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Archibald London Hand Welted Shoes - Not Hand Welted?

taxgenius

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Pardon, but isn’t handmade a very loosely used term and is based on the country of manufacture and is written in specific (law) ways what can be named handmade and what not?
Example, Handmade in Italy is a different handmade than made in France.
In Italy handmade is very fast granted, France not so easy.
What's the US law?
 

Jmr928

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Pardon, but isn’t handmade a very loosely used term and is based on the country of manufacture and is written in specific (law) ways what can be named handmade and what not?
Example, Handmade in Italy is a different handmade than made in France.
In Italy handmade is very fast granted, France not so easy.
I think for the purposes of this forum in general its pretty clear there are distinctions to when something MAY be called handmade (to the legal standard of the word) and when something SHOULD be called handmade (to the artisans point of view) as well as the fact that there are differences in the amount of hand work that goes into something depending on the type of item that would qualify it as such. Most of us acknowledge this and it’s why we have conversations about the benefits of certain types of handwork or we talk about the level of handwork involved in items. Honestly, I think we could have an entire debate on what truly constitutes handmade once you get to the artisans level and could come to different conclusions without having any sort of bad faith.

What type of machine assistance are acceptable to constitute handmade? For shoes as an example - a sewing machine for the upper? I think most of us would forgive a maker for using a sewing machine on the upper. What about the sole - does it need to be hand stitched? (this is where I fall on the spectrum for whatever it’s worth). Is hand welting alone enough to constitute it? What if it’s a machine carved or pre-cut holdfast? Hand lasted? The answer might be different to different people but if there’s a generally accepted answer from the artisans rather than the letter of the law then it would seem that would be the ideal to me.
 

haloitsme

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No, it's not based on country of manufacture.

It's true that the term is loosely used. But if someone cares about accuracy and transparency, then there are certain standards for each category of item for when something is considered handmade, at least among people who care about the term.
HONestly, yes it is country based.
Why do I know? I worked for a company who made a lot of licensed and OEM stuff and exported it. It is written what and how your wording is. So is made in Italy, does made in Italy means 100% made in Italy, no. I know brands get their shirts ready in made in Turkey and just make finishes by hand in Italy and call it handmade / made in Italy. All checked with lawyer.

USA i don’t know your laws, anyhow, maybe you are meaning the sense behind handmade that it is fully handmade. Then go to France and if they state handmade, and there is a certain % part not handmade you are getting fined (all I know is France is very strict with that, don’t call me on real % of handwork , i don’t know). Maybe I find the list where all where written what all does made in XXX and handmade means. I certainly had that list when worked with them.
 

clee1982

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are you talking about country of origin or % made by hand?

Also I think you miss the point, handwelt hand sewn, handwelt machine sewn bottom debatable, but for example let's say calling goodyear welt "hand made", at least to most of us on SF would not be accurate
 

haloitsme

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are you talking about country of origin or % made by hand?

Also I think you miss the point, handwelt hand sewn, handwelt machine sewn bottom debatable, but for example let's say calling goodyear welt "hand made", at least to most of us on SF would not be accurate
I mean the word handmade.
Example you can put on your shoes / jackets etc and advertise it as handmade when it falls in certain criteria.
Criteria are different across the EU to justify Handmade. That’s all I meant.

When an item is marked as made in Italy handmade / fat to e Mano / that really means not a lot.
But when an item bares made in France the handmade means a lot lot more.
 

clee1982

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I mean I love CJ, but that title... (or all the English RTW with that title...), don't really care if it's legal or not

1617902051740.png
 

j ingevaldsson

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Hi, you and I have had quite an exchange over time and I am happy to explain and speak with you over it all and explain it in full if you are truly curious. I am further happy to send you articles of items we offer so you, as someone running a business and supporting certain brands want to make a fair assesment of what we are doing (aside from the classic shoes which we are victims of a bait and switch since April 2020 aside). Perhaps even with the earlier classic shoes (actual examples for sale not samples to check construction) as no doubt your expertise can help. Again I am not asking for anything public, nothing.. But if you are truly interested in understanding then happy to walk you through it and debate.

But lets speak instead of doing it via text impersonally. I think the two of us have to restart of sorts. If you are open to it.

And regarding the cordovan special edition sneakers, they will be goodyear as per the use of the goodyear machine and the artisans branding of his method. Furthermore, with regards to the description, I intend to take your advice and ammend. But i do not entirely agree with everything you are saying on those as a I contacted cobblers in London and they all said no to resoling a Common Projects because they tear. There is a clear advantage to the method to keep the upper intact. But again happy to speak and go through it further over the phone.

The use of handmade is correct. The use of a sewing machine does not make an item not handmade particularly when they are sitting there slowly doing each stitch carefully. In the same way most makers machine stitch their soles on their shoes, handmade is still used. Hand - stitched soles are a further method that people charge extra for yet shoes with machine stitched soles are still handmade.

I clarified the handmade example with the eyewear. Again if your intention is to understand more, happy to speak with you and perhaps its a chance for us to reconcile as men. I have made mistakes and I am big enough to admit to mine.

The fake news article was targetted at again high luxury commercial brands that market an item that is goodyear welted as handmade in full. If you ask their sales reps if a machine is used for the welt, they say no. These arent people like you and the public has not come to understand that goodyear shoes arent handmade fully or entirely handmade. It was written in 2018 and is the story of how we ended up on SF. And the reason we wrote it was because we ourselves were made to understand that Goodyear was a type of construction and not by definition one that made use of the machine.

Finally where we differ is take Warby Parker for instance, made in china with Chinese lenses. The quality is pretty much entry level eyewear. Ours are made in Japan by artisans who make for brands such as Barton Perreira and we make no compromise in the spec often ticking the highest offer on each part and offering Japanese prescription and non-prescription lenses. That is the difference in the two direct to consumer, no middlemen approaches. We take the approach of a more boutique, higher quality, artisan made product sold online through a very specific and strict markup structure.
Sorry, but I don't agree at all that the article in question do only that, and I would certainly not classify brands like Loake, Crockett & Jones etc which you bring up in the article as "high luxury commercial brands", quite the opposite. And again, the things I brought up there were just examples, there's that approach in general. To give another example you have this other "article" or what to call it about the Mirandola workshop which also is full with what I would call questionable marketing and even straigth out false information. Take this paragraph below for example, it has the classic tweaked marketing stuff (on Northampton and Italy) and also false info (since you say yourself that it was first after SF members made you aware that your shoes were hand welted that you understood this):
"When it comes to finding the best shoemakers in the world, there are only two places to go - Northampton in England, and Italy. We were searching for the holy grail - a finger stitched, hand-welted shoe. Simply put, The welt on a shoe isolates the outsole and the insole, so the shoe can be resoled without damage to the upper part of the shoe. This can either be done by hand or by a machine. We discovered that even our gold standard shoes relied on machine welting, and resolved to find a maker that stayed true to classical hand-welting."

If you would just say like "hey, sure, we push things to make it sound good for customers and to keep up with what others are doing in terms of marketing", then ok so be it, but when you continue with the talk about "transparent" and "high ethics" and repeatedly do it that way, I can't see it add up.

Glad to hear you are changing how you present the "Goodyear sneakers"!

As I said the first time you reached out to me via mail and I said no thanks to reviewing your shoes, I am already in way over my head with products to review etc (I say no to most review requests nowadays, if it's not something of particular interest to me or to the readers), and I don't do any actual "consultancy" work for any brands anymore since I started working for a shoe retailer.

I'm all for making amends, but to be honest we are in a bit of a different situation here you and I, whereas I said your shoes weren't quite as good as you say they are and question how you present your business (note, not the products or the business per se, no problems whatsoever with that and I'm all for making good shoes more accessible in all ways possible) and surely been a bit harsh in how I phrased that sometimes, you have repeatedly over a long period in time attacked me personally and called me "a quack", "a fraud", "a liar" and what not. But hey, for example come find me at the Super Trunk Show event I will host in London in October and we'll shake hands and take it from there.
 
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haloitsme

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yea but we're not talking about being "legal" here?
IF Iam not wrong, some pages ago someone said that it is not handmade etc. but in legal terms it is justified as handmade. And nothing is wrong with that. When they stay with the wording it’s fine, but as I mentioned later, maybe it is not about the legal stuff here. I just wanted to say that marking it that way might be ok.
 

dieworkwear

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IF Iam not wrong, some pages ago someone said that it is not handmade etc. but in legal terms it is justified as handmade. And nothing is wrong with that. When they stay with the wording it’s fine, but as I mentioned later, maybe it is not about the legal stuff here. I just wanted to say that marking it that way might be ok.
As mentioned above, I'm not talking about the legality of it, but how people who care about the term use it. Just because it's legally OK doesn't seem like a good measure for whether something should be called handmade, at least for people who care about the term and understand production processes.
 

j ingevaldsson

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^^^ Regarding the whole "handmade" discussion, it's all a mess, especially nowadays when things have spiralled outwards and everything from a Blake stitched or sidewall stitched sneakers for €100 shoe up to actual full bespoke shoes with even ~100 hours of mainly real handwork (basically only exception are the upper being stitched with machine) are being called "handmade".

But as DWW and others have been touching upon, there are general rules which, at least once, was accepted as being norm in different industries. May have varied a bit from different markets, but the general rule was the same. For classic shoes, when a shoe is hand welted you automatically demand a certain amount of hand work and with that follows also a number of other steps (for example insole work, shaping and attaching leather heel stiffeners etc.) that in most cases are made by hand on hand welted shoes. Therefore, IMO, saying that a hand welted shoe is handmade is correct, and always will be, no matter if it's hand stitched soles and pre-made heels etc. Some would argue only shoes with hand sewn uppers would be real handmade, but that's not really based in reality, IMO. Some would argue that the top Goodyear welted shoes also have enough amount of hand work involved (hand lasted, some more finishing parts by hand etc) to be handmade, but to me there's too much of the main parts involved that are done by machines to be actual "handmade". Now, everything "below" that so to speak can never be handmade IMO, you have hands guiding the shoes through the machines and some elements are done fully by hand, but if one would go about to accept this as handmade there's not much of all the products produced in the world that are "non-handmade", to be frank. Just because hands touch the products during manufacturing, it's not handmade. It's towards this direction we are heading.

The problem with the mislabelling is that, how do the manufacturers who actually do handmade shoes explain what differs their product from the cheap Blake stitched shoes, if it's all presented as "handmade shoes"? How do the maker of an actual hand stitched wallet easily explain why it's superior to the also "handmade"-labelled machine stitched dito? We have language for a reason, we have it to quickly make things understandable, but when we devaluate words and leave only very complicated intricate descriptions left for those who do "the real deal" to describe what they are doing, it's not fair, IMO.

For the area of classic shoes, it's also a fact that one can explain things rather well and get the right "feel" for customers without devaluating words, which makes it extra annoying the situation we are in now, I've written about that here.

I've said it before and say it again, one good "solution" for the whole classic shoe world would perhaps be to follow the guidelines used in Japan, where you have the labelling "80% handmade" for a Goodyear welted shoe with machine stitched outsoles, "90% handmade" for hand welted shoes with machine stitched soles, and "100% handmade" for hand welted shoes with hand stitched outsoles. Sure, it's not perfect, there's nuances within these as well, but then "all" would be able to use the term "handmade" and it would be clearer for customers once things have been established (as it is now in Japan).
 

dieworkwear

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Good question. I am not sure how say Okayama Denim does what they do, but I do know that our pricing follows a vey specific mark-up calculator as I explained. Perhaps as they specialize in the one category they are able to purchase differently or different options open (off stock etc). I can't comment on how they do it.
I know I've said this before, but I again don't really understand this business model.

If you treat everything from the same factory as a commodity -- that is, assume that they can be interchangeable like plain white t-shirts or red apples -- and then you find out that Japan Blue jeans can be had elsewhere for cheaper, are you disappointed? Do you then feel like the "cut out the middleman" approach was misleading?

It may be that the jeans at Okayama Denim and Archibald may not be the same. They may differ in cut, styling, materials, etc. (This is true for all fashion!). And in that case, they may have meaningful differences that make the premium worth it. But then why treat clothes like commodities in the first place?

Archibald often touts that they are not "of this world." There's sometimes a hint of disdain at fashion people -- like it's all a ruse. But why would you want to purchase fashion products from someone who's not deeply passionate about either fashion or some specific product category? Part of the point of purchasing is that you're buying someone's taste or knowledge. They can help guide you towards better cuts, materials, or vouch for when something is truly handmade because they have a deep knowledge of this product category.

I also don't get some of these AoL projects, where you have a design by committee. Why is this considered desirable? Why should a maker take everyone's opinions to create an item in this way? Think of the greatest pieces of design -- architecture, furniture, fashion, etc. Usually these are designed by a small group of people or even a visionary with great taste.

Lots of "market-driven" companies today make shoes that almost look like they're checking off boxes on an internet list for "quality." Fiddleback waist, check. Sleek shape, check. Leather from recognizable tannery name, check. Handlasted, check. Handwelted, check. The design ends up spiraling into green and purple hippo button boots, red double monks, and split toes with sculpted waists. The stuff doesn't make any sense because it's purely responding to the market. One of the great things about genuinely good brands is that they curate things even against your own impulses.

The old model for shopping is great: a maker with great taste designs something. He or she then sells that to a store, who curates a selection and helps contextualize things for a customer. That shop ideally should also help the person build a coherent, sensible wardrobe (not random things cobbled together as fetishized, independent objects). With the help of good makers and salespeople, that customer ideally should have an idea of how to dress for certain occasions, put together good outfits, and so forth. This model seems to be dying, and I'm not sure people are better dressed for it.
 

clee1982

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so in japan they would label this on the shoe box or it's an advertising thing?
 

j ingevaldsson

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so in japan they would label this on the shoe box or it's an advertising thing?
It varies, from having it written on the shoes (also for "80% handmade" stuff) to just have it stated on for example your website and in info to retailers etc.
 

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