Two weekends ago the first New York Super Trunk Show took place, and what a day it was. About 1,200 shoe and menswear lovers came through the doors and explored the offerings from the 17 exhibitors from around the world, a shoe patina exhibition was held, and the first U.S. shoe shining champs took place. Here’s a summary with loads of photos from the day.
A couple of days ahead of October 14, the event day, weather forecast stated a whopping 2 inches of rain (~40 mm) would fall this day. Not the best situation when you host an event and want people to make their way there. When the day arrived the rain weren’t that extreme, nonetheless it was still heavy, and we in the organising team – Justin FitzPatrick of The Shoe Snob blog, Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing and Kirby Allison – were indeed nervous about the turn-up. When it’s the first time doing an event, no one can be sure of how things will go.
Luckily, even if we know we lost out of a bunch of visitors, a big amount of locals defied the elements and made their way to the venue, and together with a bunch of people travelling in from other parts of the US, plus some international visitors, we had over 1,200 coming through the doors during the day. A great turnout indeed. When they entered the lovely venue, the Kosciuszko Foundation, from the E 65th street on Upper East Side, between Madison Avenue and Central Park, they were greeted by a bright high-ceiling entrance hall. Here we had a patina exhibition throughout the day, with a pause for the shoe shine final. There then was one room with exhibitors and a bar (where Hercules Mulligan generously served drinks the whole day) on the ground floor, and up the stairs was a large exhibition hall and another smaller room with a bunch of brands, both shoe brands, tailors, hat makers and accessory brands.
The atmosphere was great throughout the day, with many visitors really taking the time to check out all exhibitors closely, try on sizing and talk to the brand representatives. All the unique things that otherwise is difficult for most of the brands here, who don’t have physical representation in the US, but are only available online. We were also happy to see that many people from the shoe industry around the country gathered here, and similar to how London is an important meeting place for the European quality shoe world, the super trunk in New York looks to become the equivalent for the American one.
In the a shoe patina exhibition, which was organised in collaboration with Saphir and Bridlen with extra support from Kirby Allison, Greg Park of Han Core Patina, Chris Dillon of American Patina, and with Steve “Shack” Shackleton painted and polished a pair of Bridlen crust leather austerity brogues, using Saphir products. To see these greyish shoes transform to colourful creations during the day is surely intriguing.
In the afternoon, the given highlight of the day took place, the first U.S. Championships of Shoe Shining. Three had qualified to the final, these were Levi Elliott from Plymouth IN, Sunny Yoo from Elliott City MD, and SSG Chadwick Winget, Arlington VA. In front of a big crowd, they had 20 minutes to shine a brand new shoe from Bridlen as lovely looking and shiny as possible, with the use of Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Lux and Mirror Gloss wax polish. Crowned the first US champ was eventually Levi Elliott, who won a pair of shoes from Bridlen, a shoe care valet box from Saphir and Kirby Allison, and a gold medal. You can see the live stream from the contest, as well as one covering the patina exhibition and touring the venue, below. More professional videos will come later on at Kirby Allison’s YouTube channel.
The Platinum sponsors also had the largest exhibitor tables at the venue. Bridlen highlighted their use of full leather insoles, where the Goodyear seam is done directly to a channel of the insole, instead of gemming with the use of a glued on canvas rib which is standard today. They are one of the shoe factories in India that lead the way in offering proper premium welted footwear to the world, at excellent prices.
Saphir and Kirby Allison showcased a selection of products from the Medaille d’Or range, which is seen as the golden standard for premium shoe care. Ever since 1925 Saphir has been a leading producer of shoe care products containing natural ingredients, known not only for the excellent results achieved, but also for the ease of use. They also constantly continue to develop new products, to cover all the needs one can find In the US Kirby Allison’s online store is one of the leading retailers of the brand.
Our Gold sponsors also had impressive exhibitions with all their lovely footwear. TLB Mallorca set a new record in amount of shoes on one table at a super trunk, but despite this managed to showcase it in a clean and appealing way. The brand is most known for their sleek Artista range with shoes that look way more expensive than they are, but they also showed a number of great more casual styles. Next to them we had the Chinese premium brand Acme, with their absolute top class, fully handmade footwear that comes in all styles, shapes and colours. From them you can get shoes made to the same standard as the best bespoke in the world, directly of the shelf as RTW. There’s no surprise that Acme has become one of the most hyped brands in the classic shoe world lately.
For Silver sponsors, The Last Shoemaker had one of the most diverse table’s with everything from clean minimalist shoes, one of their specialties, to crazily designed bespoke samples. Skolyx Skolyx showcased their European-made Goodyear welted shoes and premium sneakers, as well as everything from workwear boots to Belgian loafers from the Spanish brand Yanko. One of the worlds finest hatmakers was present, Optimo, and they had several persons ordering their fine, Chicago made hats made to top-class standards. Norman Vilalta always do successful super trunk show exhibitions, this was no different, people do appreciate his highly personal takes on quality footwear.
For us shoe nerds it’s extra nice to let new small brands get an opportunity to introduce themselves to a wider audience, here we had Old House Provisions, the bespoke brand of shoemaker Drew Altizer from Charlottesville, VA, which have something really good going with his classic casual style. The tailoring firm Lanieri has already conquered Europe, where people appreciate their excellent style, quality and prices, now they continue with the US, where the super trunk is one piece of the pussle. Another new, small American brand which instead focus on Goodyear welted small batch shoes, with matching belts always included, is George Lyon Shoes. On the other end of the axle, we have industry longtimer Dominic Casey from the UK, who has worked for decades in the bespoke shoe industry and now runs his own successful bespoke shoe brand.
Divij Bespoke is a California-based tailoring firm that focus a lot on achieving the perfect fit, and several visitors appreciated their approach and style, and got measured and placed orders on site. Justin Trewitt from Texas now work full time with his Dapper Woodworks project, and showcased his impressive handcrafted wood pieces, everything from shelves to shoehorns, all with impeccable finishing. CNES from Vietnam offer some serious bang for the buck footwear, both Blake, Goodyear welted and hand welted, and as usual they had a bunch of orders taken already on site (otherwise most of the sales for brands exhibiting at the the super trunk events actually take place the weeks after, when orders are placed online and via mail). Finally we had Carmina part, who focused on introducing their very interesting, brand new digital bespoke service, where one 3D scan the feet, a personalised last and pattern is created, and with these a pair is made on their regular line for Goodyear welted shoes.
We think it goes without saying that the New York Super Trunk Show definitely will come back next year. We who organise it want it, sponsors want it, visitors want it. So see you all again next October!