Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..."

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DWFII, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    my only addition is that there is a difference between the steps of shoe "making" and finishing.

    the tattoos, painting, etc can all be related to intricate types of shoe finishing for the select few who wish to have those things, but they are not needed at all.

    The shoe has to be made first, so that should be the most important set of skills. The other skills may be done by separate specialists that the owner of the shoes chooses, if he sees fit.
     


  2. ntempleman

    ntempleman Senior member

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    What is/was Tuczek's aesthetic?
     


  3. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Take one of your Neapolitan suits (or even better, just a photograph of a suit), give ith to a tailor anywhere outside of Naples, be it Savile Row, the English provinces, eastern Europe or let's say Hong Kong and ask them to copy it. You might get a suit which has some Neapolitan features laid over the firm's standard fare, but nobody will be able to copy ("easy-peasy") that Neapolitan DNA. At best, your suit will be a bastardized version, more likely it will be a mess and a 'dog's breakfast'.

    I don't think you have to be born in Naples, but you have to work there for years, absorb and be steeped in that thing, whatever it is, that makes the 'true Neapolitan' something.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016


  4. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    You could ask the same thing regarding bespoke suits. A&S and all its off shoots. Cleverley and all its off shoots.

    Aesthetics is not simply defining a detailed specification of construction method and style details but the overall look and feel of the end product.

    To copy that would be extremely hard, and besides, why would anyone go to @DWFII and ask him to copy John Lobb London's style, or go to Foster & Sons and ask them to copy John Lobb Paris' style?
     


  5. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Thus, you are implying that most hand welted shoes have the exact same quality if constructed the same way even by different makers/shops. This mentality, is, the first step of industrial production; same spec/quality control produces the same outcome!

    I appreciate the art of shoemaking, at the higher end of the spectrum, for all ethos, pathos, and logos of the shoemaker. But it seems that you are talking strictly about the logos parts of shoemaking, the mundane specifications. Of the construction method, stitches per inch, etc. All of which that strips away the aesthetics that make anything art.
     


  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Yes, it is what it is...and I don't have a problem with that except as regards deception and pretense. When a RTW GYW company promotes themselves as offering the "finest made shoes in all of Daneland" (sic) or using "traditional methods that have always resulted in the finest quality shoes," it is plainly deception or willful blindness.

    Beyond that, whatever it is, it is demonstrably different not only in underlying assumptions and philosophies...as well as results...but also different than when Job One is ensuring the finest quality regardless of the cost of labour or materials or cost of production.

    Different...Joseph Heller said in his novel Catch 22 that if you have flies in your eyes, you can't see that you have flies in your eyes.

    I like the intellectual discussion as well but I think we often don't understand how pervasive the factory mentality is and how hard it is to shed it. When you accept the premise that you have to compromise quality in order to run a successful business or that stockholders' interests are paramount, you've already lost the battle. You've got flies in our eyes.


    If you start out with the assumption that making a profit is Job One or that you have to answer to the stockholders, all your decisions will be the wrong ones as it regards objective quality. But you'll never agree...never see that, because you got flies in your eyes (foundation assumptions that you cannot abandon).

    [PS...I am using a generic "you" in most of this--nothing personal]


    There is fundamentally nothing egalitarian in my views (I am not, in any way PC) -"Good, better, best," remember?

    Personally and professionally, I don't think you can be a craftsman or an artisan and harbour egalitarian views, esp. not in that context. You have to be able to "see," recognize, and acknowledge "good better best" simply to be honest with yourself and be objectively self-critical without being defensive.

    I don't believe everyone should be wearing bespoke handwelted shoes...just those who seek excellence and are willing to make acquiring a pair (or two) their Job One. Or those who prattle on about quality but really don't know what it is, what is involved and have no real interest in finding out.

    I think it is a pretty sophistry, but not much else. IRL, a good craftsman is self-critical and does know his own limits. That said, any good craftsman will tell you he has looked at and even experimented with just such extremities. that's one of the ways I know for certain that no one is the world is making long staple linen...unless we dumb down our definition of "long staple" from nature's own 36" staple to the default 4" staple in long staple linen. It's one of the reasons I am open to and actually do hand stitching...not at 24spi...or try my hand at channel stitching, etc.. And it's one of the reasons I say with great certainty that no modern production process in shoemaking in the last 150 years has advanced the Trade or the "Art and Mysterie" or made a better shoe than was, and can be, made using Traditional techniques.


    Yet no one has ever shown me, nor in 45+ years of making and even repairing, have I ever seen anything to contradict that view. Simply put, all other things being equal, Traditional methods and Traditional materials will yield a better shoe every time. IMO. People can allude to cars and watches and computers and so forth but it's specious and moot, as far as I'm concerned. Show me a shoemaking firm where using modern factory methods and adopting a profit / loss sensibility has ever resulted in a better made shoe than the original John Lobb made, for instance.


    But I'm not, simply because no one can force me into competing for a certain market nor define the terms of competition for me. I am not competing for the same customers as the RTW firms. That's why I don't need to watch my bottom line. Or worry about what price to charge or whether my prices are in line with the other guys.

    In point of fact, i am not even competing with you, or Nicholas Templeman, or any other maker. I am competing with my own self...my own tendency to accept mediocre and "go with the flow". It's "aspirational" rather than competitive. That's one of the big differences between a craftsman's POV and the "factory mentality."

    --
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016


  7. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Senior member

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    A suit is a bad example because a lot of how it looks is to do with the inner construction, but again, I think it could be reverse engineered especially if it had to be a copy for the same customer.

    Tuczek deeped front and proportions related to it gave him a distinctive aesthetics in my eye
     


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Don't put words in my mouth! (first figure out what words you want coming out of yours ). I am not saying anything of the sort. You simply don't understand--you have flies in your eyes. You don't have the background or insights to understand. You know nothing, Jon Snow.

    Shoemaking is a Trade and skill. It is not Art! And only called an art by those who like to indulge in pretensions and pretentiousness. Or those so intimate with the Trade that they use the word "Art" halfway tongue-in-cheek.

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016


  9. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    A suits silhouette is based on its cutting. Shoes aesthetic is based on its last and pattern.

    The inner construction of shoes also impacts how it looks outside, i.e., thickness of lining, stiffeners and reinforcements, etc, let along the construction method.
     


  10. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    "You know nothing, Jon Snow" - hot wildling bitch.

    I am just calling you out for making self conflicting statements. For example, a good shoemaker makes everything from last to shoes on his own, and yet you don't make lasts. Or another example, you said flushed metal toe taps are noisy, yet you never worn one. Or in this case, you've deconstructed shoemaking to specifications, which is what industrialized makers do, and yet you are against industrialization of shoemakers, both bespoke/HW or GYW.

    What sets shoemakers apart, aside from the trade skills, is their interpretation of people's feet. And it's vastly different. That, sir, is art.
     


  11. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Senior member

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    Silhouettes can and are affected by construction in suit, minimally by the cut of the fabric. They way tailor will build the chest, shoulders, attach the sleeves etc will results in different end results. The construction needs to be learned or reverse engineered, cannot be replicated by just seeing the end results



    You are helping me on my argument on shoes tough, lasts can be copied as can the patterns. My post was in reply to the statement that one would still buy some RTW shoes for aesthetics, which is the easiest thing to copy IMO
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016


  12. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    You be surprised the number of manufacturers whom are trying so hard to copy the G&G/EG/C&J aesthetics and failed.

    It's not as easy as you think it is. But the great thing is, once it gets closed enough (Carmina), then it's there forever. Ring jacket in the suit world copied the Napoli style well while the rest are falling short.

    However, for bespoke shoes aesthetics, it's very difficult to imitate aesthetics, especially the refinement. Sure some might get the prominent features but the whole thing feels off.
     


  13. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Your professional opinion, I suppose? Apparently you're an artist as well as a shoemaker, as well as a tailor and an audio engineer.

    Gott im Himmel, what aren't you an expert in?

    Without credible evidence that you've ever done anything but fantasize about any of this, I think you're a phony. You're certainly an expert in pretense...

    In my personal opinion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016


  14. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    I wouldn't calling purchasing bespoke stuff a profession. Would you?

    p.s., I am not an acoustics engineer, but I am semi-ok with the audio stuff, i.e., analog circuits, DSPs, etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016


  15. bdavro23

    bdavro23 Senior member

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    You must have all of your pants made especially for you. I say this, because the balls it takes to lecture someone who has been a professional shoemaker for 40 odd years about shoemaking could not possibly fit in any pair of pants I've ever seen off the rack.

    As an aside, the irony of you spending most of this and other threads belittling DFW and showing him zero respect, while effectively calling him an artist in the above is simply too much for me to understand.
     


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