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Wildsmith shoe brand resurrected

bengal-stripe

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Leffot carries the first samples of the resurrected Wildsmith brand. Wildsmith once a famous bespoke shoemaker closed down maybe 10 or 12 years ago.



http://leffot.com/wildsmith-bloomsbury/

That new attempt at a once illustrious name appears to be the brainchild of Chay Cooper from Alfred Sargent and presumably those shoes are made by AS. (Whether Wildmith gets distributed by Sargent or totally separate, has to bee seen),

Interesting to see that the featured loafer claims to be the heir to the “house shoes” worn oversized with heavy hunting hose by George V. So far EG’s “Harrow” held that claim. The new one is not only different in the proportions to the Harrow , but also does not feature the hand-stitched apron and toe of the EG version.



I demand, as they both cannot be right, let the legitimate heir stand up!
 
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comrade

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I had a pair of their signature unlined loafers in dark brown
purchased maybe thirty years ago in London. They were very
durable but got "sloppy" after a while, probably owing to the lack
of linings.
 

dieworkwear

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The board of directors also doesn't seem to include anyone from the Wildsmith family. I wonder what happened to that one grandson who used to post on here - user name Wildsmith. Is he still part of this project?

Anyway, I'm actually in touch with Chay right now to get more information. Was mainly going to ask him about the construction of the shoes, the relaunch project, and why the new Wildsmith loafer is so different from the original (I assume the apron design and stitch in the quarters is to save money?). If anyone has suggestions for other questions, let me know.

Incidentally, while the new loafer design is not at all like the original, I do think it seems nice for the price ($400-500).
 
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VegTan

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That new attempt at a once illustrious name appears to be the brainchild of Chay Cooper from Alfred Sargent and presumably those shoes are made by AS. (Whether Wildmith gets distributed by Sargent or totally separate, has to bee seen),

I bet on Trickers. If AS, they should write "Made in Northamptonshire" or "Made in Rushden".
 

Wildsmith

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WILDSMITH & CO FOUNDED 1847......................DESTROYED 2013
 

Wildsmith

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I think, in reality it was probably destroyed from 1995 onwards.......
 

bengal-stripe

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Here is another moc toe stitching. Are these also Edward Green?

It's quite possible those shoes are Edward Green, but it's probably EG before John Hlustik took over the company (1982). The Wildsmith address is listed as Duke Street, but the firm's last address was Princes Arcade (between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street).I have no idea when the move took place.

My guess is, those shoes are from the 70s, if not the late 60s.
 

bengal-stripe

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I have no doubt that the "new Wildsmith" (which has Chay Cooper and "Cat and Dandy" involved) has come to some financial agreement with the heir(s) to the Wildsmith name. Presumably, Mr John Wildsmith (who must be now in his 80s) is still alive and the deal was done with him. This would explain our member "Wildsmith"'s outburst, as he has told us previously, he is the grandson of John and his father (who used to work in the business) and grandfather had a massive falling-out a number of years ago.

Maybe "new Wildsmith" can continue with the tradition of Wildsmith's heydays (which were before my time), but not the miserable end when John Wildsmith sold nothing but J&J stock items, massively overpriced. That one sample of "new Wildsmith" we have seen so far, doesn't make me feel too optimistic for a "no corners cut" approach. The gimping (zigzag) of the loafer apron looks to me like a cheap attempt to create the pie-crust look of a properly hand-stitched apron.

Oh well, time will tell!
 
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Wildsmith

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I have no real quarrels with the ‘new Wildsmith’ other than that they are trading on what would have been 6 generations of Wildsmith ethos, perhaps we won’t count the last proprietor, under a modern perspective. The way I see it, it’s a firm calling themselves Wildsmith selling shoes as opposed to a firm selling ‘Wildsmith Shoes’. I have seen a sign on their Facebook (on Savile Row?) which says WILDSMITH ESTD. 1847. Should it not read “Wildsmith ESTD 2013…….??”

My grounds for sheer anger, annoyance, and disappointment is the selfishness, greed and damn right disgusting way in which he has brought un abrupt end to the Wildsmith line of tradition. Sour grapes it may sound, however I’m of the opinion that if you inherit a family business of good standing you have the responsibility to continue the line on for future generations, not just selfishly take the money and run!!
In reality, J Wildsmith is entitled to do whatever he wishes to do with the company; however I’m not sure I’d sleep well knowing I had done what he has.

For me, having never had any involvement with the business, it has never about owning a business, the success of it, but always been the great sense of pride that I had, knowing what my ancestors had worked up to build, the clientele the shop attracted, it’s (previous) reputation and the iconic designs that were produced on the bench.

Perhaps I’ll quit now before I say something I might really regret ;)
 

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