After ten years at Gaziano & Girling, Swedish bespoke shoemaker Daniel Wegan left the company this autumn to start his own brand. This spring, Catella Shoemaker is launched, where the reigning world champion in shoemaking can fully develop his vision of the perfect bespoke shoes.
Daniel Wegan’s time at Gaziano & Girling has been told in various contexts before here on the blog, most recently in this much appreciated episode of the Shoegazing Podcast, where he talked about the dedication required to succeed as a bespoke shoemaker. That is why I won’t go into that much more here, but in summary, he can be said to in record time have become one of the world’s most respected bespoke shoemakers in the world, working at G&G daytime as lastmaker and leading the bespoke deparment, while freelancing as a bottom maker for the company in the evenings and weekends.
In November, however, he made his final day at G&G. After ten years at the same place, he felt it was time for a new challenge. And it is spelled Catella Shoemaker. His own brand, named after his childhood dog Catella (which means puppy in Latin). He has just completed the first three samples, which he will include on his first smaller trunk shows held this week in the US, February 5 in San Antonio, February 6-7 in Dallas, and then 9-10 in New York. He also comes to Sweden and both Stockholm and Gothenburg in March, more info on this later.
When I ask him to describe the house style, he first calls it schizophrenic. He then develops this:
– I have worked for a decade at Gaziano & Girling, so of course I am very influenced by that, and that is also a style I like. But then of course Catella will be something else. More French, more leisure influences for example.
The first three samples are the “must have model” a black plain cap toe oxford on a round toe last, a French scented plain toe oxford in purple-black patina on a sharply chiseled toe, and a medium brown adelaide on a last with a soft square toe. Everything, as seen in the pictures and as expected, are extremely well-made. Of course, more samples are in progress. Price starts at £3,600 excl. VAT, plus £500 for first pair when the last is to be made.
The plan is to slowly but surely build up a customer base during the year, not too aggressively but at a reasonable pace, so that he can do the job. The introduction will obviously require more time, as all customers should have new lasts, it’s only further ahead that simpler quicker orders can be made.
– The goal is to make about one shoe a week as some kind of average. Much more than that is probably not so realistic, since I do lasts, patterns, cut upper leather, the making and finishing and then everything around, all customer contact, meeting customers and trunk shows, and run the company with all that comes with that, Daniel says.
The upper leather is sewn by a few different freelancers, partly in England but also Japan. In the future, he would like to work with an in-house closer, but that is a bit further ahead.
– It will be fun to see where this takes the road. Feels both nice and a bit scary to be on my own.