Video: A conversation of cordwainers

||- Begin Content -||

Two weeks ago, Deborah Carre of Carreducker and I organised a talk among five very different shoemakers, to talk about how and why men are buying bespoke today.

It was scheduled to coincide with London Craft Week, held in Carreducker's leather school, and kindly supported by the Company of Cordwainers.

The shoemakers were deliberately diverse, which I found fascinating, as I so rarely deal with makers outside fine, West End shoes.

They were (above, left to right): Sebastian Tarek, James Kearns, Felix Jouanneau, (myself), James Ducker and Dominic Casey.

I won't try and describe each of their styles - you can see that better on their own accounts and websites. But it covers everything from trainers to brogues to biker boots.

Below are James's bespoke trainers, next to Dominic's dress Wellingtons.

And below are the five examples of their work we had on display.

Again left to right, they were from: Dominic Casey (with his own hand-carved leather), Carreducker, James Kearns, Sebastian Tarek and Felix.

Felix's boot had pulls made from a leather that Felix hand-marbles himself. Lovely.

The video of the talk is below. In just under half an hour we managed to cover:

  • how western boots and smart oxfords vary in terms of bespoke fit required
  • why everyone now shares information more than they used to
  • how bespoke changes depending on how design-driven the maker is
  • and what to wear to Burning Man

I hope you enjoy it



Thank you very much to Dominic, Felix, James, Sebastian and James, it was a real pleasure.

And most of all to Deborah for organising and to the Cordwainers for their help.

Filming by Itch Media

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hi Simon, I’ve seen some of Dominic Casey’s work and have been impressed. Have you ever worked with him (I can’t find anything on the site) or do you have plans to try his shoes in the future?


I reckon the jacket’s from Ciardi? Lovely piece!


Ciardi jacket (review coming soon)?
Looks lovely…
Best wishes

Dan G

What jacket are you wearing in the video?


Seems you’ve been using Ciardi more and more. Do you prefer them to Caliendo now? If so, why?


Gret discussion! But the highlight is you jacket, Simon! What a stunner! Is the cloth from Lafayette? Really looking forward to the review


I really appreciated such content. I argue you should do it again both with tailors and (other) shoemakers (of course separated).

What I would add:
– more comments on the shoes (or product in general terms) they craft
– a personal presentation of each participant before the talk starts

What I did not understand:
– At a certain point one talks about people that tries a lot of bespoke makers. Does he like this kind of behavior or not? Because I know many tailors who wish that the customers is loyal. He must want that cut, that style, that tailor instead of just enjoying trying them all because that type of customer is not a returning customer, which probably is what an artisan wishes.


As a counter-point (and assuming funds aren’t a complicating factor here), how is a potential client going to make an informed choice as to which style/cut/tailor to use if they don’t try a suitably broad range?


Interesting talks, thank you! Just make sure the sound is a little better next time 🙂
What I was wondering… You’ve previously ranked shoes as nr. 3 in your listing of what is worth being made bespoke – after jackets and coats.
I remember some readers then stressed the health care aspect of bespoke shoes, e.g. support to the mid foot area, minimizing the risk of a splayfoot, bunion etc.
Are bespoke shoes always healthy shoes, will they minimize orthopedic issues later in life? Or is the orthopedic aspect not really measurable?
Or perhaps just not an issue for those who order bespoke?
Just wondering as I walk quite a bit every day 🙂
Thank you again!

ben w

James Kearns! That certainly seems like a bit of an aesthetic departure for PS.

Nicholas M

Hi Simon – big fan of the shirt, looks great with the jacket. Is it a western style shirt, where is it from?

Lindsay Eric McKee

Have you heard of Marino Palencia Crespo bespoke shoemaker (MPC) in Deptford, London? He is a Spaniard and trained with John Lobb. His prices seem reasonable.

Alex Brock

I’ve know Felix for some time. He has upscaled some rare beautiful vintage boots, multiple re-soles and re-finishes all to my rathater OCD requirements.
He then made me a very beautiful pair of engineer boots with bespoke detailing and made to house my superfeet insoles.
I can only sing his praises here and recommend him wholeheartedly.