This week the top three shoes in the World Championships of Shoemaking 2022 are on display at the department store Isetan Men’s in Tokyo, and to kick it off there was a talk session with media and selected customers with myself and the three shoemakers who presented both their contest shoes and showcased some of their other work. Here’s some photos from the happening, with focus on the shoes present.
For those who don’t know, Isetan Men’s is the specialised men’s department store of Japan’s largest luxury retailing company Isetan Mitsukoshi. Their shoe department is legendary and has for a long time hosted the largest selection of quality shoes you can find anywhere, ranging from cheap Blake-stitched models priced around €100 all the way up to bespoke shoes from some carefully selected Japanese makers.
This is one of the stops for the world tour for the top three shoes in the shoemaking world champs, plus the patina winner. Before they have been displayed during the large event Isetan Shoe Expo, but this year this coincided with the super trunk shows in Stockholm and Amsterdam where the shoes were also to be showcased, so therefore they are in Tokyo this week. And here in Tokyo is also myself, and the three shoemakers behind the magnificent pieces: 1st placed Wataru Shimamoto, 2nd placed Ken Kataoka, and 3rd placed Kenjiro Kawashima. All are from Japan, although Kenjiro lives in South Korea.
At the intentionally small event, media like Nikkei (there will be a full two page feature in an upcoming weekend edition) and Last Magazine, some bloggers and influencers and a few selected customers of Isetan Men’s shoes department were present. I talked a bit about the contest, but of course the shoemakers and their shoes were the main attraction. The three presented their contest shoes which after the talk was carefully examined by the crown, and the makers also showcased some of their other work as well. Below a bit of all these, there will be more with all these three makers later on in separate reports here on Shoegazing (I’ve visited 2/3 workshops and showrooms during this trip to Japan).
To see more of the shoes from the World Championships of Shoemaking 2022, see this article. The Call for competition for next year will be announced in November.