a place for designs which stray from the well trodden path of men's leather-soled shoes. As a first venture into the US market it was very satisfying. I just hope that the show at Clift in San Francisco goes as well on Tuesday.

The surprise star of the show was the Winker Slip-on. I believe it could be a real success for us here. Steven at Leffot certainly thought so.

By the way, if you read this Steven, we would like to thank you and H for all your help and support and hope that you will host our return visit in the Fall. I think the store is a perfect showcase for our shoes and it was a pleasure working with you.

So it's goodbye to Billyburg; the beautiful people here (specially you Jesse); the wet weather (New York in Spring? Don't make me laugh); and the best doughnuts in the world.

I saw Paul W, my master shoemaker trainer guru, which was a pleasure. He seemed very happy with work and NYC, but misses shoe making. No big surprise there, old friend. With your soft hands and itchy feet, you gotta pick some tools up and hammer some leather!

The life of a shoemaker is a happy one!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

New York Shoemaking Course

So, here I am in New York City, having taught 3 days of class and done our first trunk show at Leffot in the West Village. It's been really exciting and we got a very positive response from customers. We met a lot of new faces and we even had a carreducker follower turn up all the way from Pittsburgh, we love you M, you know who you are.

Leffot is some shoe store. In fact those words do not do it justice. Perhaps shoe mecca would be better. Sparse and sophisticated; wallpapers by my old friend Ali at Timorous Beasties; a huge sweep of a table; and a few choice pieces to focus the client on the array of handsome shoes. Check out the boot stool at the cash desk. All perfect for carreducker really. Thank you Steven Taffel for all your help and support.

The hit of the day was the Winker slip-on (I cannot post an image right now but check it out on the Winkers page of We have 2 more colourways in production as we speak, which we will debut at Pitti in June.

The class too has been a real success. The students all seem happy and motivated. Many blistered hands and tired arms, but they are all on target and will finish their shoes. I have taken some pics bit I am on a Mac and am not sure whether I will be able to upload them. I am hoping that this will become a regular bespoke shoemaking course here in Brooklyn.

Meeting my master shoemaker on Tuesday, Paul Wilson, who trained myself and the Other One. He now works for JL Paris as their bespoke shoe guru in the States. Based in NYC but he travels round the place. Really looking forward to seeing him again. It's been a while.

Day off today, it's sunny and warm, so I am off out to have a wander. Should be good!