This weekend the annual Independent Shoemakers Conference takes place, the first edition to be held online, due to obvious reasons. The positive thing is that it makes it even more accessible for all shoemakers, and those who are interested in shoemaking. A lot of knowledge is shared in videos and seminars with shoemakers from around the world, and conference participants have a full month to view all the content. Also briefly about the fact that we have once again postponed the London Super Trunk Show, new date is Saturday October 9.

 

The Independent Shoemakers Conference is organised by Deborah Carré and James Ducker of the London based bespoke shoemaker and shoemaking school organisers Carréducker. The conference is usually hosted by various British bespoke firms, in recent years they’ve been at among others Dominic Casey and Stephen Lowe at Lastmakers House in Eastbourne and at Tony Slinger in Harrogate. It always gather a number of interesting speakers who go through various parts of shoemaking, teach how they do things etc, and participants comes from mainly the UK and Europe but also from other parts of the world. As mentioned, this year it’s taking place online, which has the pro that there’s an even greater variety of speakers from literally all over the world, and this will likely be the same for participants as well. There is no limits of registrants, and you can still sign up to join the conference for only €23 (£20), visit this page here for all info on how.

I would recommend it not only for shoemakers or those with shoemaking aspirations, but for all who are interested to learn more about the craft and surrounding topics. As I’ve described here on the blog before, I’ve taken shoemaking courses and spent days and days in shoemaking workshops and shoe factories, not to learn how to make shoes but to learn how shoes are made, and it’s the best school there is. Watching the films and following the seminars here will be a bit like that.

I’ve hade pre-access to the conference page and watched a number of films already, and there’s surely some interesting content here. To just name a few examples of the topics and speakers, we have a section on natural leather where among others Tony Crack from leather supplier A.A. Crack and bespoke shoemaker Mario Bemer and Diane Becker talk vegetable tanned leathers, pros and cons, how it is to work with etc. We have a bootmaking session where makers like Lisa Sorrell, Janne Melkersson and Caroline Groves teach various parts of bootmaking. There’s also a thorough shoe shining tutorial with John Chung of shoe shine bar Mason & Smith, who won the World Championships in Shoe Shining in 2018.

Pictures: Carréducker

Since it’s been recorded by the speakers etc. themselves the films varies in production quality, but it all works out fine, it’s the content that matters. Tonight there’s an inauguration event, and during the weekend the films will be screened at certain times, sometimes with Q&A sessions in Zoom video conference tool afterwards, and then on all main topics there will be Zoom seminars going deeper into the subjects, which likely will be interesting to listen in on. As mentioned conference participants can watch the films whenever you like for one months time though, so large parts of the conference is highly accessible also if you don’t have a chance to be by a phone or computer all weekend.

 

 


 

 

For the same reasons as the conference above is held online, we have once again postponed the London Super Trunk Show, the new date is Saturday October 9. This is the world’s largest open event for classic men’s shoes, with more than ten brands from all over the world, interesting partners, there will be the World Championships in Shoe Shining and Shoe Patina, plus the World Championships in Shoemaking will have it’s award ceremony and competition shoes displayed. We first postponed the event from April 23 2020, when the situation started to escalate in spring, to October 10, then to May 8 2021, now to the hopefully final date in October.

This also means that we are prolonging the qualifications for the world championships in shoe shining and shoe patina until August 22 2021, more info about that in this post.

We understand that this might create troubles for some of you, who have planned coming to the event and need cancelling flights etc, but it’s still the better solution overall. As we done this time, two months prior to the new date we will take a final decision on whether to go forward with the new date or not, we sincerely hope that there will be no further moves, and that we can finally meet you all in October. Read all about the event here.