Ichigo Ichie Shoemaker has set up its own team in Vietnam to produce a range of fully handmade RTW shoes, which now initially are offered at the impressive price tag of €470. A nice opportunity for those who want try something made a different way to regular factory-made Goodyear welted shoes.
It’s a topic that keeps coming back here on Shoegazing, the fact that we live in a golden age when it comes to options of great shoes for customers worldwide. Surely, 100 years ago or so the amount of proper, great shoes made were much higher, but they weren’t as accessible as they are today. Not even for those living in the largest cities of the world had the same options as the internet has given us today.
The midrange price segment is perhaps the one that is getting most cramped with lots of great options to choose from, where you have everything from the old classic brands with a long heritage that in general gives you really solid stuff, like Crockett & Jones, Cheaney or Alden, the now established “newcomers” of affordable Goodyear welted factory-made shoes, like Carmina, J FitzPatrick or TLB Mallorca, and the new challengers from Asia who can compete with more handmade parts due to lower wages, like Xibao, Yearn or CNES.
To the latter group, Ichigo Ichie Shoemaker’s new RTW range is now added. The brand is founded by the Vietnamese Lee Trung, who has lived in Japan for many years where he learned shoemaking and started offering highly affordable bespoke, MTM and MTO (which I wrote about in this article). For the RTW range though, he’s back in his home country where he has put together a small team of established makers who will produce the range.
A lot of parts are taken from how Lee Trung makes his bespoke shoes, but some things are simplified to keep price down. They are hand lasted, hand welted, and with handmade sole stitches at 10 spi (stitches per inch). The waists are trimmed relatively close and rounded, but not blind welted. Heel and toe stiffeners are made of leather, but toe stiffeners will probably be changed to celastic in the future. Now initially an adelaide and a saddle oxford has been introduced, coming are ten other models including derbys and loafers, and already next week a monkstrap and boots. They are made in leathers from tanneries like Annonay, Weinheimer and Horween. For now one order via mail, but all will be available in the webshop soon.
For the 50 first orders (where already a bunch are gone) the price is as low as €470 ($500), but this will be then be revised, probably a good solution to gather interest and also the team should improve things a bit more once things are trimmed in. If ones size/model isn’t in stock, it’s only a couple of weeks waiting time.