The first Amsterdam Super Trunk Show hosted by Bas Van Exter of The Shoe-care Shop and Jesper Ingevaldsson of shoegazing blog was held on March 7th just before the whole world started to go on lock-down mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been less than a month and it looks like the world as we knew it will never be the same again. But first, the trunk show itself.
It was joy to meet fellow shoemakers, shoe lovers and generally be customer-facing. I got a sense of how passionate so many people are about classic shoes, and how big the market for it still is, despite the recent trend towards sneakers and more casual shoes. It seems that the world of good quality Goodyear welted shoes is not small and there is always a place (or quite a few!) in a gentleman’s wardrobe for classic shoes. Working inside a shoe factory for most of the year and being an online-first brand, this is a rare treat, to get to meet potential clients and understand what they are looking for in a pair of shoes. Since returning to work, I have been busy tweaking the website and soon putting up short videos explaining our styles, lasts and unique construction so even if we cant be speaking to the customer directly, our website can talk to their needs and concerns as much as possible.
For me, it was my first time exhibiting at a trunk show alongside other big names of the game like Edward Green, Magnanni, Santoni and even bespoke shoemaker Patrick Frei & Kazuya Kimura amidst others. This humbling experience, rubbing shoulders with experienced brands gave me the inspiration to push our limits of quality and finishing even further. What was also very nice was the camaraderie, openness and how casual my fellow shoemakers were, as we swapped tips and vented our challenges over dinner that evening. I am happy to report, while some of our brands might appear to be, we shoemakers are not a stuffy lot!
I also got to finally see the top three shoes from the World Shoe making Championship 2019. These three shoes have been doing a world tour going around the best shoe stores and exhibitions. Since last year, I missed it in Tokyo in September by a week and again in Bangkok by a day! Finally, I got to see them in the real in Amsterdam and spend some time examining and appreciating them. The detailing and execution on them were just impeccable! The first place when to Daniel Wegan for his super slim waist execution and the heel stack made of multiple thin layers of sole bends. The second place was awarded to Corthay for yet another unique heel and lovely detailing on the upper. Third to my favorite Japanese shoemaker Eiji Murata of Main d’or Bespoke Shoemaker for the most wearable and classy oxford brogue I have ever seen.
Amsterdam also got to see its first Shoe Shining Championship where participants tried to achieve a mirror gloss shine of a pair of shoes in 15 minutes. While this sounds very difficult, they all managed to do it with varying degrees of success and accuracy. I’ll soon make a post on how I do a mirror gloss but certainly take more than 15 minutes to do mine!
While we were supposed to continue our European Trunk Show in London in April, It was postponed as the severity of the corona virus was became alarming as the number of infected cases in Europe started rising quite dramatically and at a very rapid pace. Travel restrictions were put in place, so much so that as I write this during the last days of March, the whole world more of less is in lock-down mode with international travel almost completely restricted. For now, London is scheduled for October 10th 2020. Hope to see you soon at the London Super Trunk Show.