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Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Oyaji, Feb 20, 2010.
May I ask what your native language is?
Could someone please explain the difference between the last few pages of this thread and a typical Reevolving or iroh thread?
Foo isn't participating.
I would like to purchase 1 pair of these paper shoes that will last me a lifetime, please.
Doesn't make sense to me. The last two shoes I sent in for re-crafting both had the insoles replaced. Increasingly I get the sense that the upper and welt are the shoe and everything else is a wear-and-tear replacement item.
for the top shoe, the laces can be replaced with something smoother, and the welt stitching can be covered with brown paint applied with a paint brush. when this is all done you will have a decent looking shoe.
for the bottom shoe, because of the hideous brogueing and the medallion it will forever be an ugly shoe and no amount of modification will take a pair of shoes full of holes and make it wearable with class. one look from another person at the shoes on the person's feet will label the wearer as a person with poor taste that enjoys ugly shoes and probably has some ugly tricker's boots in his closet to match.
Sorry but you kind of brought this up. How do we know that makers of hand-made shoes don't enjoy a greater profit margin (%) than factory mass-manufactured shoes? Personally, I will not assume that the maker of some $6,000 bespoke shoe doesn't enjoy a fantastic profit margin, perhaps one that makes the Cole Haan factory owner green with envy.
As a consumer, I have to assume that profit is job one for every shoemaker on the planet. I would be ignorant to assume otherwise. Just as the factory is using fiber board to reduce their cost and increase their profit, how do I know you're not trumping up the real-world consequences of gemming to make your product stand out more and consequently strengthen your position to demand a higher price for your product? I can hope you're not doing so... but I cannot know it, can I?
(Note: nothing personal here; just making the point that profit and consumer value do intersect; some stay in business by convincing customers that their product is "good enough" to last a lifetime, while others stay in business by convincing customers that someone else's "good enough" is actually trash that fails all the time.)
Thank you, Sir.
Sure you can. You could visit him. You could have a pair of shoes made by him. You could compare these shoes to others you have.
I have. He's the real deal, as are his products. Are all of my shoes made by him? No, I couldn't afford that for one, even though his shoes/boots are an outstanding value, perhaps the best I know. Also, he doesn't do loafers and isn't a big fan of shell cordovan, so I have on order one of each from Alfred Sargent, whose shoes fit me really, really well, but not as well as DWFs.
This would tell me that he makes a great pair of shoes, of which I have no doubt whatsoever. It would tell me that his shoes are better made than the ones I own, which is probable. It would tell me that he knows far more about shoes than most other people here, which is likely.
However, it wouldn't convince me that his business isn't about making a profit whereas the shoe factories are, which is what was insinuated.
I have worked at many factories in many industries, and I can tell you that the same passion for putting out a quality product exists in mass production facilities, so I don't think it's fair to ascribe different motives to the two. ("Bespoke is about quality, non-bespoke is about profit.") The handiwork actually exists at the factory in all that handmade machinery, handmade (or hand-coded as it were) automation and QC systems, and hand-tested materials. In fact one of the biggest problems I've struggled with is the lack of cost consciousness in a factory where people get so caught up in designing a new and cool material or a new and cool assembly or QC process that they don't think about how it would drive the overall product toward unprofitability.
Please kindly lecture me how does gemming and welting work again? If gemming is replaced, why would the old welt stay?
SoS might not write in perfect English but he gets his points across clearly and succinctly.
The Norvegese is simply harkening back to the mid 1940's thru 1950's era of US Shoes. Post WWII, many mens' shoes started to trend toward the thick soles & wide welts. A Tough Shoe for a country who had just won one of the most important wars ever fought. The wide welt became a place for shoemakers to use as an additional "canvas" to showcase their styles. Designs and additional contrasting color stitches popped up on many models. By the 1960's, only the "Longwing Gunboat" style was still commonly seen. THEN, the Italians brought it all back with the Norvegese & Bentivegna stitches. Vass (Hungary) and Dinkelacker (Germany) use the Goyser, and JM Weston's Flagship Chasse uses a Norwegian stitch as well.
Personally I LOVE the "Exposed Stitch" shoes. Not beautiful in a curvy and sexy way (like G&G), but beautiful in a much more BRUTAL fashion, if you will.
No worries, I didn't take it that way.
If I were denigrating specific firms or extolling the virtues of my own you might have a point. As it is, your conclusions are incomplete.
As for the profit margin on a pair of $6000.00 shoes, I'm here to tell you very frankly that I think there is a considerable amount of "blue sky" there. Much of the profit is cachet. But it is no more cachet than the $1000.00 gemmed shoe.
That said, I do believe that video from John Lobb, St James where the CEO says "We have turned our backs on the machine." Regardless of whether they have actually done that to the satisfaction of all the critics or not, it is a statement of commitment to quality. And quality first. Not the least because it is expressed publicly. And BTW...you'll find few firms that offer a more classically English shoe than John Lobb.
I would like to see...given that the gemming process is the same, given that the fundamental raw materials are near-as-nevermind the same, given that all else is superficial and subject to the vagaries of fashion and time...a breakdown of how the $1000.00 gemmed shoe is worth more than the $500.00 gemmed shoe. Or the $100.00 gemmed shoe.
Now...am I touting techniques...yes. I am touting Traditional techniques and high quality materials. I can do that with some authority because, for the most part I am intimately familiar with them and have found much else wanting. If in some peripheral way I am associated with Traditional techniques and quality, well, all the better. I associate myself with those philosophies. Those choices. Again, I am not touting my business.
I have a friend who is the head shoemaker, and head of the shoemaking faculty at Colonial Williamsburg. He is also one of the foremost shoe historians in the world...certainly in this country. One of his functions is to re-enact the role of an 18th century American shoemaker. This involves making shoes...and all the attendant operations...in an 18th century setting/shop that is open to the public. He has heard a million dumb and dumber questions from the public--such as "where's your sewing machine"...so many times that he has lost his enthusiasm for educating the public, although he is the most polite of individuals.
I on the other hand, am not so inured. My whole point of being here is to counter the misunderstanding and the disinformation that is out there. My friend likens it so carrying fresh water one teaspoon at a time to the strand in hopes of freshening the ocean. It's quixotic if nothing else. But I am an optimist and very simply, I resonate to the task.
And while I sometimes get frustrated, at bottom I know that those that can learn, will. Those that cannot, will not. The facts, the insights are there. Take 'em or leave 'em. Macht nichts.
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