Japanese Shoes: Bespoke & RTW Super Thread

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by nutcracker, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. VRaivio

    VRaivio Senior member

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    I must have read too much texts from D.W., though I was under the impression that bespoke shoes do not need cork filling, as there's no need to place a canvas strip, which leaves a cavity below the insole -- and there it is, inside a pair from G&G. Perhaps the owner asked for cork?

    [​IMG]

    Edit: wrong picture, now fixed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  2. Fang66

    Fang66 Senior member

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    Checked out Saion MTO yesterday, can't say I'm a fan. I'd hazard that QC are equally well made if not better, and I can't see a huge difference in the leather quality. The QC boots I have are Japanese leather, still looking good after 4 years. The myriad of style and personalisation options with QC also gives them the edge in my opinion. Plus I found a retailer/fitter near my house that sells them about 5000 yen cheaper than the Tokyo store. I might spring for another pair, have to wait for the wife to not be so busy though as my Japanese isn't good enough for the rigours of buying pattern order shoes.

    Still if I could only get a couple more pair of Jalan Sriwijawa in my size I'd be a happy man, the ones I have are about half a size to small width-wise and most of their shoes I have seen max out at a half size smaller than that. I like their styles, plus they are hand welted and use Annonay calf. The pair I have are just nicely worn in and fit well. Had to do some width stretching, sprayed the inside with an isopropyl alcohol/water solution and over stuffed them with newspaper overnight, then soaked some extra thick socks in the same solution and wore them for a day. I guess I'm a pleb but 29,000 for a hand welted French calf shoe is just to good to pass up, even if it takes a bit of manipulating to make them fit. As much as I'd love to, I can't bring myself to spend more than 40/50,000ish on a pair of shoes, again I'm a pleb.
     
  3. Fang66

    Fang66 Senior member

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    As a reward for reading my poor, duck-footed man in Tokyo spiel

    Japan Leather Industry Association 9 best shoe stores in Ginza.

    No Tradingpost or Lloyd?

    I dropped by Tradingpost again yesterday, the staff couldn't have been more different than my previous visit, an older man who absolutely knew his stuff and a very friendly younger woman. Also Lloyd still have some very nice shoes, and an interesting MTO line. The range at Washington wasn't as extensive as I remembered, but still many nice shoes and excellent staff.
     
  4. add911_11

    add911_11 Senior member

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    However, I must say Saion's Bespoke level MTO is possibly one of the best out in the world. My have seen my friend's shoes, one 9/10 MTO and other 10/10 Bespoke. He has a slightly wide foot, and ask for both pairs to be made in quasi-cleverley chisel last. From my eye, I can't actually tell a difference. Even he admitted he could save the extra money by stick with the 9/10 MTO operation.

    Plus, price is pretty competitive to the UK shoemakers, and less time to wait. e.g. the crazy 1 year wait for George Cleverley.
     
  5. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Ah yes, the JLIA. They have a fantastic magazine published every year on all things leather made in Japan (lots of shoemakers and manufacturers featured). They also have a really nice boutique in Ginza.

    From what I know, JLIA is sponsored by a large number of leather related businesses, but a lot of fine leather makers aren't members for whatever reason. Hence I think the 9 best stores list is sort of an advertisement for member businesses, or something to that degree. And they will do the same 'best stores' thing with leather bags/accessory makers, where only members are included etc....

    Excellent find, Fang. I wasn't aware they had this english pdf publication going on.

    Yes, Washington does make very decent made in Japan shoes. The latest issue of LAST features a couple of Washington models as their pick for entry level dress shoes.
     
  6. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I personally dig it, but yeah, Saion's McKay MTO is somewhat limited in style and variety, so definitely not for everyone. I believe QC/Miyagi Kogyo uses Japanese Kip (sourced from Swiss) for their 'smooth leather', but I've read very good things about them,comparable in quality to Euro calf. Good for you that you found a deal near your place. It is also the "Wasoryoka" MTO series by Miyagi Kogyo?

    I'd say Jalan shoes would cost a lot more if made in Japan or in Europe. I'm not sure if Isetan carries more sizes than elsewhere, but you may want to try there.


    An upgrade form 9/10 to 10/10 MTO isn't so much, and you are right, 10/10 MTO will look identical to a Bespoke in quality and finish. 9/10 MTO starts from around ¥150K, which is an unbelievably good price.

    Saion Bespoke goes for ¥399,000, or around $4000 USD. That is 2x or more than the MTO (quite steep!!). The sample I saw and posted a while ago did look noticeably more 'sculpted' than the MTO, perhaps the benefit of making a desired last from scratch.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  7. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Ooh, I'm definitely not qualified to answer that, but I was under the impression that Bespoke shoes could have fillers too, either cork or more preferably, felt (and also coconut fiber for summer bespokes). You may want to ask that in G&G thread where D.W. often appears. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  8. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Most bespoke makers do add a layer/sheet of cork at the front AFAIK to smooth the bottom out. But its much less corks used in RTW and different form than the RTW hot cork paste. Reason being gemming is a lot deeper than hand carved feather/holdfast (3-5mm gemmed vs 1-2mm hand carved)
     
  9. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Ville, you might want to extend your reading.

    Handmade shoes use a filling material (just as factory-made ones):

    Here is what James Ducker has to say on the topic:

    http://carreducker.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/shanks-2.html

    Cork sheets (unlike the “porridge” used in factories), is by far the most popular one and is used by the forum-favourites Vass and Saint Crispin:

    at 2:10 min

    Felt, either tarred (as in England) or just woolly (as used by some Austrian firms) is the other material. Never heard about coconut fibre, but why not!

    “Cabbage” (English shoemaking jargon for leather cut-offs) is generally considered a bad choice, due to the danger of squeaking (caused by leather rubbing over leather).
     
  10. VRaivio

    VRaivio Senior member

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    ^Many thanks, bengal! I must up my game considerably, though I have plenty of time to learn more. There's no life, after all, like no-life!
     
  11. Fang66

    Fang66 Senior member

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    Yes, same series.

    I bought my Jalans at Isetan, it really is the best shop in Tokyo I think.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  12. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Il Quadrifoglio Tokyo Bespoke Trunk Show @ Concierge de WFG

    Many of you have probably seen these gorgeous shoes via some images hitting style-related tumblers by storm, and yes, they are even more lovely in person. Qnai apprenticed under Roberto Ugolini, like his 2 famous compatriots Suzuki and Seigaku before him. After returning to Japan, he also went through apprenticeships at some notable Japanese workshops, where precision and meticulousness are valued above all and taught like a military drill. Started Il Quadrifoglio with his wife Yuka (also an Italian trained artisan) in Kobe, 2010.

    Qnai has an obvious love and respect for the Italian style, and he also sources his materials from Italy (he says the cheap yen is quite a pain). Stylistically, I say his shoes are quite different from other Japanese-Italian makers (Spigola and Corno Blu), seems like he is more daring to let his sense take over. Shoes (in fact art in general) often reflect the sensibility and the experience of the maker, and perhaps he's currently inspired by sleek exotic cars, not sure, but his shoes surely do look good.


    [​IMG]
    Lovely lilac/blue patina. + Lizard in crazy green.

    [​IMG]
    All of his sample shoes have something to talk about

    [​IMG]
    A seal sandwitched between 2 horses.

    [​IMG]
    Lizard loafers

    [​IMG]
    Sleek and curvy.

    [​IMG]
    What is this leather called?

    [​IMG]
    Mr. Qnai Atsushi. Quite photogenic
     
  13. BespokeMakers

    BespokeMakers Senior member

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nutcracker [​IMG]

    Il Quadrifoglio Tokyo Bespoke Trunk Show @ Concierge de WFG


    [​IMG]
    Mr. Qnai Atsushi. Quite photogenic

    Thank you for reporting the situation.
    Anonymous said "Every man's work is a portrait of himself."
    Keep up the great work!
     
  14. mimo

    mimo Pernicious Enabler

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    It's called "carpincho", or more commonly the animal is called a capybara, and looks like this. It comes from South America.

    Some bespoke loafers in the same skin by Cleverley:

    [​IMG]


    Thanks for sharing all these wonders, Nutcracker. I am utterly enthralled by the content of this thread.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  15. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks! I was just picking up my shoes, but ended up chatting and taking photos :lol:
    Thanks Mimo :fonz: The leather looked like calf suede textured to look like carpincho. Not sure if it is the real deal, but I do recall there was an up charge for it. Maybe I'll ask.
     

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