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Gaziano & Girling Cambridge, Espresso Hatch Grain, last MH71

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George in Bespoke

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18One day in Honk Kong, next day in US. How difficult it is for a shoemaker to  travel so much and still to be able to create gorgeous shoes?

To me traveling and seeing different places is very important to the process of shoemaking. I try to visit many countries and regions (including in Japan), to order to experience people, atmosphere, fashion and art. I think that this allows me to be able to have fun making shoes. This way I’m  not bound or limited by preconceived ideas.

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Although you learned to make shoes in Italy at Roberto Ugolini now you are more and more influenced by Anglo-Saxon design. How would you describe your  design at this moment and what other influences do you find appealing?

Currently, my concept is certainly influenced by Anglo-Saxon designs (especially shoes made by craftsmen in the old days), which I greatly admire. I try to keep that concept in mind when expressing my own feelings in the present day. Because my father originally made shoe patterns, I had been involved in the world of shoes. I studied shoemaking in Italy, where I first learned about how wonderful handmade shoes are. After that, I apprenticed under Roberto Ugolini when I became enamored with the making of handmade shoes.

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How creative can you be in shoemaking? How hard is to find a good balance between tradition and innovation?

When you make shoes, there is no limit on how creative you can be. But my field is classic sensibilities. I am always thinking about how I can make simple, balanced shoes within those narrow sensibilities. I hope to express a balance between playful, unique and classical sensibilities.

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What other shoemakers you admire wide-word and in Japan?

There are many overseas shoemakers whom I admire. They all make a world with their own unique voice.

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What would be the most extravagant shoe that a client could ordered for bespoke?

The most extravagant pair of shoes would probably be the pair that combined crocodile, elephant, and ostrich, all in black.

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Where do you get the leathers from?

I get many of the materials for uppers in France and Italy. For the soles and heels, I use materials from Germany and Italy.

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In your opinion would bespoke be kill by MTO in the future?

I believe that in the future, the number of bespoke shoes that are produced may decrease with time, but I believe bespoke will survive. I hope it continues long into the future.

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What part of the manufacturing process you think in your opinion is the most rewarding, in terms of satisfaction?

One of the most rewarding parts of the manufacturing process is drawing the pattern. Also, both the tasks of making the last and polishing the shoes each offers a different experience depending on my state of mind when I make them.

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What is your favorite pair of Spigola Shoes?

My favorite pair of Spigola shoes are simple oxfords and double monks.

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What’s the scariest man shoe trend that you see today and what is the trends that you like/dislike most?

The trend in the men’s shoe industry that concerns me the most in Japan is the toward so-called “cool biz,” or business casual dress. In particular, I worry that young men will lose interest in classic suits and handmade high end shoes.

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What are your plans for the near future?

In the near future I would like to use my bespoke activities as a springboard, and if I find good manufacturing facilities, I would like to expand into Prêt-à-Porter shoes.

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 For more information about Koji Suzuki (Spigola shoes) visit spigola.jp 

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