Shoe Patterns by Atelier Kobayashi (Tokyo)
Out of all of the stages of shoemaking, I always found pattern making to be the most interesting and fascinating. Now don’t get me wrong, while I personally love creating the design of the shoe, last making and the creation (putting them all together) are equally important and intriguing as well. But being more of a designer (in my head) the way to truly express that vision is through the pattern (and then the last shape to carry out that pattern). As I tend to do on Instagram, I discovered yet another Japanese shoemaker named Kazunori Kobayashi and found some interesting pictures of his patterns. I always love seeing pictures like this as it is great to see the concept then become the reality and how it is translated from last to finished product.
Before I launched my own brand, I took a few days with Tony Gaziano in crash course pattern making. While it can look easy in these pictures, it is actually quite difficult and I think that those crash course were quite overwhelming but good nonetheless to see and try to comprehend. I always thought that one day I would eventually learn it properly so that instead of taking my designs to the factory to have their pattern-maker execute them, that I could simply hand over my own patterns to make them exactly how I really envision them. Often the patterns come out near enough to my original vision that I don’t fuss too much, but then again I have much more complicated stuff that I never bring to light for fear of having to try out 10 samples to just to get it right.
And while most aspiring shoe people always want to learn the making side of it, many of you must not forget that in reality it all starts with the pattern and the last and only with those things you can then create the final product. The great shoemakers were all last/pattern makers. Anyone can learn shoemaking but to become a great pattern maker is where the real challenge lies.