Masaru Okuyama is a Japanese shoemaker who runs a bespoke shoemaking practice in Hong Kong. A fascinating, and a very brave career decision in his part, and his talent and hard work seemed to have paid off. Not only has he garnered a healthy list of international clientele (mostly from HK and China), he is now among the most recognised and acclaimed Japanese shoemakers in the world (most recently being featured for Tudor watch ad). I finally had the chance to travel to Hong Kong, and visited Okuyama-san at his well adorned atelier in Wan Chai.
Okuyama`s shoes have a certain calligraphic simplicity to them, like they`ve been shaped by just a couple of brush strokes. The lines and curves seem to be connected, and the shoes look great from many angles. A very elegant shape indeed, and on top of that, there is a touch of finesse (in details) that is now a trademark for Japanese craftsmen. Stylistically, I see his shoes more in the company of Gaziano & Girling, Aubercy, and Bestetti, than with most other Japanese shoes that I`ve seen before. Somehow I find the cosmopolitan culture and taste of Hong Kong to be more suitable, and receptive, for his style than back home in Japan. Yet himself being a protege of Chihiro Yamaguchi (Guild of Crafts), he expresses his highest admiration towards his Japanese peers, and continues to see them as good rivals. It`s certainly fascinating to see a Japanese shoemaker having a success overseas, and I can only see him prosper even more creatively from catering to a multicultural clientele from his base in Hong Kong, and maybe elsewhere in the world soon. I wish him the very best!
Okuyama`s atelier is a little oasis tucked above the busy streets of Wan Chai.
Bespoke samples on display. Okuyama favors clean, uncluttered designs that emphasise the shapes of his lasts.
Shoes have to look good from every angle
The Okuyama profile. A 2 eyelet derby in Llama skin
Single buckle monk
My favorite angle on Okuyama`s signature whole cut shoe
Insole (up in the waist)
The curved up insole provides ample support for not so shapely feet
The workbench. The small workshop is tucked behind the showroom.
Mr. Masaru Okuyama
13/F Goodfit Commercial Building, 7 FlemingRoad, Wan Chai
TEL : (+852) 2413-3999
Edited by nutcracker - 4/27/14 at 6:54am