Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Deer - Custom Shirt Program

We are pleased to announce that we now offer a Custom Shirt Program. 

The brand we are working with is stocked among the finest stores in The United States and Japan such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Beams and have been in the custom shirt business for 49 years.

Choose from a selection of 200 staple fabrics for every occasion and fabric quality, 26 collar styles and other personal and fit options manufactured at the company's factory based at Perth Amboy, New Jersey USA.  All  of this is available now for an extremely competitive price. 

We will be previewing this new service during our trunk show.  

Completed Customer Order - Hilda's Ankle Boot

Completed Customer Order - Meldy's Shoe

Combination Suede Women's Laceup Brogue Shoe

Completed Customer Order - Sue's Shoe

Sue's Grey Suede Perforated Wingtip Strap Shoe

Completed Customer Order - Cesar's Zip-up Boot

Thank you to the good people at YKK.

Completed Customer Order - Nathan & Laura's Shoes

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How Deer Shoes are Made

The one thing that distinguishes DeeR shoes from most shoes available in the stores is that they are almost 100 percent handmade. We are pleased that we can make such a claim.

I thought it might be useful to provide a step-by-step guide as to how are shoes are made.

After your feet are measured and you decide on the basic shape and style of your shoe. Our shoemaker will  select a last and create a pattern of the shoe based on your measurements. A last is chosen that is closest in measurement and shape to your foot. The last is an extremely part of the shoemaking process as it is provides the shoe with form while the shoe gets made. The last determines among other things the shape of the toe.

Once the last is selected it is placed aside to be used with the pattern and other materials required to make your shoe. A specialised worker called a "clicker"will draft a pattern on paper for the various components for the shoe and cut them out of the leather or whatever other material the upper will be made from.

The major benefit to cutting a pattern by hand is to ensure that the components cut from the hide are free of imperfections. Another benefit of hand cutting is that very little of the hide is wasted.

Once the components have been "clicked" they are passed to another specialised worker called the "closer." The closer's job is to sew or components of the upper together. This person is also responsible for applying decorations to the leather. In mens shoes these are usually medallions and broguing. Remember where I said that DeeR shoes are almost 100 percent made? Well this is the part where a machine is used.

Once this is completed the upper and the selected last are given to the "maker." This is where the shoe begins to take shape. The maker with a special plier pulls the bottom part of the upper over the last and nails it to the last. If the leather doesn't sit nicely over the last the maker will pull out the nail and re fashion the leather over the last. This process is repeated many times sometimes until the desired shape of shoe is reached.

Once the upper is sorted out and they have finished lasting it is time to attached the sole to the shoe. With some makers the sole is simply glued to the bottom. But for a more durable shoe it is necessary to attached a strip of leather between the upper and the sole. This is called the welt.

In the picture above you can see the shoe maker attaching the welt to the finished upper. By hand!!! Alot of the larger English shoe makers and places like RM Williams use a machine to perform most of the operations such as welting.

Once the welt is attached we are able to attached the sole. A channel is cut into the sole and the sole is stitched to the welt.

Now that the sole is attached the shoe is virtually finished. It just needs a heel attached and be tidied up. A heel will be attached to the sole by gluing and nailing small layers of leather together. The excess leather from the side of the sole is trimmed using a very sharp knife and a shard of glass. The side of the sole and welt are sanded, stained, painted and sealed.

I didn't have another photo showing the heel. However, you can check out a Marcel Mrsan's (who is a custom shoemaker from Hungary) Website.

Once everything is completed. The shoe is cleaned and polished up and sent to The DeeR headquarters in Brisbane. 

Vintage Shoes Ad

Whilst googling last night I stumbled upon The National Library Australia - Australian News Papers Site site.  This is a wonderful site featuring digitised newspapers from 1803-1954.  The website has a standard search engine which helps you find the information you're looking for. While I was there I decided to type "Julius Marlow Warwick" in the search field and lo and behold, the shoe I found at St. Vinnies appears.  These ads appeared started appearing between 1949 right up until the mid fifties. I am not sure if they continued past then as the newspapers are only archived until 1954.  I will be posting more vintage fashion ads in the future. 

Judging from the above ads It appears that Julius Marlow at that time also offered some kind of made-to-measure service which I suppose was what the 60 available fittings means.  So this would mean that instead of stocking simply sizes 7-12, their shoes would also be offered in a range of  widths and sizes including half sizes. Unfortunately this company offers nothing even vaguely resembling the above ads in terms of style or breadth of fitting. 

Thrift Store Find - Vintage Shoes

One of my hobbies apart from obsessing over DeeR shoes is to go thrift store shopping. I find it alot more enjoyable than shopping at new places mainly you if you know what you're looking for you can purchase some really quality stuff at bargain prices. People don't realise that these stores aren't just places you can go in and buy a really bad outfit to wear to some fancy dress party. If you move aside all of the polyester double knit safari suits and really fat gaudy extra flammable ties and shirts, you can find some really classic stuff.

Like these captoe balmoral shoes by Julius Marlow. Its the same style of shoe I posted a while back but this was is a little bit different.

I usually tend not to think much about Julius Marlow shoes  as most of what I seem in the stores now doesn't really interest me. I quickly did a google search on them and the brand or company seems to be owned by the super mega corporation pacific brands.

These shoes are spectacular finds because it shows me that Australia, like most places in the world use to be able to make some really good quality shoes. This was before they moved everything to that new factory called China. The shoes are goodyear welted, which means that a strip of leather (called a welt) is attached to the upper and then the sole is attached to these piece of leather. The way they make most shoes now is with glue and lots of it. This then gets bonded to a piece of PVC or EVA or something similar and sometimes this has fake bits molded into it to resemble a stitched welt or a stacked leather heel.

 Look at the sole above. Here you can see the channel with the goodyear stitching. What is more amazing is the heel. Where's the rubber? The plastic? This baby is all nails. This is the traditional way of making a heel. Few makers employ this method of construction even with the high end English and Italian shoe makers.

I have no idea how old these shoes. I don't know when Julius Marlow stopped production is Australia. Im sure it was probably the late 90s as it seems like everything post 2000 was being shipped out from China. Judging from the old school font, and heel pattern, they could be late 1969s or 1970s.  If there's anyone out there reading my blog who used to work at the factory, or otherwise involved with the company I would love to hear from you.