silverporsche

Super Member
1,024
United States
missouri
st.louis
Would one call Edward Green , G.J. Cleverley , Church , henry Maxwell , Jim Weston ,Aldens , and New & Lingwood designer shoes.
What would one call Testoni , Lattanzi , Ferragamo , Berlutti , Sutor Mantellassi , Kiton , or John Lobb ? or they designer shoes ?
Are designer shoes generally latin , can American and English shoes be
designer shoes.
I am very interested in what most of your answers will be.
Thanks
 

Bob Loblaw

Super Member
1,754
A designer item is an item which highlights the designer over the manufacturer. A Ralph Lauren sports coat, for example, might come from St. Andrews, Corneliani, Chester Barrie, etc but this is not transparent to the purchaser.

Some designer shoes that fit this definition:
Bruno Magli, Prada, Kenneth Cole, and even Brooks Brothers (even though there is an attempt to obfuscate their manufacturer, most know the shoes come mostly from Alden.)
 

Sator

Honors Member
3,547
The term "designer" around these parts is a pejorative term denoting couture house brands that like to pretend that their so-called runway styles are the product of a supposedly "genius" designer-Maestro, who creates increasingly more ridiculous clown costumes every season.



"Designer" is a term better suited to women's fashion. It would be quite perverse to use the term to describe a G&G bespoke shoe, and likewise if were applied to a bespoke suit by A&S.

Any menswear which can be derided as being a "designer" fashion item should be avoided like the plague.

However, as already noted some "designer" shoes in fact are rebranded shoes from quality high end makers such C&J for Paul Smith. However, these are by far and away exceptions to the rule.
 
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Alexander Kabbaz

Tech and Business Advice Guru
6,682
United States
New York
East Hampton
"Designer" anything: Higher price; lower quality than the top-quality bespoke and MTO makers.

If a designer were actually a maker, s/he would call themselves a maker. In the trade, a maker is more highly regarded than a designer. There are a helluvalot fewer makers than there are designers. Thank God.
 

yachtie

Advanced Member
2,748
"Designer" anything: Higher price; lower quality than the top-quality bespoke and MTO makers.

If a designer were actually a maker, s/he would call themselves a maker. In the trade, a maker is more highly regarded than a designer. There are a helluvalot fewer makers than there are designers. Thank God.

+1 direct hit
 

pt4u67

Honors Member
3,324
However, as already noted some "designer" shoes in fact are rebranded shoes from quality high end makers such C&J for Paul Smith. However, these are by far and away exceptions to the rule.
The PS shoes that I've seen tend to be a bit fashion forward however and therefore not suitable for me.

As for American designer shoes, all one has to do is go to a department store and they're all over the place. Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and even Cole Haan. Visit your local Banana Republic or J Crew and you'll see even more. The silliest thing I saw was a John Varvatos designer sneaker that was nothing more than a weathered Chuck Tailor Converse sneaker that I used to wear as a kid selling for upwards of $120.
 

rider

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
231
"Designer" anything: Higher price; lower quality than the top-quality bespoke and MTO makers.
This is an awfully broad statement and I respectfully disagree. Perhaps in the shirt business, which I would not comment on, this is true, but the original post concerned shoes and this is not ALWAYS the case here. Is it generally the case? Yes. Is it always the case? No.

A 'designer shoe' is one where a stylist employed by a 'brand' that is not concerned with manufacturing details a pattern/material/construction/price point/etc. and seeks out a manufacturer to make this shoe under their label.

Two examples:

Fairly large American belt marketer (advertised as 'maker') approaches us at the Italian show last season with a request to produce Alligator or Croc mocs under their brand. After about 10 minutes of going over the details of what they want, and discussing (generally) the skins they like, we are told what they are prepared to invest. Meeting ends immediately - not even worth preparing samples. This season I see that a Naples manufacturer had accepted the contract...even Naples could not make the shoes at the price they wanted, so I inquire and find out that they actually had the shoes made in Ethiopia (actually a large producer [500+ factories/workshops] of shoes....most labeled 'Made in Spain', but the Southern Italians also work from there) and the shoes are on the shelf at a 4X mark-up. This brand also approaches a very good belt manufacturer (small) in Massachusetts for it's alligator/croc flanks belts and, after obtaining samples, offers $4 per belt! He laughed and never replied further to them.

Big classic clothing brand with shops all over the world seeks a manufacturer for it's long established private label - especially exotics. They provide sketches/blueprints with EVERY detail spelled out, including where they want the brass tacks to go on the soles and heels....by the mm. They are far more interested in quality and dependable delivery than price, and they provide all the resources to make this happen. The shoes are on the shelf here for LESS than what the same shoe would cost under our label if I put it in US Stock. They NEVER asked for anything to be taken out of the shoes.

Both these would be considered 'designers' while the first example becomes a huge rip-off and the second a fair deal for the consumer.

Next point - what is the average price of a Bespoke shoe here? $2500? I'm not aware of any 'brands' selling shoes for $2500. MTO shoes? If you mean specials where a last is adjusted to accomodate a special need...I would guess the average price would be around $700 here. Still, not too many 'brands' selling shoes off the shelf at this price.

Final point - if a designer details a shoe and has it made for his brand, how is that SO different than most 'Bespoke' makers who simply take the measurements, draft the pattern and prepare the last, while having everything else made 'outside'? It's a tiny list where the guy you meet at a fitting for Bespoke actually gets his hands dirty making the shoes, let alone completing every phase himself. To me, these very talented people are as much 'designer' as they are 'maker'. Just my opinion.

To summize; your point has a great deal of merit, but should not be taken without exceptions.
 

jcusey

Senior Moderator<br>Technical Support
2,660
Both these would be considered 'designers' while the first example becomes a huge rip-off and the second a fair deal for the consumer.
Here's the problem: how would a consumer be able to tell the first shoe from the second when both are just sitting on a retailer's shelf? How could you tell if one shoe used an inferior grade of outsole unless you had inside information or bought the shoe and discovered it for yourself through experience? The principal problem that I have with "designer" and private-label merchandise is that I often don't know who made it; and when I do, I often don't know if the maker has been forced to take something out of it to be able to sell it to the designer for the agreed-upon price. Granted, it would be possible for, say, Edward Green to take advantage of their reputation by taking the guts out of their shoes and selling them at the same price; but it just seems less likely.

In answer to the original question, the best makers and manufacturers out there are also talented designers, but I think that Alex is right that they would rather be known as top-quality makers and manufacturers than as designers.
 

indylion

Senior Member
753
before the 70's

A designer item is an item which highlights the designer over the manufacturer. A Ralph Lauren sports coat, for example, might come from St. Andrews, Corneliani, Chester Barrie, etc but this is not transparent to the purchaser.

Some designer shoes that fit this definition:
Bruno Magli, Prada, Kenneth Cole, and even Brooks Brothers (even though there is an attempt to obfuscate their manufacturer, most know the shoes come mostly from Alden.)
Until the early 70's, we highlighted the store over the manufacturers and the designers.
 

rider

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
231
Here's the problem: how would a consumer be able to tell the first shoe from the second when both are just sitting on a retailer's shelf?
A different question altogether. The original question simply had to do with 'what makes a designer shoe', as I read it. Mr. Kabbaz answered in a very short way that left no room for interpretation, which I disagree with.

As for this question, it's no different than any question of quality or value. For many here, they would be able to see the differences immediately, and properly decide that the belt brand's shoes are way overpriced. We all also know that alot of this business is BS. The most respected of brands oversell their benefits and hide their weakness'. I have a retailer that also sells Borelli shirts....he sells them as '100% handmade'. I was in his shop, corrected him, and he told me to stick with shoes. Called back a week later to say that I was correct and that they had sold him on a 'bill of goods'. Why did he think the shirts were '100% handmade'? Because the Borelli guy TOLD him the shirts were handmade. Does that make them bad shirts? I don't know for sure, but probably not. I imagine they have quite a few loyal and satisfied customers. I don't know anything about shirts, but I do know a little about stitches....he should too, but apparently he 'overlooked' this one in his excitment to carry such a well respected line. I could go into a shop and ask for all the 9.5D A/E's, examine the outsoles and purchase a pair made with the best one. The next customer could come in, ask for 9.5D and purchase a shoe for the same price where the sole will wear out much sooner than mine. You probably could also. At some point and time, you just trust the brand and the retailer.

Also, manufacturers are not imune to expences that make their products more expensive they maybe they could be. THE biggest objection I have run into during the last year regarding distribution of the Martegani line is that 'you don't advertise nationally'. Do you know how much ads in the popular magazines cost? There is a great location available right now on Madison next to Tanino Crisci....going for 1,750,000 $ per year! The manufacturers do not 'eat' these cost, they end up in the price of the product. In many cases, the 'designers' cost of marketing is much less than a manufacturers and LESS ends up being put into the price of it's products.

In answer to the original question, the best makers and manufacturers out there are also talented designers, but I think that Alex is right that they would rather be known as top-quality makers and manufacturers than as designers.
For the small workshops I would agree, but of the brands mentioned by the OP there is not a one that would not love to hear from Gucci, Hermes, LV or even Adidas to buy the whole shootin' match, wash their hands of the daily production problems and move on up to the 'design' office. Actually, I guess some already have. And, 7 of the manufacturers mentioned market shoes made outside of their factories and not labled to this effect.