Lighten up you two.
Wildsmith shoe brand resurrected - Page 5
Styleforum Top Picks
The new site is full functional and some nice designs, at a decent price point and made by Alfred sargent.
They are planning to bring out a higher price range, although I do not know if it would be introduced this year or next.
I hope the venture does not turn out to be another 'Lodger'.
Bengal: I am amazed at your ability to access archived catalogs!
I have a pair - Bloomsbury in London Tan. I stopped by Leffot to pick up some G&G shoe trees and some Saphir wax. While there we were talking shoes (go figure) and I noticed the Wildsmith and inquired about them as I was completely unfamiliar with the brand. Steve had nothing but great things to say about them and I was looking to fill a hole in my shoe collection - a non-suede summer loafer - so I tried them on. They looked to be very well constructed, were quite comfortable and I really liked the color so I purchased them. So far so good. Personally I don't care about the history, or who owns what, or who sold what to whom...just wanted a nice pair of loafers without paying G&G, E&G or Corthay "full freight" and mission accomplished. The only real caveat has to do with the name of the color. My pair - the London tan - are in no way tan. They are a cherry color. The other 2 colors at Leffot are accurate. I just noticed that the polo suede is no longer available on the website. I will assume that they have sold out which is no surprise as they were really nice. Personally, of the 3 remaining colors I would rate them the poorly descrptive tan followed by brown then black (I would never wear a black loafer so note my bias).
In a nutshell, they share a table at Leffot with some of the most beautiful shoes/highly respected brands and they don't look out of place at all.
Wildsmith (the user), couldn't you start your own shoe store under your own name and claim the same establishment date (which would seem quite reasonable and no less truthful than in the case of the other company)? (It would be a bit like one of those 60's and 70's pop groups that survive in several different versions, each with a single member of the original band.)
On my monitor this has a medium blue text on darkish olive green background. Not the best combination for readability. I also can't see the two uppermost images.
What are you missing? A sense of good old English pride, that's what! No attempt was made to keep a family run business off at least 166 years standing within the family. I'm sure, unless you have been in the same situation you couldn't possibly understand. Wildsmith men have put love, sweat and *sole into that business and ended their days on the shop floor keeping it going for the upcoming generations. I was named after the founder with the view that my future would be as six generations before me was. That aside, there are plenty of other family members that could have been considered when he who shall not be named decided to sell out....
I expect that some effort was made to keep the family business running but, as bengal stripe noted above, those efforts were to no avail as the business closed down a decade or more ago. I understand that you have pride in your heritage, but it's not as though your family member sold off a going concern to someone outside the family. Instead, they sold off the rights to use a defunct business name.
Interesting - I'd read a while back that Chay Cooper had left Alfred Sargent but I didn't know where he had gone.
A little write up on Wildsmith (with Chay's official input I might add)
Wildsmith Shoes – Old Name, New Face
With the recent relaunch of Wildsmith shoes by Chay Cooper, formerly of Alfred Sargent, and his partners, James Sleater & Ian Meiers of Cad and the Dandy, we wanted to take a deeper look at the brand’s roots and where the modern incarnation might headed.
Wildsmith was founded in 1847 in England by Matthew and Rebecca Wildsmith as a small shop near Piccadilly. At the start, Wildsmith focused their efforts solely on boots; the skill they displayed won them the right to be the official boot maker for the Household Cavalry – made up of the two most senior regiments in the British Army that serves as a the personal bodyguard of the king or queen. The honor of shoeing for such prestigious companies garnered them notoriety and allowed the fledgling company to move beyond just boots into footwear of civil and military designs. While still remaining true to their roots, and focusing on military footwear, Wildsmith showed considerable skill in the more pedestrian realm. They found a number of royals in their client ledgers and were credited with designing the first ever slip-on loafer shoe in London – created by Raymond Lewis Wildsmith, based on a bespoke pair of house shoes designed for King George VI; the 582 remains the company’s poster boy even today.
With such prestigious beginnings, it was clear from the start that they were highly skilled and, as with any superior product, their reputation spread and their clientele grew quickly. At their peak, Wildsmith was making shoes for heads of state and titans of industry including King George VI, Prince Charles, Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy, and Cary Grant. For much of the early 20th century Wildsmith worked with both military commissions and with civilian clients; after World War II, however, the military commissions were slashed and Wildsmith transitioned to a civilian-focused shoe and boot maker.
According to Alan Flusser, by the 1980s, Wildsmith had moved from shoemaker to primarily selling re-branded ready-made shoes. While still of very high quality, the house loafer was made by Edward Green and the other models by Crockett and Jones, it was certainly the beginning of the end. Possibly due to the fact that they marked up the near-identical models higher than C&J prices, possibly due to their stagnant designs, the original Wildsmith inevitably closed up shop in 2006....
Edited by MZhammer - 10/30/13 at 7:16am
Doesn't that model show the current Wildsmith collection up as dull (could have come under any Northampton label) and no patch on old Wildsmith which obviously had a lot of panache in it's better days.
There is some truth in that old stage wisdom: "They never come back!"