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My trip to Northampton; factory shops, bespoke last measurement and a factory tour

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Borrelli, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. MYPATCH

    MYPATCH New Member

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    NORTHAMPTON ENGLAND
     
  2. Kuro

    Kuro Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    .


    what's up with the trees with the toes?
     
  3. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    what's up with the trees with the toes?

    Paul Smith sells those shoe trees with the toes (the toes are just a gimmick).
     
  4. harry2quinn

    harry2quinn Senior member

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    Reviving this thread with my experiences yesterday. My Lobb and Crockett & Jones experiences in particular were significantly different probably a result of the different time of year. Saturday was my day-trip from London to Northampton, where I visited the factory stores of John Lobb, Crockett & Jones, Church's and Barker. Tricker's and Edward Green were closed on the weekend, and Cheaney was a 20+ minute drive away, so I didn't make it to those places. For anyone looking to make the trip, here's an invaluable resource from northamptonshireleather.com. [​IMG] The full pdf can be found on their website. My first stop was at John Lobb. Prices ranged from £200 - £300 ($300 - $475) for weird colors or house slippers; there were a lot of proper loafers (decent colors, a good amount of nice lasts) in the £330 to £400 range (including monks and double-monks), and lots of nice oxfords in the £325-£550 ($500 - $850) range. I don't remember anything being more expensive than that. Boots were around £500 ($775-$800), but I'm not 100% certain on that. All I know for sure is that they were beyond my 350 pound budget. Since most of these styles retail for approximately <a href="http://us.estore.johnlobb.com/">twice</a> those prices (there's a pretty consistent 2:1 ratio for the styles I remember), I think it's a pretty fair deal. There was a great selection, but John Lobb was probably the most annoying to shop at since a) the lady there was very curt and b) everything was in the boxes, so if you don't know exactly what you're looking for, browsing can take quite a while. I think I was there for well over an hour, compared to 20 - 40 minutes at the other places. Here were some of my favorites styles: Philip II - this one is certainly unusual, but you can't deny it has character if paired with the right outfit. Not saying I could pull it off [​IMG]. [​IMG] Horsley [​IMG] [​IMG] Ashill [​IMG] Chester (the one I ended up purchasing) - these probably look the least impressive out of all the above in the box. But they're really something special when worn. I can't explain it. [​IMG] [​IMG] My next stop was Crockett & Jones. Apparently their sale just got over, so they had extremely limited stock in few sizes. Nothing worth capturing; however, the pricing was pretty good, and I imagine that someone who went a few weeks ago would have found something they liked. Edit: just came across this thread and found that this was true a couple of months ago. My third stop was Church's. No pics here either, sorry. Cramped store and harried staff, but they had decent selections. Virtually everything was their custom grade line, which I understand to be significantly better than their regular line. Discounting was pretty similar - around 50% off, with a handful of pairs on clearance with much better price breaks. I purchased a pair of custom grade patent leather loafers (admittedly with a significant flaw in the upper, although it would have been masked by the shine) to complete my black tie outfit for £45. I also got a pair of Church's for Jil Sander shoes (I've seen retail for comparable models anywhere from 400 to 700) at 50% or so off. I'd definitely recommend stopping here if you'd rather spend £100 - £150 rather than £300 on shoes. Question: when you guys say the quality has declined to 'below Prada,' do you include the Custom Grade line in that categorization? Finally, I ended up at Barker. The Barker Black line was £145 for oxfords/loafers and £195 for boots. This seems like a solid good discount... since most of their Barker Black shoes are typically in the $700 ballpark, this around 67% off. Their regular line wasn't nearly as heavily discounted. Even with imperfections, they rarely beat 40% off. Most shoes were in the £90 - £120 ballpark, discounted from £150 - £200. But I do think that a wider selection of styles and sizes made up for it a lot; I ended up liking a pair enough to get it even though it didn't meet my high percentage-off standards [​IMG]. Barker had by far the nicest store. These pics are just of their display cases... the actual seconds shoes would have been too large to capture. [​IMG] [​IMG] Barker Black shoes: certainly a much more limited selection. [​IMG] [​IMG] Sorry I couldn't get any closeups. This was right about the time that someone came bustling out and asking about my pictures. She didn't ask me not to take them. She just kind of asked me what I was doing. I said I just wanted pictures, was that a problem? She said no. But then she kind of stared at me, so I stopped. [​IMG]
     
  5. rickimky

    rickimky Senior member

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    Awesome thread.

    Thanks guys. Guess Barker and C&J will definitely be worth a visit some time in future. Hopefully prices don't increase drastically by then.
     
  6. CHITON

    CHITON Senior member

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    Great thread indeed.

    One quick question: How much is the retail price range of Lobb Prestige in UK?
     
  7. Ich_Dien

    Ich_Dien Senior member

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    £795 isn't it?
     
  8. CHITON

    CHITON Senior member

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    £795 isn't it?

    Thank you! That sounds about right.
     
  9. flipster

    flipster Senior member

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    thanks for this informative tread... Any idea if the C&amp;J factory shop still ships within the UK?
     
  10. hst

    hst Senior member

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    thanks for this informative tread... Any idea if the C&J factory shop still ships within the UK?

    I asked this of the C&J factory shop about 2 months back - and yes they said they only ship within the UK.
     
  11. SimonC

    SimonC Senior member

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    Question: when you guys say the quality has declined to 'below Prada,' do you include the Custom Grade line in that categorization?

    Yes - Custom Grade is Church's standard production, they do occasionally make higher-grade shoes such as their Royal Collection. I'm not sure of the context of the 'below Prada' comment, but certainly below the quality levels they used to manufacture to a decade or more ago.

    To elaborate, my complaint with Church's is that if you buy their most common models, you get something in corrected grain, with stitched aloft soles and adequate machine work (such as broguing and gimping), for £335. In that context, C&J and Trickers both offer better leather, neater work, and (if it floats your boat) a channeled sole, for less money.
     
  12. david3558

    david3558 Senior member

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    Do you think the shops will be able to sell it to me without VAT if I am traveling to London from the states this summer?
     
  13. davesmith

    davesmith Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Ask them for a VAT receipt and you'll get it back at the airport minus a few fees.
     
  14. david3558

    david3558 Senior member

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    Excellent, thank you so much - where else can I ask for a VAT receipt? Just want to make sure I am getting the most out of my trip :happy:

    First time in Europe on a student budget... :D
     
  15. davesmith

    davesmith Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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