PAUL COSTELLOE x LOAKE COLLABORATION
It has been a tremendous pleasure for Paul Costelloe to be working with Northamptonshire-based luxury men’s shoemaker Loake for the exclusive unveiling of his Spring Summer 2018 collections at London Fashion Week.
Loake styles in luxury leathers and suedes have been paired with sharp, two-piece suits in light summer-weight wools and heritage linens to accentuate the story of a collection designed and created in Britain.
To celebrate the partnership, we caught up with Andrew Loake, Managing Director of Loake Shoemakers and 5th generation of the Loake family which has been leading the firm throughout its 130-year history.
How does a British shoemaker stay ahead of its rivals in such a competitive market and product area?
By making the very best shoes we can. High quality and value-for-money are not mutually exclusive concepts – it’s possible to provide both. It’s important to communicate with those who understand the importance of good footwear, listen to what they want and make it available to them.
The Loake heritage is British design and aesthetic, something Paul Costelloe values greatly in his menswear collections. How is this heritage perceived internationally?
Loake is an authentic British brand, having made footwear for British soldiers and officers in two World Wars, British Olympic teams and other high profile British sportsmen, actors and musicians. British design is valued around the world and the word is spreading.
One thing Loake and Paul Costelloe have in common is that we are both family businesses. What do you see as the challenges and opportunities of working in a family company?
One of the traps that a long-established family business can fall into is trying to maintain tradition; doing things as they have always been done. At Loake we have tremendous respect for tradition and heritage, but we also maintain the entrepreneurial spirit that our forefathers had. They were pioneers, not slaves to their past.
Can you take us through the main design and manufacturing steps of a pair of Loake shoes?
That would take longer than we have time for. There are approximately 200 separate operations involved in making a pair of Loake Goodyear welted shoes. We estimate that, on average, 75 people will handle each pair and the entire process from start to finish takes 8 weeks.
What have been a few of the big breakthroughs, game-changers or innovations for the business during its long history?
Perhaps one of the most significant changes is opening our own retail shops and we were the first of the traditional Northamptonshire shoemakers to launch a retail website. We have been shoemakers for over 130 years, but now we have a means of demonstrating our craft more directly to our customers.
What’s next for the company?
Shoemaking skills have to be learnt and honed over many years. One of the most important challenges for us is to pass these skills on to the next generation. We will continue to combine traditional manufacturing techniques with our own interpretation of fashion trends in order to offer contemporary classic footwear that appeals to a diverse range of customers.
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