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Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DWFII, Aug 23, 2014.
Is that what informs your opinions?
Dia eadarrainn 's an t-olc!
I respect his work and do believe hes an artisan. In fact, I think he makes some pretty good shoes and his techniques makes a lot of sense, e.g., not carving a deep channel for holdfast.
However, that has nothing to do with challenging on his dismissal of finishing/patina work is non-essential in determining the quality of a shoemaker's work. Finishing might not impact the longevity of shoes nor is part of the construction method, but it is certainly valued when some customers make purchasing decisions.
Presentation is definitely part of the quality, be it footwear or food. "You get two stars for cooking" - Marco Pierce White, on Michelin Stars. Three stars is all about the package.
I really see no difference between a master tailor who makes the finest bespoke suits and an artist who can make a new pair of jeans look like they have been worn by a homeless person for five years. I mean both the tailor and the jeans-aging artist require at least a decade of experience to approach mastery. And, aesthetically, cool jeans are surely more timeless than a fine suit made out of the best wool cloth.
We are quite literally talking about surface versus substance. I just don't understand how someone can pretend to compare the importance of patina work with actual shoemaking. Please, people, just because you cannot afford 100 pair of bespoke shoes from a quality shoemaker doesn't mean you should spend your time trying to dismiss the quality difference between their work and well-marketed RTW GYW shoes.
Pattern proportions to the last is instrumental to how the shoe will look on the surface. So lets take that away as well if you are so fixated on the substance and not how the shoe looks.
I don't compare GYW to bespoke HW shoes nor do I call RTW GYW shit.
WADR....I appreciate that you have supported me in previous posts. Many times against DW. I have always shared my honest (professional) experiences with the forum.
There are many differences between shoe repair and hand made shoes. That does not mean neither are not viable trades/approaches.Just different.
Much of this thread is out of my realm. But, I have been following it.
In all honesty DW and Myself clearly have an identity. Easy to get a hold of ourselves by various internet means.
I'm not so sure about you. Can you qualify yourself? You know lot's about shoes and there making, how companies do there making.
I would like to know more about you.
What do you do? You're back-round? How did you get to learn all of this stuff?
I really don't mean any disrespect (rather I admire your knowledge).
With respect, Just curious
It wasn't so many years ago that shoes were not given that high shine or patina...ever. I know, I was there. Yet shoes of unsurpassed quality and beauty were made.
The philosophy...among shoemakers and customers...was that the leather should speak for itself.
These things are ephemeral. They change with the times, change with each new generation--who, each and everyone, think they know it all. And that is why patinas and shines have no bearing on quality--they are superficial and have no connection to substance.
Give it another ten years and patinas will be seen as artificial and cheap looking (and rightfully so, IMO) and it will change again. But the shoe itself and how it is made will be a constant.
Take away the shine or patina and there is still the shoe with the quality of leather that it was born with; with the rigour (or absence thereof) of the techniques that were instrumental in its delivery.
Take away the leather or the techniques, however, and the shine doesn't matter...if only because the shoe no longer exists.
When these kinds of absurdities are being bandied about, I really don't know what to think.
At worst I think it is just snickering spite and teenage contentiousness. At best it seems a case of English as a second language.
But even assuming the best case scenario, so many things chogal and like minded others say are often so far out in left field that with the best effort it is a struggle to make sense of it.
It seems clear that he doesn't understand what the word "professional" means. He doesn't understand what "experience" means or entails. He clearly doesn't understand the concept of "quality." Or the difference between fantasy and objective facts. Or what "substance" means...as opposed to superficialities.
He doesn't understand English itself well enough, so he invents definitions and meanings that are unique to himself albeit consistently self-serving and exculpatory. He embraces assumptions that leave him even more confused and unable to deal with reality than when he started. Simply because no one else has access to the Chogal Dictionary of Phantasmagoria or accepts the premises which informs his world view and assertions.
Maybe "understanding" is simply not, and never will be, possible with these folks...in either direction.
Trolls gotta troll.
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There it is right there...in a nutshell. Nearly the definition of contentiousness and looking for trouble. You're more concerned with comparing yourself to me than about the issues. You may have set yourself against me but my primary concern is techniques, materials. quality. You're not in it.
The big mistake there is that you're not a shoe repairman...WADR. You've said so yourself. You're an owner. A manager of employees. A boss.
All well and good and there are professional perspectives associated with managing. But we're not talking about logistics or payrolls, or employee relations or health coverage, etc..
There is little or no cross-over or comparison between managing and actually doing the work with your own hands. Some people can do both but you don't. Your professional opinions about managing a business may be wise and the very torch of enlightenment to other managers, but they are beside the point...misdirection...in a thread analyzing techniques, Traditions, materials and so forth.
There may be a similarity and shared perspective between the cobbler and the cordwainer but there is no--zero, nada, zilch--similarity between managing and actually doing shoe repair...much less making shoes.
It is pretense to suggest otherwise. Shine versus substance.
And if you were truly honest, you would be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you have no standing to criticize or challenge people who do work that you do not...cannot...do. It's disrespectful...not so much to the individuals you pit yourself against, but to the Trade itself.
But then again perhaps it's just the boss's way.
That's an honest statement. Might have been better to leave it at that.
In my personal and professional opinion...
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You make an excellent point. Despite knowing better, I repeatedly try to make sense of the nonsensical.
DW, do you think the following analogy is helpful?
A master (bespoke) shoemaker is like a violinist playing with a top classical symphony orchestra in the world. He (or she) can only develop the skills necessary over many years and many thousands of hours of practice. Although the evaluation of those skills is somewhat subjective, any number of independent critics can confirm from the results that the violinist/master shoemaker has reached the pinnacle of his profession. Even if those critics may not find the particular pieces to be entirely in their preferred style, that does not mean they can't appreciate the skill involved in their production. Further, there are simply no short cuts or alternatives to how that violinist or master shoemaker attained his skills. Of course, innate talent plays a huge role and is necessary, but not sufficient for the final results.
A designer working with a shoe manufacturing company can produce a shoe in a style that is wildly popular and highly esteemed by the masses, despite the shoe not being of anything like the highest quality, and despite the designer having little experience. This is similar to the "star" who releases one or two "hits" with the help of a lot of "producers" and "engineers" behind the scenes. Being a "star" requires some talent and some luck; it's certainly not something that everybody can make happen for himself. However, it is more about capturing the tastes of a particular moment, rather than supremacy of his musical skills.
Further, if all the biggest music stars of our time and the industry behind them disappeared in a flash of light, very little time would pass before new people could step in and start making hit songs again. However, if we wiped out all of the professional classical musicians, it is not clear we could ever get back to where we are now with the music being performed by the best symphony orchestras. Even with all that has been written on the topic of classical music, even with all of the recordings, the skills nurtured over centuries would be lost if all its masters were gone.
That's certainly at the heart of what I've been saying and why I've been saying it. We are rapidly reaching a point where we can never go back. Where our standards of quality and how to get there are so corrupted, dumbed down, and lost that "mediocre" is now "best."
And even given a new generation of people kind of interested in trying to learn...kinda, sorta...about bespoke shoemaking, the Traditions and Traditional skills are so disrespected and / or dismissed that what they will take forward with them into the future will be more akin to what we see in RTW factories than in bespoke workshops now. Witness real handsewn GY (not just the mangled-language version). Again, "mediocre" becomes the new "best."
There is a shoemaker who used to post here on SF who made much of the fact that he was a "certified" master shoemaker in the country he came from. In the US, there is a federally recognized "standard" for promotion from apprentice to journeyman. In part, it states that the apprentice must be able to stitch, by hand, and by eye, 16spi on the welt/outsole and 22spi on the uppers. I only know one person in the US who can do that, none abroad...and virtually no one who thinks it worthwhile to learn.
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I've handled a great many shoes from Tuczek's workshop, more than most would be able to. I've got one in front of me right now, as well as a couple of their lasts. Im not sure what a deeped front is but they have a certain style to them - though there's nothing too distinctive there compared to what contemporary workshops such as Codner Coombs, Buhl or Lobb were making.
There's some incredible work being made in Japan, but I've never seen anything that I would mistake for any of the samples I've seen from those famous West End workshops of the era.
I wonder if you would ever be able to get access, within the Lobb premises, to a few of those 19th century samples (were they competition entries?) for a detailed photo shoot? I happened to be at Lobb when Kaspar was taking a break and happened to take them out of the case and photograph a couple of them. Alas, his camera wasn't the greatest, and the lighting in there was anything but optimal, so the pics aren't really that detailed. If you could ever get access and I was heading over across the pond, I would love to try to take a really good camera with macro capabilities and try to document some of the details of those boots. Of, if you and a London-based SF'er could do it (calling Bengal-Stripe?), that would be awesome. The hand-sewing of those boots was truly mind-boggling.
I doubt I'd be the right person to arrange it - I left on good terms but I haven't been in touch since the day I left. I think it might be like calling up an ex girlfriend to ask her to make me the spaghetti I like.
She (they) would probably do it...out of respect and fond memories...she'd just leave off the Parmesan.
There was very little Parmesan the first time
Well, in that case, I can understand the "ex."
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