2012: The Year "Made In…" Moniker Loses Its Strength
It used to be a point of pride telling someone where your shoes were made. Especially if your shoes happened to come from your own country. It was more of an exotic appeal telling someone (if you were American) that your shoes were made in Europe. But now, these things don’t really exist anymore. I, frankly, don’t really care what country a pair of shoes were made in, so long as I know that the construction is good, the leather is high grade and the design looks good on the last. With all of those things up to my standard, the shoe could be made in Antarctica for all I care, and I believe that more of us are feeling like this. The reality is, no one should care what country your shoes are made in so long as the quality of the craftsmanship and leather, is high. It’s a false (and naive) belief, thinking your shoes ‘must’ be good because they were made in such and such acclaimed shoe making country.
Shoes Above By: DC Lewis†
50-60 years ago, it used to be a guarantee that if your shoes were made in America, England or Italy, that you must have been wearing a beautiful, well-made shoe. But now it’s no mystery that certain factories in Italy, either have 80-90% of the shoe fabricated in China, India or Brazil and then send it over to Italy to finish off the last 10-20%, slapping on the “Made In Italy” moniker and allowing the world to believe it was a well-made shoe produced in an artisan country. That’s called hustling at it’s finest. But we, the people, are (hopefully) becoming more aware of these things, these hustles and are wising up to the fact that good shoes can be made in countries that you would have least expected. And what, anyway, separates a country from being good shoe producers to not? Why were England and Italy rooted in fine footwear? Because at one point and time, creating a product was not about making money, it was about creating something that you could be proud of, something that could make your country known for. And it didn’t hurt that men from these countries, truly used to appreciate the art of dressing well and therefore took pride in creating pieces that represented that.
Shoes Above By: Run Of The Mill
But now you see that many companies live off of a name, an idea, a tradition that they no longer stick to in reality, only in false theory. The idea of creating a great product at a great price has changed, and the only thing that high level CEO’s (as many companies have been bought out by conglomerates) care about is profit margin and taking the necessary shortcuts to maximize that margin. It’s sad really, but I have a feeling that this will change as people are starting to see that the shoes that they have been purchasing for 20-30 years, no longer feel as good as they used to, look as good as they used to and no longer last as long as they used to. They see that their favorite brand has shirked quality for quantity and money and therefore need to find another brand to make up for them. And this is where you see an upsurge in small brands coming out, like DC Lewis and Run Of The Mill, brands that appear to care about quality and honest price control. And I believe that brands like these two, others similar and mine will be the new wave of the future in shoes. At least I hope so……
Happy New Year to all!! Let’s make this a year to remember!
Justin, “The Shoe Snob”