Worth reading this post in the Epaulet thread, from Mike.
Full context here: http://www.styleforum.net/showpost.p...postcount=5061
Originally Posted by Epaulet
Good points, and this is something that I've discussed in length with a few in-store customers.
Just like the UK Northampton brands (Loake, Sanders, Alfred Sargent, Trickers ), the facilities in Maine producing handsewn footwear for Yuketen, Quoddy, Eastland Made in Maine - and now Epaulet - share similar patterns and construction techniques. The styles that we're doing are existing shapes that have been around for years. If you look closely then you can see some small differences. But overall, the shapes will always be the same. This is what they do in Maine. We switched it up with Natural Chesapeake and Natural Chromexcel, but there wasn't an opportunity for me to really tweak the basic design this season.
And with regards to the other brands, you can't go wrong buying moccasins from any of us. Yuki of Yuketen is hands-down one of the most brilliant footwear designers on Earth. We still actively carry his line, and will continue to do so (our new Yuks launch next week). Quoddy speaks for itself. Eastland Made in Maine, and Oak Street both have great reputations for quality, and deservedly so.
Although it seems like these shoes are everywhere, they represent a tiny, tiny fraction of the mens shoe market as a whole. I imagine that an individual Nike facility can churn out more units in a month than the entire state of Maine does in a year. These people are artisans, and having more styles, more choices, and more brands utilizing their skills can - in my opinion - only be a good thing. The brilliance of Alden is that their special makeup program allows a huge range of individuals to put their stamp on classic shapes with unique mixes of uppers, soles, and lasts. With handsewns, I hope that all of the brands producing in Maine can carry along that feeling of excitement and variety.