Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Time for Church

As we look at luxury in the downturn, recent posts including the interview with our favourite shoeist Mr Hare (I will buy those Stingray Orwell's as soon as I can) and Elliott's style diary (because he owns a pair - bought from Battersea Boot Sale) got me thinking about one of my favourite luxury brands. Church's have created a blemish free blueprint which other luxury brands would be fools not to learn from.

When I think of Church's brogues, my mind races back in time and I am looking through my blue/grey/green eyes (the colour frequently changes) as a child. I remember my first visit to London aged six where I was accompanied by my Canadian cousins (the one and only time I've seen them) and sandwiched between Thames boat trip rides and sightseeing from the top deck of a double decker bus (we did the whole tourist shebang that day) I recall peering through the windows of a remarkably traditional looking store front and the brogues within it really caught my imagination. This was my first taste of aspirational window shopping. I no longer wanted to shop at Clarks' on Margate High Street for my school shoes, I wanted to come here...sadly, next August I was pulled back to Clarks' where Linda measured my feet in that seemingly futuristic yet archaic at the same time device followed by the usual 'oh how you've feet have grown.' Since this moment I've always known that one day I'll own a pair of Church's along with a Savile Row bought suit and a Cartier watch being the cherry on my sartorial cake (a little more unrealistic...a twenty five year old boy can but dream). At this point I must assure you that I'm ordinarily no label whore but these historic labels would bring out the inner whore in me just to be able to wear them. Of course, a pair of Church's would look ridiculous on a a six year old boy, even more bizarre on a spotty teenager (in to his sportswear) but now I think the day is very close indeed. I have grown in to my dreams.

The history of the brand is well known but let me give you a little recap because it is this combined with their practices which make me dream of having a pair on my feet. Church's Shoes was founded in 1873 by three brothers who brought together under one roof the cottage industry skills involved in shoe-making at the time. The company's headquarters are still based in Northampton in England. The collection of ‘Handmade Custom Grade’ shoes offers premier shoes to experience the finest in comfort, quality and style. In an ever changing world, these classic English styles form a lasting impression. The 250 operations and eight weeks of craftsmanship using the very finest leathers to produce every single pair of shoes for today's well-dressed gentleman is legendary.

These are shoes which will last a liftetime. True investment pieces. Last Summer Wallpaper profiled Church’s Shoes in-house repair and service offering for their footwear line. Of course Church’s shoes are made to last but after a while they may require a little more than a good polish. Church’s traditional manufacturing process allows them to offer a full refurbishment service which goes way beyond a simple resole or new heel all for £85. This makes me love them even more.

I will leave you with one final thought I have about Church's. Mark Twain once said “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”...I'm quite sure that the truth would be lacing up a pair of Church's (simple, black leather brogues).


Anonymous said...

Great post Steve.Made me laugh a few times. Gotta love Church's

Anonymous said...

Love Church's, planning on getting a pair in a couple of weeks. They're also relatively cheap (in comparision to high end designer shoes that aren't as well made) at £200.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post!
Ive been racking my brain all day today following your post on the luxury downturn.. I decided that i need an investment peice- something that i can justify.. I decided to buy a pair of shoes, but was unsure of what direction.. This weekend, i may make the first justified shopping trip of my life :D

Giancinephile said...

Oh yeah! I also love these historic labels. Church's has never strayed away from my mind as well as Crockett & Jones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And surely those stingray lace-ups by Mr Hare are beyond words! If I had the money for those, I would buy them in a flash.

And the whole account of the tourist shebang is really funny! Nicely written! haha

Steve, maybe you should work on becoming the next famous child of Margate after Emin! Kidding!

Style Salvage Steve said...

Dan: Thanks and yes, yes you do.
JasonD: They really are surprisingly affordable for the level of quality and craftmanship you receive. High end designer shoes need to take a hard look at themselves...
Alex Fiddock: We love the idea of investment pieces (follow up post on the way sometime this week) and for me shoes should pretty much always be investment pieces.
Giancinephile: Great minds Gian!
As for Mr. Hare's stingray lace ups I might just have to fight for you for them.

Mr. Hare said...

Boys! Cut a dash! Not eachother!


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