In this podcast series Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing, one of the world's largest blogs on classic men's shoes, does in-depth interviews with various shoe people from all over the world, where each episode will focus on a specific topic related to the interviewee. For much more on classic quality shoes, visit Shoegazing.com.
Ep. 14 - Q&A Special with Daniel Wegan, Catella Shoemaker
The Shoegazing Podcast is back, this time with a new type of special edition episodes that will pop-up every now and then, called Q&A Specials. Basically you listeners and readers of Shoegazing.com get to ask questions to some famous names from the classic shoe industry.
This round is with Daniel Wegan, the Swede who made a name of himself working at the bespoke department of Gaziano & Girling in England for ten years. He placed second in the World Championships in Shoemaking 2018, and then won the title in 2019. Last year he left G&G to start his own bespoke brand, Catella Shoemaker.
In this Q&A Special though, it’s you who have decided the topics. A big thanks to all who sent in questions, couldn’t fit in all, but we got a lot covered in the near hour we talked, among other things Daniel’s view on the current boom of more casual footwear and how he thinks this will affect his business, a breakdown on why bespoke shoes cost so much, about preventing work-related injuries as a shoemaker, how he works with the bottom of the lasts, why he is often wearing cheap New Balance shoes himself, and much more. Enjoy the listen!
Ep. 13 - Carina Eneroth, Skomakeri Framåt, about the situation for cobblers
This time it’s all about shoe repairs and cobblers. I met up with Carina Eneroth of Skomakeri Framåt, which sort of translates to Cobblery Forward, a cobbler and bespoke shoemaker based in Stockholm, Sweden. She’s been in the business for almost four decades now, and apart from being one of the owners of Skomakeri Framåt, with a Royal Warrant of Appointment to the Swedish Royal family, she’s also on the board for the Swedish Cobbler’s Association.
With the mature shoe repair industry in Sweden as a base, but with lots of international lookouts, we talked some about the history of the cobbler trade, and a lot about the current situation with both how corona has affected the industry, but also how things were before and likely will be in the future. An interesting talk for all who want to know more about cobbler’s situation today.
Ep. 12 - Kostas Mandilaris, The Noble Shoe, about selling shoes digitally
We live in a digital world, and nowadays a lot of both marketing and sales takes place solely online in various ways. One online shoe retailer who have successfully used all the digital possibilities is Kostas Mandilaris of The Noble Shoe, who sells among others Carlos Santos, Paolo Scafora and Crockett & Jones. In this episode we talk about the benefits and challenges with selling relatively expensive quality shoes only online, about how to work with digital marketing in various ways, and much more.
This is actually the first episode that’s been recorded after the coronavirus has turned the world upside down, and since one can’t travel like normal and I very much prefer to do these podcast interviews in person, we will likely see some more local Nordic folks represented the coming months. Luckily, we have lots of interesting shoe people up here.
Ep. 11 - Takashi Fukuda, Isetan, about Isetan Men’s influence on the quality shoe scene
For this episode I met Takashi Fukuda, who is a legendary buyer at the department store Isetan Men’s in Tokyo. For many years he has been the head buyer at their shoe department, and has been highly influential on what will be found on the shoe shelves at Isetan Men’s.
Isetan is a Japanese chain of department stores, with it’s huge flagship store in Shinjuku in central Tokyo. There they have one building dedicated to women’s fashion and more, and one whole building with only men’s clothing and accessories. The shoe department of Isetan Men’s is likely the largest one in the world when it comes to quality shoes. It is an incredible place for shoe lovers, with everything from low-end Blake stitched shoes up to some of the best bespoke shoes in the world, and everything in between. I usually travel to Japan and Tokyo once a year, and the first day I arrive I always head directly to Isetan Men’s to browse the shelves and to see what’s new since my last visit.
For makers of quality shoes, not just Japanese but from all over the world, Isetan Men’s is the single most prestigious store to be represented at. They have a huge impact on what will be popular among the Japanese, which together with the US is the largest market for quality shoes there is. And since other stores and shoe agencies from around the world always have an eye at Isetan Men’s, what is found here often quickly get traction also in Europe, the US and elsewhere as well.
So, I sat down to talk with Takashi Fukuda about the impact that Isetan Men’s has had on the shoe industry in Japan, and abroad, how they work when bringing in new brands, and how they are going to keep its relevance in the increasingly digital world.
Takashi Fukuda isn’t the best English speaker, hope for leniency, but I’m sure you’ll find it a good listen anyway.
Ep. 10, Jonathan Church, Cheaney, about leaving private label production
This episode was recorded at the Micam shoe fair in Milan, Italy, back in February. In this episode we’re meeting Jonathan Church, one of the owners of the British firm Cheaney & Sons. Jonathan has worked in the footwear industry for three decades, first in the firm bearing his family name, Church’s, later with Cheaney. Cheaney was one of the last Northampton based shoe factories to transcend from focusing on Private Label to sell shoes under their own name, which they did after Jonathan and his cousin William Church acquired the company in 2009. It has resulted in a massive increase in both turnover and profits. Our talk focus around this topic, but we also talk about his experience of the Prada takeover of Church’s, and about Brexit.
Ep. 9 - Robin Chang, about Asian-made quality shoes
This time you will meet Robin Chang, founder of the leading quality shoe store in Taiwan, Oak Room, located in the capital Taipei. He has been involved in the shoe business for many years, and is considered one of the foremost experts on the classic shoe industry in Asia.
In this episode we will focus on the situation for factories making classic quality shoes as well as bespoke shoemakers in Asia, outside of Japan. It’s a topic that many in Europe or the US know very little of. Things are happening quickly in this part of the world, and this industry has come further than many believe. We will talk about how China has already moved away from being a low cost production country for shoes, nowadays it’s countries like Laos and Vietnam where manufacturing of quality shoes is growing the quickest. This has meant that we now see a lot of new Chinese independent shoemakers making fully handmade shoes, raised in a shoe industry that in parts have moved on, and now thanks to social media they can reach customers themselves.
We also talk about for example how the very affordable, often very well-made Asian made quality shoes will be pushing European manufacturers, as they come into play as proper competition, we will go into the situation with customers in the domestic countries, and much, much more. You have a very informative half an hour in front of you, enjoy!