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The Bespoke Shoes Thread

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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A little. This was before I first polished them - there was a lovely shine on the toes, and they looked generally great, but not sure how much time went into polishing before they were sent to me.
Yes, hopefully these spots could also be touched up. There are other stylistic things that weren't quite carried through - I'd asked for a fiddle waist, and it's ended up as something less sharp and sculpted than I would have liked, etc.
My Clevs exhibited something similar between the uppers and sole, but to a much greater degree. So much so, that I could stick a piece of paper between them. That was just one of many problems.

I suppose if this were low-end ready to wear, and you bought them at a significant discount, I would say just wear them. But the whole point of getting bespoke is so you can get some best-in-class item.

I would just ask the company to remake the shoes. If, by chance, they offer you a discount, my advice is to still ask for the remake. In my experience, if the shoes don't bring you any joy, and you already have some other shoes you love, the first pair will never get worn.
 

dtwb

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My Clevs exhibited something similar between the uppers and sole, but to a much greater degree. So much so, that I could stick a piece of paper between them. That was just one of many problems.

I suppose if this were low-end ready to wear, and you bought them at a significant discount, I would say just wear them. But the whole point of getting bespoke is so you can get some best-in-class item.

I would just ask the company to remake the shoes. If, by chance, they offer you a discount, my advice is to still ask for the remake. In my experience, if the shoes don't bring you any joy, and you already have some other shoes you love, the first pair will never get worn.
Excellent points. And funny you should mention Cleverley...
Yes, this is my thought also - taking the plunge into bespoke came from the hope of something truly exceptional, and the above imperfections, disappointingly, add up.
I'll email about the gaps, the stylistic points, and the fit, and see what their response is.
Did you ultimately ask Clevs to remake? If so, did you meet much resistance from them?
Thank you so much for your thoughts.
 

thatshoeotaku

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Excellent points. And funny you should mention Cleverley...
Yes, this is my thought also - taking the plunge into bespoke came from the hope of something truly exceptional, and the above imperfections, disappointingly, add up.
I'll email about the gaps, the stylistic points, and the fit, and see what their response is.
Did you ultimately ask Clevs to remake? If so, did you meet much resistance from them?
Thank you so much for your thoughts.
out of curiousity were these commissioned from a well-established maker? and if they cost similar to bespoke from the london west end?
 

dieworkwear

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Excellent points. And funny you should mention Cleverley...
Yes, this is my thought also - taking the plunge into bespoke came from the hope of something truly exceptional, and the above imperfections, disappointingly, add up.
I'll email about the gaps, the stylistic points, and the fit, and see what their response is.
Did you ultimately ask Clevs to remake? If so, did you meet much resistance from them?
Thank you so much for your thoughts.
Good lord, that's hilarious. What are the chances?

My story rivals that of Homer's Odyssey. It may even rival the best of Foo stories. I'm currently waiting for a refund. I sent back the first pair of shoes, abandoned the remake, and am now currently waiting to get my money back. Hopefully that will come through and I can be just done with the company.

A long time ago, I asked a friend for advice on where I should turn for my first pair of bespoke shoes. He's used every major West End firm, along with some smaller companies. Regarding Clev, he said that every order came to him with some small issue, but he found the company is willing to either do a remake or offer the shoes at a discount.

A quick point: why a customer should have to check over a company's work, I have no idea. You shouldn't have to ask people whether XYZ is a flaw. That's the whole point of hiring someone for a service, they should check over these things to make sure they're delivering you a best-in-class item.

But anyway, regarding that one person's experience, that mirrors mine. My shoes were screwed up in a number of ways. I brought up the issue to George Senior, who offered to sell me the pigged shoes at a significant discount (basically so he could recoup his cost) and then use my deposit for a new order. I foolishly took the offer. But then other issues arose with the service, so I've returned the first pair of shoes and abandoned the remake. I'm now waiting for a refund.

The initial pair of pigged shoes just ended up sitting next to my shoes from Edward Green and Nicholas Templeman. I found that I just never picked them up. Why would you when you have other good options? There are hundreds of lasts on the ready to wear market, so unless you're an unusual fit, it's not that hard to find a pair of shoes that'll cover your feet. In my limited experience so far with bespoke shoes, I've found that the main value in bespoke footwear is that you get to wear something that brings you a lot of joy -- they make you happy when you put them on. But when the shoes have all these defects, what's the point? Even Allen Edmonds seconds don't come like this.

Anyway, my guess is that, if you bring it up, they'll happily either offer you a discount or a remake. If you take the discount, and if you're anything like me, you'll still feel let down by the experience and product. And if your experience moving forward is anything like mine, the remake will have other issues. I don't know what's the best course of action.
 

DWFII

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Just a thought...why does Cleverley (or any of the other cachet, commercial brand shoemakers) get your attention and patronage? As opposed to, say, Edmond Allen?

Isn't it because at some level, whether wholly deserved or not, it's because they have a reputation...wholly deserved or not...for a certain level of quality? You look at their 'show' pieces and you consider their prominence in the shoemaking world and you gravitate to them.

Nevermind that in many...maybe most...cases, that reputation is 50-100 years behind reality and what's up front has been generated by advertising claims and hype. Nevermind all that.

Assuming that at some level the reputation is earned, the point is that you tell yourself that the decision is well founded and that you're not taking a chance on some "low-end, ready to wear, outfit.

So why would you do that with bespoke?

The manufacturers specialize in fast, easily accessible and superficially spectacular. Why in the world would you expect them to excel in bespoke? It's not their gig. Not their remit. They rely on machines and rigid, set-in-concrete procedures that they deviate from at their own peril. Chances are near-as-nevermind certain that they don't even have a real, lifetime-of-experience, bespoke maker in their employ.

They don't need to...it's not their remit. It's not their market niche.

Whenever you ask a manufacturer to do bespoke you're forcing them out of their comfort zone.
 
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ixk

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Just a thought...why does Cleverley (or any of the other cachet, commercial brand shoemakers) get your attention and patronage? As opposed to, say, Edmond Allen?

Isn't it because at some level, whether wholly deserved or not, it's because they have a reputation...wholly deserved or not...for a certain level of quality? You look at their 'show' pieces and you consider their prominence in the shoemaking world and you gravitate to them.

Nevermind that in many...maybe most...cases, that reputation is 50-100 years behind reality and what's up front has been generated by advertising claims and hype. Nevermind all that.

Assuming that at some level the reputation is earned, the point is that you tell yourself that the decision is well founded and that you're not taking a chance on some "low-end, ready to wear, outfit.

So why would you do that with bespoke?

The manufacturers specialize in fast, easily accessible and superficially spectacular. Why in the world would you expect them to excel in bespoke? It's not their gig. Not their remit. They rely on machines and rigid, set-in-concrete procedures that they deviate from at their own peril. Chances are near-as-nevermind certain that they don't even have a real, lifetime-of-experience, bespoke maker in their employ.

They don't need to...it's not their remit. It's not their market niche.

Whenever you ask a manufacturer to do bespoke you're forcing them out of their comfort zone.
I don't know about being that out of their comfort zone.
Berluti sells the most overpriced RTW line of all, in my opinion. 1500, 2000+ dollar blake-stitched shoes with veins on the uppers. Yet their bespoke shop is one of the best around.
 

dieworkwear

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I don't know about being that out of their comfort zone.
Berluti sells the most overpriced RTW line of all, in my opinion. 1500, 2000+ dollar blake-stitched shoes with veins on the uppers. Yet their bespoke shop is one of the best around.
IMO, this stuff completely hinges on the people working on your order.

If your order at Clev goes down the right production path, the shoes could turn out great. If they go down the wrong production path, they will not.

Similarly, at John Lobb St. James, there are multiple last makers. Will you get assigned to the right one? Who knows, but you can pay $7,000 to find out! Some shoes that have been posted look truly awful. Some shoes are great. It's like drawing a lotto ticket.

I don't know of any major West End firm I'd use right now. Emiko is seemingly still making shoes and lives in London. Apparently Daniel Wegan has left G&G, but I don't know if he's going independent. Nicholas is obviously available and travels to the US. If I were trying to get a pair of bespoke shoes in London, I'd just use one of them.
 

ixk

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IMO, this stuff completely hinges on the people working on your order.

If your order at Clev goes down the right production path, the shoes could turn out great. If they go down the wrong production path, they will not.

Similarly, at John Lobb St. James, there are multiple last makers. Will you get assigned to the right one? Who knows, but you can pay $7,000 to find out! Some shoes that have been posted look truly awful. Some shoes are great. It's like drawing a lotto ticket.

I don't know of any major West End firm I'd use right now. Emiko is seemingly still making shoes and lives in London. Apparently Daniel Wegan has left G&G, but I don't know if he's going independent. Nicholas is obviously available and travels to the US. If I were trying to get a pair of bespoke shoes in London, I'd just use one of them.
Could it be them trying to accomodate too much demand? I never hear Italian bespoke makers fucking up to that extent, presumably because they have a smaller clientele.

Savile Row has grown sloppy too, despite their brand image.
 

Texasmade

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Any idea who’s over G&G’s bespoke program then if Daniel left?
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Could it be them trying to accomodate too much demand? I never hear Italian bespoke makers fucking up to that extent, presumably because they have a smaller clientele.
I have no idea, to be honest. If I had to guess, however, I assume it has something to do with a shortage of skilled labor in this trade.

I don't have any experience with Italian shoemakers, but horror stories about Italian tailors abound.

Any idea who’s over G&G’s bespoke program then if Daniel left?
No idea, unfortunately.
 

thatshoeotaku

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Just a thought...why does Cleverley (or any of the other cachet, commercial brand shoemakers) get your attention and patronage? As opposed to, say, Edmond Allen?

Isn't it because at some level, whether wholly deserved or not, it's because they have a reputation...wholly deserved or not...for a certain level of quality? You look at their 'show' pieces and you consider their prominence in the shoemaking world and you gravitate to them.

Nevermind that in many...maybe most...cases, that reputation is 50-100 years behind reality and what's up front has been generated by advertising claims and hype. Nevermind all that.

Assuming that at some level the reputation is earned, the point is that you tell yourself that the decision is well founded and that you're not taking a chance on some "low-end, ready to wear, outfit.

So why would you do that with bespoke?

The manufacturers specialize in fast, easily accessible and superficially spectacular. Why in the world would you expect them to excel in bespoke? It's not their gig. Not their remit. They rely on machines and rigid, set-in-concrete procedures that they deviate from at their own peril. Chances are near-as-nevermind certain that they don't even have a real, lifetime-of-experience, bespoke maker in their employ.

They don't need to...it's not their remit. It's not their market niche.

Whenever you ask a manufacturer to do bespoke you're forcing them out of their comfort zone.
How is Cleverley different from John Lobb in this regard
 

DWFII

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Well,as I understand it, Lobb on St. James has always been a strictly bespoke operation.Wasn't it the current Lobb who said "We have turned our backs on the machine"?

I wouldn't be surprised if Lobbs trained 1 out of 3 well known bespoke makers in the world.

The point is that they encourage, and pay pensions for, real, honest-to-god bespoke makers who have been doing it all their lives and who embody skills and knowledge passed down in an unbroken-line since the 19th century...and long long before that when you come down to it.

Any other Lobbs is really just Hermes in disguise and invariably oriented toward manufacturing, as opposed to 'making.' Profit always comes first and skilled craftsman who have been at it all their lives are not a particularly respected resource.

All the difference in the world...

IMO...
 
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Texasmade

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The JL Paris bespoke operations is separate from the JL RtW but still under the JL name. JL Paris is made entirely in house at the Paris workshop.
 

ixk

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Most bespoke makers in France had a stint at John Lobb Paris. Atienza who placed high at the last bespoke shoe competition was responsible for JLP Bespoke for something like 20 years.
 

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