The money in New York has been spreading south for a while. Soho is now dominated by designer brands. I think I counted at least five Ralph Lauren stores downtown. Below Houston the interesting shops, the boutiques, have been pushed further east and west. And it’s on the east and west sides that you will find two of those shops, run by two brothers: Derrick and Kirk Miller.
Derrick’s shoes are made for him by Barker in Northampton, but to a rather higher quality than the standard line found most often in the UK. That quality is evident in points of construction, but also in the small design details that Derrick adds to every pair. The crossed holding stitch at the bottom of the laces. A shortened toe cap. The skull and crossbones nailed into the sole. Derrick talks fondly of visiting the shoemaking museum in Northampton and reading about the competitions for the best nail decoration on a sole. There was more of it about when men wore hobnail hoots.
I like Derrick’s lasts. I also like the fact that the shop is so hard to find – I ended up asking in a barber’s whether they knew where Barker Black was. Turned out it was next door.
I don’t own any Barker Black shoes. I have no personal recommendation to make. But I like Derrick, I like his style and I like his shop.