Arthur Sleep, Aimé Leon Dore and Acme/Mori: Three things that didn’t quite work 

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We probably spend a little too much time talking about how great products are on PS (even though we're more critical than most) and not enough talking about ones that didn't work out.

Here's a summary of three I've tried recently, which for various reasons I didn't wear, sold or returned. Feel free to ask about others, and if you want more in this vein there was a similar piece here a few years ago. Plus this one about tailoring mistakes. 

Arthur Sleep kilim slippers 


I had these slippers made by Arthur Sleep from old kilims - traditional Turkish-made rugs. I’ve always liked the patterns and colours of such pieces, so I really enjoyed picking out the kilim I liked best from their collection, and then deciding which exact part I wanted to use for the slippers (top image). 

The team give you an upper pattern which you can lay on any part of the kilim, and I chose a kilim that was less obvious - not the normal red and black/brown palette - as well as positioning the pattern so it was asymmetric. This felt more natural, and indeed looked so in the finished slippers. 

We had some issues with the fitting, despite me bringing in similar shoes to give an idea of size and fit. But the bigger problem was the style, which I couldn't get to work. Although nice in isolation, they didn't fit with the jeans and T-shirt outfit I had in mind, or with pyjamas. 

We tried a thin leather sole initially, which is their default, but the thick kilim seemed at odds with the fine leather and sharp heel. They replaced it with the rubber-and-leather option pictured, but this also didn't work. The fit also got a little worse over time, perhaps particularly on my fairly narrow feet, and I could have done with more structure. 

Arthur Sleep have an impressive workshop downstairs on Savile Row, and I love Jay’s personal style. But some of the shoes are a little derivative, and it feels like design is one area they're still finding their feet. 

Aimé Leon Dore cotton cardigan 


As I’ve written in the past, I love the style Aimé Leon Dore has been working in recent years. They've felt like a real breath of fresh air, and even though they weren't the first to do this look, and recent campaigns have been less original, it still feels like they're doing it better than most. Products range from the standard to the unusual (plain chores to lace shorts) and the colours are also consistently interesting. 

The problem has generally been the quality and value proposition, with prices around the same as the top-end makers we write about, but quality a step below. I bought the cardigan above because I loved the style, and to an extent because I wanted to test that impression. 

The style was as good as I hoped. That collegiate green, a cream border (not white), a roomy fit that stopped short of sloppy, and no logo anywhere - not all that common with these brands, or indeed with all ALD. A really thick, chunky material. I wore it several times and enjoyed these aspects. 

Unfortunately this also supported my impression of the quality. The material is a cotton/nylon/elastane mix, despite being listed on the website as cotton. That isn't always or necessarily bad, but here it really takes away from the character of the material, making it too artificial. Over time this made it less enjoyable to wear than my other knits, and I stopped wearing it. 

To be clear, the quality is better than most other streetwear brands, and I know that’s one thing that impresses people buying that category when they trade up to ALD. If you compare it to fashion brands, as well, the value proposition is better. But that’s not the comparison most PS readers will be making. 

If you wanted to buy into the ALD style, a better choice might be something in a synthetic, where that quality matters less - a perforated nylon short, for instance, or a multicoloured shell jacket. 

Acme and Mori shoes

The views on ALD are in part revisiting opinions I have expressed before, and now speaking from experience. This entry on Acme and Mori shoes from China is similar.

I reported on Acme and on the growth of Chinese shoemaking back in early 2022. I was impressed by the level of make they were aiming for - bringing in many aspects of bespoke shoemaking like pitched heels and shaped waists. There were some initial issues with consistency and quality, but these seem to have gradually been ironed out with experience. 

The bigger issue for me personally has been the style, which tends towards the flashy. Longer lasts, chiselled toes, antique patinas, unusual stitching and bright colours. The Acme shoes I reviewed shortly after getting them were black, but in an aggressive shape. The Mori ones were a bright-green suede. 

Several months later, I don’t really find I wear either. The Mori ones are just as slim and we struggled to find a size that worked. (Interestingly this is something the Asian market tends towards, despite having generally shorter and broader feet than the West.) The colour choice was of course my fault, but it’s also something no British maker would offer. I was really hopeful for the Acme ones, but time has told against them. 

There’s been quite a lot of discussion in recent weeks about how my style has changed over the years - and how people’s style changes in general. I nearly always find that over time, people realise the beauty of good shoes is in the details, like the broad strap of an Edward Green ‘Piccadilly’ loafer, the subtly rounded toe of an Alden 986 (below). 

In fact Alden is a great example, because for the quality they are nearly everywhere overpriced - but people keep coming back for the designs and that shade of cordovan. You wear them every single day, and over time it tells. 

When I try these products, by the way, and find I don’t wear them any more, I always try to find a good alternative home. That could mean giving them to people I know who could never afford them, or selling them online through somewhere like Marrkt

I’ve been told so many times how grateful people are for shoes or knits or tailoring that they could never otherwise buy. Like much of vintage and second-hand clothing, it’s an opportunity to learn about your own style without the same financial risk. 

Any questions on how other products have borne out over time, please let me know. I can answer here or even put together another, fuller post.

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Aaron L

I can see why you fell for those slippers. They look like a lot of fun. Hopefully their new owner is loving them!! And has cracked the puzzle of how to wear them… a more bohemian person perhaps?


i think your trying to shoe horn two things together that don’t suit. They just need a sole more similar to a Sabah. Something more aligned with the kilim.


Understood, but it was clearly doomed from the start if you went down the route you did.


Interesting comment above. Personally I think the words ‘fun’ and ‘quirky’ do not belong in the same sentence as clothes and architecture. Purely personal opinion and no offence meant

Aaron L

No offense taken 🙂 maybe we mean slightly different things by fun? With clothing I tend to use it to describe something with novelty and an element of playfulness. Where the author’s creativity sparks joy in me. Much of jkf_man’s (Jamie ferguson) approach to dressing fits that description for me. The same idea might apply in architecture – occasionally you come across a little gesture, tastefully executed that gives you a sense that the architect was enjoying themselves. Little nooks, surprisingly placed windows, etc. I find I smile when I spot them, and it lifts my spirit.
I’d contrast this with more crass expressions of ‘quirkiness’. They often feel like someone shouting ‘look at me!’. T-shirts with funny slogans would be an example. If that’s your definition, then I’d be close to agreeing (with the caveat that it’s a subjective world, and perhaps it really is more pleasing for some people…).


There fun these articles because i think everyone can relate. We’ve all been there with purchase made online or when your taken by something flashy in a shop only to find you don’t wear it in the the long term of the fit isn’t quite right. Very expensive mistakes here though. Interesting you say your more critical than most. Whilst this is true its not been a feature of the site more recently. It seems you cover more RTW and are generally less critical. Perhaps this is a result of knowing what you like more but also returning to buy from friends businesses and therefor withholding some criticism in the interest of personal relationships.


Overall, style still seems to be more important (for an item to be frequently used) than fit and make 🙂 Right?


You’ve included the link to the Huntsman shooting suit with the mismatched pattern .
I remember following a thread between yourself and David Ward (the cutter).
If you would allow me to say the whole sage , including the comments , is Monty Pythonesque !
A classic example of 2 gentlemen having a divergence of views.

I hope the dust has settled with yourself and David and you can both see the funny side to it all.

Regards the article …. It’s good to read something like this but I always feel a tad sorry for the retailers as PS carries quite a lot influence with their prospective consumers.


IIRC you commented, in a reply to me recently, that your Huntsman tweed jacket didn’t work so perhaps you could explain why.


Your sloping shoulders could be a big issue for the Huntsman house style. It is fine for me as I have my wide shoulders and prefer a longer coat. Not long before your commission, Huntsman asked customers, including myself, to give their opinions on which House tweed options they preferred. It was surprising that a range of large and bold checks (from the Islay Mill IIRC) was chosen.

Have you considered trying Whitcomb and Shaftesbury’s house style – a one button jacket with natural shoulders, drape cut and a high gorge? II’m considering it as possible alternative to Huntsman and Richard Anderson, especially for lightweight tailoring. W&S says that it’s suitable for every type of garment, including shooting suits.


I’d like to jump in on personal decision coincidentally I just made this weekend.
The shoes I probably wear the most are EG Piccadilly in Mink Suede. I wanted to have an alternative so I bought the Belgravia in Mink Suede too. Unfortunately after 2.5 years of ownership I have to say I’ve worn those max 20 times. I find the tassels a little bit showy in my environment. But what’s more important is that they hurt tremendously in the tongue/throat area. Essentially where the tassels/the strap are. Both 184 Last. I suspect that’s because the Belgravia in lack of the strap end a bit higher. So I will let them go. I wear a Size UK 7.5-8E if anyone is interested.
Same goes for a suede bomber jacket that in 6 years of ownership has been worn max 10 times. I find this is just not my style and is either too hot or too cold to wear. I will pass this down to a friend.


Have you considered getting them stretched in that area? EG do this free of charge. I had this done with my Piccadilly and it improved their comfort tremendously.


Yes, but I’d have to send them in as I’m not in UK. But the question about style remains. 🙂

Phil Stirling

Hi JDV, I’d potentially be interested in your EGs, can you drop me a mail on [email protected]


Hey Phil. Thanks. Done


Hi JDV, I have the oppiste problem and have to get rid of a pair of Picadilly in 7,5 black calf. Care to trade?


Hey Paulus, Thanks for your offer. Unfortunately I already own one in black calf.


Hi Simon,
Thanks for sharing those that have not worked out, I think most of us understand you testing on our behalf.
The ALD cardigan, I understand, I am not a fan of cotton as jumpers /cardigans. The purpose of thicker knitwear is for warmth and cotton is simply not warm.
The inclusion of manmade fibres in a cotton product without declaring it is close to deception. For me Elastane in a material has a disproportionate effect compared to the small amounts included. 2% Elastane seems to make its presence known, changing the way the material, handles, drapes, clings and humidity. I would like to know if this is just me or a universal experience.
The Acme and Mori shoe review is you doing your job, finding out whether new suppliers offer value for money. And as with most new entrants into a market they claim to offer all the quality of a traditional manufacturers but at a lower price. Rarely do we see these new entrants transcend the quality due to the lack of accumulated knowledge, experience, techniques, successes and failures that have been built up in significantly older businesses.
Killim Slippers! I am not sure what you were hoping for these.
I appreciate you have a large wardrobe and you are experimenting on our behalf and so you need to be making some errors.
This article is brilliant as it reiterates the message in your fabulous guides warning against neophytes experimenting with their bespoke purchases in the beginning. Because of the cost benefit analysis. Showy, experimental, uncomfortable etc. rarely get worn and so the cost spread over the number of wears is high.
Last week you did an article IS THERE STILL SUCH A THING AS AN ‘INVESTMENT PIECE’? This article highlights the need for a guide for neophytes and those of us with wardrobes full of dark suits, as to what bespoke purchases make financial sense in a post-covid, Zoom, 2 days in the office world.

Tony Lupton

Cotton sweaters are near-on essential in the subtropics, or there’s nearly no opportunity to wear knitwear.


I think cotton sweaters have their place, I particularly like them at this time of year when it’s not too cold (this morning an exception!) and you’re indoors and don’t need the warmth of wool but you want the heft of some knitwear to feel cosy. I have a thick rib knit jumper just for this and wan to add some cotton cardigans to my collection just for that.


Just one nuance here regarding your point in respect of newcomers and quality if I may: I think this piece (and similar experiences by most of us) is more about making the right decision in terms of style and fit, less about quality. One example from my own experience is that I have a pair of Edward Green dovers that I love and have worn hundreds of times. I also have a pair of Edward Green loafers that are slightly too wide and round and never see the oight of day (despite the fact that I love the model and look). My suede split toe laces ups from Acme are a really good fit and style but slightly sleek / showy so not for everyday. So the Acmes are right in between in this case, not much to do with the quality of the make at all.


Hi Simon! Thanks for an interesting piece. Its often more educational to read what people learn from mistake stories than from success stories, so this was really nice!

I’ve been thinking, to ask you for, for quite a while now if you’ve seen Rose Anvil on YouTube? Weston has produced a couple of videos on Aldens Indy boot and been quite critical of the quality, but I know you’re a fan, or at least really often comes back to a few of aldens shoes. It would be really interesting to hear/read your thoughts on his videos.



Thanks Simon. Yeah, I noticed that comment about the quality and I find in my own experience that I do make a trade off between design, quality and price.


Good to hear that you also sometimes make a bad purchase. I would be interested to know if you have tried any other style (I find the kind of casual chic like Pierre Mahéo or Carlos Castillo appealing for example) and found it not suitable….
Best regards

Andrew Streeter

Scott Crolla and Georgina Godley did a very similar slipper as an evening shoe at Crolla in Dover Street where I spent far too much of my youth. Love Scott and what he created..


Well, Simon, you wouldn’t have an interesting website/blog if everything you did was to the point. You need to experiment to provide interest and novelty to the reader, and it is inherent to experiments that they also go wrong. If you were constantly presenting different versions of a blue jacket with gray pants, a white or light blue shirt, and black/brown shoes and an occasional tie, you would always be spot on, but would not have many readers. I welcome this kind of article and would be happy if they appear more often.


Thanks for this article! Showing what didn’t work gives you a lot more credibility in your recommendations.

Paul H

I think the saying goes, “you miss every time if you don’t shoot”. Thanks for sharing and yes, would enjoy hearing about more things that didn’t work.


Hi Simon. Appreciate these kind of posts as it’s interesting to hear your personal experience of items that didn’t quite work as hoped – something I’m sure many have experienced.

I took particular note of the Acme shoes where you mention the flashiness of the longer last, chiselled toes, patinas etc. Do these features extend to other shoe makers you have purchased from? For example I have a couple of G&Gs from the Deco range that I love but tick some of those flashiness boxes. I recall you having a pair made a number of years ago and wondered whether you would commission something similar again.


+1 regarding Gaziano & Girling. The fitting shoes fitted perfectly. But there were problems with each of the 3 MTO pairs that were made subsequently. E.g. pair no. 2 (the Crompton!) has an ugly crease in the left shoe that we just can’t get out. I have to say however, GG did his absolute best afterwards, even making the very first pair from scratch again for free. What I do not understand though: I was willing to go bespoke with GG after I had met Daniel Wegan, but two successive shop managers in their SR shop told me there was no reason for bespoeke unless one has difficult feet! I have returned to Edward Green and esp. Crockett & Jones that fit me much better. The time and money spent on 3 mediocre pairs of Gaziano & Girling could have been spent on a pair of bespoke. Not sure how that would have turned out of course 🙂


To me the colours of the pattern on the slippers make them look like old patchy slippers at first glance rather than an intentional pattern. Maybe a more colourful option would work better


On ADL, does the design not justify the price, even if the quality is lower? Design isn’t free after all, and I often find myself buying things where I know I could get better quality for the same price, but I like the design (Drake’s comes to mind here, as does RL).

Or is the ADL quality low enough that it’s a poor bargain, even given the expense of the design?


Hi Simon,
Good to see I’m not the only one who makes mistakes. That is why to some extent I shop mid range for some items nowadays and like yourself think carefully and sometimes seek input)on occasionally from yourself (thanks) to reduce the risk of ‘ what on earth was I thinking’ impulse buys! One observation on the AM shoes they look incredibly narrow. They remind me of uncomfortable women’s shoes that my wife and daughters wear very (increasingly) rarely. Not being personal, but out of interest do you have very narrow feet?


Simon, I must respectfully disagree with the suggestion that Alden shoes are overpriced. I have many Alden shoes, and they are the most comfortable, useful, and stylish shoes I have. I wear all of them constantly. I find their quality outstanding, as good or better than any English shoes I have. I think they are fairly priced, even underpriced.


I find the whole situation with synthetic mixes confusing. In the case of this sweater, at that price, I’d imagine the choice is deliberate to achieve a desired result and not a cost cutting method. So in this regard, can you argue that the product is of inferior quality or rather it’s just not a product for you? Do you think they could have achieved similar results by only using natural fibers and different production methods?

Some high end makers seem to embrace using mixes and others stay away from them. Some experts say mixing is acceptable and others say it isn’t. It would be helpful to have an article on this topic. Why are synthetics used? When is it a cost cutting method and when does it help to achieve a better result? Are you always sacrificing some properties to gain some others. What are upsides and downsides of specific mixes? In this context, what’s the difference between H&M half synthetic cardigan and ALD half synthetic cardigan?

When I see a synthetic in a product that is traditionally made in natural fiber, I stay just away from it and I imagine a lot of brands avoid synthetics for this specific reason but is it actually justified behaviour or more like prejudice fueled by lack of knowledge on the subject.


I would be very interested in such an article as well!


The problem imo is that often producers claim to be solving problems that don’t actually exist through synthetics.

Once, a shirt shop (decent quality even) tried really hard to pitch me a 100% polyester performance dress shirt with an in-depth drescription of how stretchy it was and how breathable it was (a bold claim, at that).
My response was that I simply had no use for it. I’m not gonna go do high-intensity sports in a dress shirt, and if I’m not, why would I need the high performance aspects of it when sitting in an office or walking down the street. On the other hand, I certainly would dread its lifeless appearance (though I didn’t say that part out loud).

On the note of ALD, why would you want to add nylon to a cotton sweater?
Is it because “it doesn’t hold its shape”? Then maybe just do a heavier cotton, or just use wool.
But maybe you wanted the knit lighter as well, you say? Well, synthetics might make it lighter in weight, but it certianly won’t feel any cooler, in fact less breathable. Linen would probably be a better mix.
The one thing nylon *will* most likely do is make the knit more resistent to washes, but again do you actually need that? If you actually treat knitwear better than most people *not* reading PS do, I don’t actually think you do.
All in all, I have found 0 reasons to want synthetics in my knits, personally.
Indeed, in the last few years I’ve even seen brands as affordable as Intimissimi come up with synthetic-free knits even for stuff I’d never believe was possible, like super-stretchy womenswear knits that completely hug the figure, made in mixes of wool reinforced with silk instead of the typical nylon.

Michael K.

Super piece, Simon. I really like your forthright approach to Alden — they are indeed overpriced for the quality of the make, even in the US where the mark-up is smaller. But they look great with everything most things, the soles wear down very slowly by comparison to competitors, and they will always be the thing you reach for if you haven’t got time to think through what you’re wearing.


When you say fairly quickly, could you be more precise?

Michael K.

Agreed on the EG — I’ve never had to resole mine. I’d put Alden on a par with Crocketts and better than Church’s (which latter will not surprise PS readers). Also better than more expensive fashion brands I’ve occasionally made the mistake of buying.


I think the Kelim you chose would’ve been brilliant as espadrilles (but probably not worth the time and cost in that case).


Hi Simon,
On a similar theme, I’d be really interested in reading an piece about any potential PS products that didn’t make it to a commercial offering, and the details of the processes involved and the reasons why? After all, we always learn more from our failures, and I find that people tend to forget that businesses have to cover the costs of products that fail in the price of their successes.
Thanks for another interesting Monday read!

Max Alexander

I rather like those kilim slippers as summer beachwear, but not at that bespoke price point. I’m guessing that like espadrilles they don’t have a long life (although the leather soles bode better than rope espadrille soles). Still, the uppers are fabric not leather. Should the company find a way to manufacture them OTR, I’d certainly pay a couple hundred euros for a pair.

Lucas K

I had a similar experience with an up-and-coming Asian shoemaker several years ago, bought what I thought would be my most used pair, a brown Adelaide in a very sharp last. I think I got a total of 5 wears out of them, and decided to let them go earlier this year. Even with the more formal pattern compared to the acme derby, they were difficult to wear outside of a formal suit. And even that was a bit much.
Compare that to a beat up pair of JL lopez in dark brown suede I picked up three months ago or so, I’ve worn those at least 20 times, just very versatile. I don’t like the very rounded toe as much by itself, but the reality is that they go with pretty much anything. Lessons learned…

Tony H

I wear my kilim slippers anytime I’m working from home, with the rest of what I’m wearing dialled down as a result (cords, button down, chunky cardigan).

They still don’t quite suit, exactly, but I love them so much it doesn’t matter.

Works for weekend wear with a t-shirt as long as I’m not really going outside any further than the local cafe.


I always think it’s part of your job description to make our mistakes for us.
Obviously as a wearer rather than a writer, anything that sits outside my aesthetic doesn’t get a look in. Even then it has to pass my stringent ‘Cost Per Wear’ test. Happily I can honestly say that nothing in this article would have made it out of the shop !

Matt L

I was wondering if I could ask about your own Harris Tweed, which I know is based of an older one.

You’ve had a few items made from it, 2 jackets and a coat as I remember, but I don’t think I’ve seen a photo of it since you profiled Taillour. Have you gone off it?

On a separate issue, I’ve noticed that the PS webpage is take a long time to load these days. At least for me it is. Have you noticed anything your end?

Paul F.

You have an old post about bespoke shoes in which you mention, regarding your Cleverly double monks, that you ultimately concluded that the Russian reindeer leather was mismatched with the style and last of the double monk. Is this primarily a mismatch in the texture of the leather, perhaps it’s softer and more casual and so less suited to the style? The post surprised me when I read it again recently because I’ve always thought these shoes looked fantastic and wondered if I could ever procure a similar pair myself.


The slippers look cool. I think they would work with the Anthology linen drawstring trousers (particularly the honey or olive colour) which I believe you have a pair of? I also can’t image them working with jeans.


I’d wear those slippers with a nice washed denim and a blue or striped oxford anyday, great for Sunday brunch at the local café. But I guess each to their own, and I’m just basing it of the pictures, of course.


Kilim shoes only work with white trousers or shorts in my humble opinion.


Another great article Simon and great to see examples and reasons of some rejected projects.
I still don’t understand why ALD didn’t disclose elastane/nylon contents in the yarn; not only this changes the caring slightly but also the touch and feel or the garment. Now this makes me second guess some of the items I purchased from other fashion/trendy brands…. Are they actually 100% cotton as claimed or have I been lied to? Is this a common knowledge in the industry that if the percentage is low they just don’t bother to list it?
On the other hand, give me the confidence if I buy anything from permanent style I know the tag is accurate; this is much appreciated. Keep up the good work!