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Japanese Shoes: Bespoke & RTW Super Thread - Page 181

post #2701 of 2955
Looking at the end results, my guess for nutcracker's Mystery Maker is Marquess, Fukuda or Guild of Crafts. The massive work hours explain much of the differences between Japanese and European shoemakers, though time will tell how the precious shapes and details age.

Nutty, might you have some photos of well-aged Japanese shoes?
post #2702 of 2955
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

Thanks! That is a lot of pages to scroll...

Regal is a massive company, and the last time I checked, they have 4 main factories in Japan (one factory making 800 pairs/day). I believe their output in Japan has been decreasing significantly over the years, moving out to China and elsewhere instead. While I can`t get their exact figures now, their revenue (and output) still continues to grow. Yes, not all are GYW shoes, and frankly a lot of them (probably the majority) are cemented / or blake stitched shoes made for the mass market (priced $100 and below). Thus I won`t say they are the Japanese equivalent to AE or Church. That being said, Regal does offer high-end shoes (Bespoke, hand stitched MTO etc...). The LAST magazine from last Fall has a feature story on Regal`s Bespoke division.

Central Shoes is relatively small factory, and they make high quality GYW shoes on OEM basis (Trading Post, World Footwear Gallery etc...), about 25 pairs / day output. Nice shoes

Alright, thanks for the info!

Actually started the read through now, on page 8 of 90 on my mobile SF setting... Such an awesome thread!
Quote:
Originally Posted by VRaivio View Post

Looking at the end results, my guess for nutcracker's Mystery Maker is Marquess, Fukuda or Guild of Crafts. The massive work hours explain much of the differences between Japanese and European shoemakers, though time will tell how the precious shapes and details age.

Nutty, might you have some photos of well-aged Japanese shoes?

I'll guess Marquess as well. His work is outstanding. A shame for G&G that he doesn't work for them anymore, but good for Shoji and Yugiro that they can make it on their own now.
Care to tell us nutcracker?
post #2703 of 2955
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishball View Post

Haha, yes, I agreed with you. Some of them are real craftmen, but not businessmen!

No one can serve two masters--you have to choose: to make shoes or to make money. You can't do both.
post #2704 of 2955
I am waiting for the day when an AV starts carrying Japanese shoes of this caliber. If this thread is any indication on the product, and that AV can make it accessible for those outside of Japan, that will be something...
post #2705 of 2955
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

While I can`t say much about how fast/slow European makers work, I do know a shoemaker here who spends about 160 hours making a pair. Thats pretty much twice as longer as most other makers spend........

Leaving all statements for the consumption of prospective clients out of the equation, I would say that is the actual time spent on making a pair of bespoke shoes. Important is that these figures refer to specialists who make nothing else than a particular step in production of bespoke shoes, have been doing it for many years and are highly experienced in their particular task.

Last making: 1 day.
A distinguished last maker (then in semi-retirement), told me that in his best days he could do 2 pairs of bespoke lasts a day. I mean, he reduced an oversized last down to the right size. He did not "fit-up" an existing last, nor did he cut the last from a block of wood.

Upper making: 1 - 1 1/2 days.
Making the "forme", drawing the "standard" and drawing the sectional patterns might take 2 hours, "Clicking" (cutting out) will take another hour. The time it takes to "close" (stitching together) depends very much on the design. Some designs are plain and can be done quickly, others with brogueing, hand-stitched aprons or designs that need "blocking" (pulling wet leather over a wooden board that, when dry, the leather has acquired the curve of the board) will take far more time.

Bottom making: 2 - 2 1/12 days.
Specialized "makers" will do the bottom work on 2 or 3 pairs a week. That will include finish (scraping, dying, polishing of the soles and welts) but they won't polish the uppers.

Final finish: 1/2 day.
Back in the firm's headquarters, the last gets removed, the uppers polished and a "sock" (insole liner) gets fitted).


All in all, a pair of bespoke shoes can be done in a week or 40 - 45 hours. Actually it will take longer and cannot be done in a calendar week as there a various drying times involved and all shoemaker (at a given point in time) will have more than one pair on the go.

I do not want to judge whether the shoemaker quoted spends actually 160 hours on a pair or s/he is exaggerating. While the average firm (with one man/woman working on the shoes at a given time) can turn out some 50 pairs a year, the other shoemaker can turn out only 12 or so pairs a year. That is an enormous difference which would need to be reflected in the price charged (but probably is not)..
post #2706 of 2955
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VRaivio View Post

I do not want to judge whether the shoemaker quoted spends actually 160 hours on a pair or s/he is exaggerating. While the average firm (with one man/woman working on the shoes at a given time) can turn out some 50 pairs a year, the other shoemaker can turn out only 12 or so pairs a year. That is an enormous difference which would need to be reflected in the price charged (but probably is not)..

B-S

Thnx for the informative post.
I feel bad for creating the confusion. Yes, I must have got the numbers wrong

I was told by someone else (not directly by the maker) that they spend 2x the time the others do (40 sounds just about right). So that will be 80 hrs, not 160hrs as I assumed. Thanks for the correction.
post #2707 of 2955
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

B-S

Thnx for the informative post.
I feel bad for creating the confusion. Yes, I must have got the numbers wrong

I was told by someone else (not directly by the maker) that they spend 2x the time the others do (40 sounds just about right). So that will be 80 hrs, not 160hrs as I assumed. Thanks for the correction.

I think BS estimate time may be true for normal bespoke maker in England. But I saw Japanese maker used much more time on last making, fitting, and remaking, and closing.
They also used a much more time on bottom making and finishing.
post #2708 of 2955
Checked through an old FB-conversation I had with Daniel Wegan at Gaziano and Girling where we discussed some Japanese makers, among them Marquess. Daniel said that it took Marquess 120 hours to do one pair. This was when Daniel was in Japan hanging out with Shoji and co, so should be correct.
All in all both Shoji and Yugiro got a total payment of $22/€16 an hour for their work. There's not many of the Japanese guys that make any money on this... Maybe just Koji Suzuki and some more.

He also says that most of the Japanese makers work around 12 hours a day 7 days a week. I think Fishball is quite correct here, the hours B-S quote most likely don't go for the Japanese market.
Edited by j ingevaldsson - 7/10/14 at 7:14am
post #2709 of 2955
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

I think Fishball is quite correct here, the hours B-S quote most likely don't go for the Japanese market.

These figures were not supposed to be about the Japanese market (of which I don't know anything) but were in answer to this statement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

While I can`t say much about how fast/slow European makers work,,,,,,,.

I also said it refers to shoemakers who specialise in certain production steps and have been doing their particular line of work for years, more likely for decades. I remember a few years back when member 'shoefan' was sitting-in with an English closer, he (shoefan) told me in a mixture of amazement and horror that this guy was running his sewing machine at full speed.

I also would say, central-European shoemaker (excluding the French) take even less time, as certain time-consuming aspects of shoemaking (last making, waist treatment, high stitch count) are not very high on their agenda.
post #2710 of 2955
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

These figures were not supposed to be about the Japanese market (of which I don't know anything) but were in answer to this statement.
I also said it refers to shoemakers who specialise in certain production steps and have been doing their particular line of work for years, more likely for decades. I remember a few years back when member 'shoefan' was sitting-in with an English closer, he (shoefan) told me in a mixture of amazement and horror that this guy was running his sewing machine at full speed.

I also would say, central-European shoemaker (excluding the French) take even less time, as certain time-consuming aspects of shoemaking (last making, waist treatment, high stitch count) are not very high on their agenda.

The longer time probably also reflects the fact that many Japanese shoemakers work alone (or a duo). Spigola and Hidetaka Fukaya (Il Micio), both who has a team of 4 or 5, churns out shoes much more timely. I asked Hide and I recall him say 40 hrs.
post #2711 of 2955
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

Checked through an old FB-conversation I had with Daniel Wegan at Gaziano and Girling where we discussed some Japanese makers, among them Marquess. Daniel said that it took Marquess 120 hours to do one pair. This was when Daniel was in Japan hanging out with Shoji and co, so should be correct.
All in all both Shoji and Yugiro got a total payment of $22/€16 an hour for their work. There's not many of the Japanese guys that make any money on this... Maybe just Koji Suzuki and some more.

He also says that most of the Japanese makers work around 12 hours a day 7 days a week. I think Fishball is quite correct here, the hours B-S quote most likely don't go for the Japanese market.

The Kawaguchis work too much. Considering the amount of back log orders they have, I hope they can expand their shop (with a few more apprentices) and finally get some break smile.gif
post #2712 of 2955
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

The longer time probably also reflects the fact that many Japanese shoemakers work alone (or a duo). Spigola and Hidetaka Fukaya (Il Micio), both who has a team of 4 or 5, churns out shoes much more timely. I asked Hide and I recall him say 40 hrs.

Unless some sort of production line is being set up, with makers specializing exclusively in one part of the operation, that shouldn't make a difference. Sure, more shoes can be turned out in a week with more workers, but the number of hours per pair is not going to change unless work processes are changed.

Frankly, I have a hard time envisioning why it would take 120 hours. 80-90 if one is really, really careful...or very inexperienced....but the other 40 hours or so ???

That said, the Japanese bespoke makers obviously put a great deal of energy into detailing and "presentation." It goes without saying that that's why their work is so universally admired.

And having said that, it's not yet "64 to the inch."
post #2713 of 2955
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

These figures were not supposed to be about the Japanese market (of which I don't know anything) but were in answer to this statement.
I also said it refers to shoemakers who specialise in certain production steps and have been doing their particular line of work for years, more likely for decades.

I understood that, but since Nutcracker took it for being right about Japanese as well I wrote like I did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

The Kawaguchis work too much. Considering the amount of back log orders they have, I hope they can expand their shop (with a few more apprentices) and finally get some break smile.gif

Seems like it, yes. Seems like great people, deserve better.
post #2714 of 2955
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

The longer time probably also reflects the fact that many Japanese shoemakers work alone (or a duo). Spigola and Hidetaka Fukaya (Il Micio), both who has a team of 4 or 5, churns out shoes much more timely. I asked Hide and I recall him say 40 hrs.

Well, in shoemaking every step of the production relies on the previous one: you need the last before you can make the pattern, you need the pattern before you can make the upper, you need the upper before you can do the bottom work.

Having more workers, does not necessarily speed up production. Having these workers and having them specialize in certain sections, should speed up things. But things are not equal, closing a pair of uppers takes less time than bottom-making: "It takes one closer to keep 3 or 4 "makers" in work".

You also have to get the numbers right who specializes in what, to avoid slack or bottlenecks.
post #2715 of 2955
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Unless some sort of production line is being set up, with makers specializing exclusively in one part of the operation, that shouldn't make a difference. Sure, more shoes can be turned out in a week with more workers, but the number of hours per pair is not going to change unless work processes are changed.
"
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

Well, in shoemaking every step of the production relies on the previous one: you need the last before you can make the pattern, you need the pattern before you can make the upper, you need the upper before you can do the bottom work.

Having more workers, does not necessarily speed up production. Having these workers and having them specialize in certain sections, should speed up things. But things are not equal, closing a pair of uppers takes less time than bottom-making: "It takes one closer to keep 3 or 4 "makers" in work".

You also have to get the numbers right who specializes in what, to avoid slack or bottlenecks.

Understood. Makes a lot of sense. Thanks DW, B-S.
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