Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Gdot, Nov 29, 2011.
No. Can't afford them atm.
Would you be willing to say what you find appalling in the photographs?
Aside from the obvious GY construction (don't want to belabour the point...at least not here) and the steel shank encased in plastic to give the waist of the shoe some shape (god forbid the shoemaker should take responsibility)....
And the pegging in the waist is so amateurish....it's actually an eyesore.
The fiberboard heel reinforcing in photo ten is clear sign that the insole material is of such poor quality and/or substance that the maker was worried that without it the nails would pull right through the bottom of the shoe.
And in photo 12 (?) the celastic (synthetic ) heel stiffener is further evidence that corners are being cut as deeply and as rapidly as possible.
Bottom line, there's probably nothing new or world shaking here relative to other manufactured shoes especially in this price range, but the title of the thread made me wonder if folks really looked at the photos in the link and just as importantly understood what they were seeing.
The level of excitement esp. in the blog seems way out of proportion to the reality.
Thank you so very much for your informed reply. I do indeed greatly appreciate it.
I couldn't agree with you more about these shoes in general - they are nothing more than a mass produced, goodyear welted shoe of 'entry level' quality with a special finish.
I started this thread to help people understand what they were, and were not getting. As I think the patina craze is far from over in general - in fact I think it has just begun.
And I'm good with that, the patinas appeal to me greatly. I wouldn't want every shoe I own in such a finish - but I do really like them and appreciate that they are another way to add variety and artistry. (Or in the case of SL variety and a little craftsmenship - the patinas are not of such a quality that I would call them art.)
For me, I believe the Septiemes will prove to be a 'gateway shoe' in that I've never worn such colorful shoes in the past and wanted to try out a pair or two before diving into Corthay or Berluti - as they are so expensive it seems wise to test drive something similar but less costly before diving in.
I think we all agree SL is not at the level of Berluti, Corthay or Lobb. The question that would be more informative is, is it a good shoe for the price? This forum has a tendency to dismiss anything that is not absolutely top class. But to me, at least, Septième Largeur pricing is about the maximum I can afford for shoes. So, for that money, am I getting something decent or are there better options? (I have one pair SLs and two pairs of Markowski, and for the money, they serve me very well).
The question is spurious simply because unless people are willing to define and accept some minimal standards of quality, it all comes down to subjective opinion. Priorities, IOW.
What do you spend on "designer" coffee in a year? Would you spend $1000.00 on a suit? A watch? A computer? Music? Movies?
Would you spend $40,000.00 on a car? I can remember when a brand new automobile was under 10G. And the increase in price since that time isn't all inflation.
Maybe as important, if not moreso, when you go to buy a suit are you just looking for something that passes muster at a distance or are you truly looking for aspects...such as material and construction...that represents the best you can afford? Do you seek 100% wool or is polyviscose OK with you?
Beyond all that, who among those who think as you do, tabulates the "hidden costs?" Of environmental toxicity? Of health costs...both to individuals and the overall medical system? Of competitive extermination of skills, techniques, supports services, and even the ability to recognize and value quality. The mindset that appreciates human involvement and something as incidental as lasting aesthetics.
May I ask what sort of roof your home has?
Red Herring alert!
My roof is asphalt shingles--waste paper impregnated with bitumen and coated with gravel. So what? Now ask me what kind of tire I use on my car to drive on what kind of surface? And yes, there's a "hidden cost"...for all of us in those choices--the choices we have made as a society and the choices we continue to make as individuals.
Our parents and grandparents might be forgiven for using products and creating economies that are deleterious to all of us---they didn't know any better.
Our grandparents switched this whole economy away from natural food products such as lard [arguably better for you than any other fat except olive oil] to "plastic," hydrogenated, super saturated fats such as shortening. And look at the results. As a nation we are unhealthy, as individuals we are unhealthy. Our economy, to the extent that it is tied into the health care system, is nearly moribund.
Now we know better...those not in denial, those willing to think about things like this. Arguably too late.
But that's the problem with going out in the world--you lose your innocence. And when that happens, nothing short of denial can make things seem as they were...and "seem" is the operative word there.
My point...which I made quite clearly several posts ago...was that here is a thread extolling the virtues of a particular brand, and by extension, techniques and materials that nothing short of denial can elevate beyond mediocre.
How short-sighted is that?
In the end, I'm no paragon. I suspect nothing I say...no matter how self-evident, no matter how unimpeachable the logic, no matter how irrefutable the facts...will linger for more than the proverbial 20 second, in most readers minds. But my intent is not to advise you how to live or spend your money, it is simply to offer experience based perspectives and insights into the choices.
My point is that your roof is, in roofmaking terms, the very same sort of thing as these shoes are: A product which is machine made, detrimentel to the environment, created and installed with the lowest level of craftsmenship and skill, etc. etc. etc.
Unless we accept the fact that all things we use cannot be high art, we are destined to either go bankrupt or live in the frustration that all we have is a cheap and evil expedience. So I take some exception to the idea that one should be somewhat outraged at the damage one is doing to the world by buying a machine made shoe full of synthetic parts.
I think you and I are very similar in that we value the consideration and thought behind something as much as the something itself. And I believe we are actually seeing the same things - just approaching them from slightly different angles.
I think perhaps the misunderstanding here is that I don't perceive this thread as extolling the virtues of this particular shoe as much as I see it as an unvarnished evaluation of the item so that the buyer can make an informed choice.
Further, I think that by attempting to frame the value of the artistry of shoemaking in practical or moral terms you actually devalue it's true inherint and singular value - art for art's sake.
Does this make any sense to you or am I totally off base?
I agree here. I like my SL shoes for what they are. If I could, I'd walk around on boots made by an 80-year old craftsman in a monumental workshop, made from the skin of organic and contented calfs that I would have hand-selected under the guise of the apple-cheeked farmer. But I can't, so I'd like to know what IS possible. Are these shoes made at least in a place with decent labour standards, if I can't have them made bespoke?. If I can't have fully hand-made, can I get shoes where handwork is used where it matters (and how do I find out where it matter?) If I can't afford cordovan or exotic skins, is this calf of a decent enough quality to last me? And it may be painful for us to recognize, but even those who have a shoe wardrobe consisting of nothing but, for example, Septieme Largeurs (or Loake/AE for that matter), will score better on all of these points than 99% of the general population in the US or in Europe. Same thing with clothing in general. I can't afford the Row or Rubinacci. So what do I do? Buy -70% Kiton off eBay with all the risks that that entails? Or (and this is what I did) find a Hong Kong tailor that I can afford, and provide him with high-quality English cloth? We need some realism: if it can't be all the absolute best: where do we economize and what is on offer that will meet those demands? (Thank god for the times that this isn't necessary, Sam Hober, I'm talking about you).
In my wider consumption, I do try to take these things into account. I drive a VW Polo, I buy organic and local (and the UK is great for that), I minimize my consumption of large-corporation goods, I bank with an ethical bank, I have a house much smaller than I could afford and try to fill it with high-quality goods. But again: how do we learn about these things, what do we find important and how do we maintain realism?
I'm not talking about art here. When did I use or employ the term "art?" That's your word and while it may reflect what you see as a dichotomy...it doesn't reflect my POV.
An astonishing number of people secretly dream of being an "Artiste." They believe that "art" is the highest form of human expression...never once considering that most, if not all, art is interpretive and therefore at variance with reality and "honest" values. To be an "honest" Craftsman is, to my mind, far the nobler endeavour. That's where the "true" and "inherent and singular value" really lies.
I recognize my roof is, or may be, detrimental to the environment. Many houses are sold "as is."
That said, asphaltum or bitumen is naturally occurring. It's been used by aboriginal people time out of mind. Waste paper is, of course, something of a resource recovery. And gravel only has to be screened for size.
Nevertheless, the idea that nearly everything we consume is "cheap and evil" is probably closer to the truth than many want to admit. We don't have much choice...hence my anecdote about lard. This is the world we were born into. But it is the choices we do make, can make...not only in what we buy but in how we think about things (like manufactured shoes)...that determines, will determine, what the future will look like.
The "outrage" (if any) for me, is that on a a forum ostensibly devoted to the discussion of products, and things in our lives that rise above the ordinary, there is so much focus on stuff that objectively fails to rise even to the level of ordinary.
And tell the truth...until I posted my comment/question, the thread was all sweetness and light and praise for the shoe and the brand and the finish.
"Extolling" seems a good word in that context.
I certainly don't believe that anything I've said was intended to 'extole the virtures' of this shoe exluding the fact that they were a relatively inexpensive way to experiment with the concept of a patinated shoe in general.
If you read that as praise I am sorry. I certainly didn't intend it as such.
Well, it's not a big deal...I don't hold it against you.
But if "porn"...in the broadest, most generic sense...is something that we dream about, aspire to, that titillates our senses, then perhaps a touch more care in choosing a thread title (forum administrators are always going on about this) would be in order. But beyond that, I didn't see any words of reservation or discrimination, either.
Your point regarding the use of the word porn is well made and I do indeed agree with your statements in that regard.
Would you say there is a difference in quality between the Markowski models and Septieme L?
I ask since when SL (7L) was launched it was done so with the aim of being a higher quality line to Markowski, much like C&J benchgrade to handgrade. But since launching 7L has become a label in it's own right.
Separate names with a comma.