Originally Posted by DocHolliday
I'm finding this thread interesting in that I suspect it highlights SF's tenuous relationship with traditional artisanship. All pure speculation on my part, so feel free to skip ahead to the next post, but ...
For all our talk about how much we value the traditional manufacturing methods, we tend to grade clothing on an unforgiving scale. Fritzl is selling traditional Hungarian shoemaking, as I understand it, and I doubt many Hungarian shoemakers were ever in a position to toss out 3/4 of their available leather. (I doubt many shoemakers anywhere were in a position to toss out 3/4 of their available leather.) As such, I would expect that shoes made in Hungary, in the traditional manner, by an individual shoemaker, would typically have been far more rustic than those cranked out today for connoisseurs by a firm such as EG. Both Green and Lobb are engaged in an arms race of refinement, and many of the qualitative improvements we talk about here are really just aesthetic detailing. Is it fair to fault other shoemakers who exist outside of that? If the paprika leather is more rustic looking, so what? Does it perform less well or make the shoe less durable? I don't know, but I doubt it. No more so than a Lobb outlasts an AE.
The appeal of the paprika, as I see it, is that it represents something other, a traditional way of doing things that is now almost lost. How well the paprika represents that, I don't know. But I wouldn't buy paprika wanting flawless modern craftsmanship in exquisite materials, but specifically because it isn't that.
Anyway, just some thoughts. (No insult to Mr. Kiss' work intended, Fritzl.)
I am d'accord with what you're saying. If you want a modern-looking, "flawless" (whatever the forumites understand as that), mass-marketed product, don't buy from Mr. Kiss. But visit him only once in his 4mÂ² workroom and you will instantly see that there is more to bespoke shoemaking than being bitchy about minor details. The methods of shoemaking in general may not have changed, but the approach did. As you have said: The way I saw this old man make a shoe is now, sadly, almost gone.
As for the general discussion that evolved here: I did not expect this topic to develop the way it did. All I wanted was to show the way maybe our grandfathers would have polished their shoes before they were in danger of getting a sad frown from their colleages, accompanied with a "Come on, don't you have some Saphir Renovateur to prevent the leather from drying out? Don't you see these cracks on the quarters? Don't you read THE FORUMS?!". I was trying to point out that black can be an interesting choice of colour for shoes, especially when everyone finds brown shoes so droolworthy. I am honestly not expert enough as to judge if Mr. Kiss used the best leather out there for this shoe (I doubt he wouldn't use the very best leather he could find, especially for a client nd not for himself). All I can say is that the shoe (and leather) looks awesome in real life, fits great and wears very, very comfortably. If course, to some here, these shoes can't hold a candle, stylewise, to G&G's offerings. But they weren't designed to do so. Don't confuse quality with personal preference.
If anyone is interested, I could take off the polish I applied and treat the leather with what is nowadays considered proper care, just for comparison's sake. I'm sure, reactions as regards leather quality will be uite different.