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Interviews

Justin FitzPatrick

February 18, 2013

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You have announced the release of the “J. FitzPatrick Footware”. The event will take place Tuesday 19th March 2013. Could you provide additional details about the event?

The launch will be held at Gieves& Hawkes, at No.1 Savile Row. It will be a hands-on event where the collection will be presented, and people will be able to try the shoes and make a purchase should they wish to. There will be drinks and canape’s, some other makers in the industry and a few speeches. Overall it will be a nice relaxed event, where shoe lovers can appreciate nice footwear and the company of shoe aficionado’s.

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How many models do you intend to include in your Footware line and what was the reason behind the choice of these models?

There are 14 different styles with a total of 29 different color variations between them. I did my hardest to create a collection that could appeal to the majority but at the same time offer unique pieces that could not be found elsewhere. I wanted to mix classic models with unique colors/design details. As you can see by the pictures, my collection is a little oxford heavy with only two darby’s (virtually being the same with only a piping detail to differentiate between the two). The reason for this, is simply that I love oxfords, as well as I believe that they are more desired for business-wear purposes. My collection for the meantime will strictly be RTW.

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From a technical point of view, how are they the shoes made ?

My shoes are made just like any other benchgrade, goodyear welted shoe, although they are much lighter than the majority of them. What separates my shoes is the fact that my channels are closed, which you only really find on handgrade shoes. I also have slight bevelled waists. I use mainly French calfskins, which allows for an easy break-in period (virtually none).

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What was the biggest challenge in your life as a shoemaker until now ?

The biggest challenge is simply getting the shoes right. There are so many aspects to a shoe that one does not realize. It starts with the last, and making sure that they last is not only appealing but that it will fit people’s feet. The next is then making the pattern sit on that last in an elegant way. Drawing the line 1mm off on a pattern can really make it ugly. Getting that precisely right is difficult and really takes an eye. Then, of course, choosing color/leather variations in order to create something appealing yet slightly different, having to think about what other people will like. It’s all quite daunting as it is just one big risk. Luckily I have had my blog to utilize in understanding what appeals to other people. But simply creating an entire shoe line that will appeal to the majority of people is the hardest thing and creates a lot of insecurity…

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Who was the person that influenced you the most in your shoemaker career?

Tony Gaziano has ultimately been my biggest influence. Stefano Bemer gave me the initial appreciation of beauty, design and making (in shoes), but Tony has further taught me how to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together to create that beauty from design and last making, but coming from a more technical standpoint. He has also given me advice on various aspects of being an owner of a shoe company. I have been very fortunate enough to have spent a decent amount of time with Tony and even more so, have one of my lasts (from my RTW collection) been created by him. If my line becomes successful, I will attribute a lot of that to his help. Plus, for me, his line is the best there is, so I have always aspired to create a line that is desired like his, but obviously in a different price-point.

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How can one aquire a pair of  “J. FitzPatrick” shoes?

For the initial launch of them, my shoes will only be available through Gieves& Hawkes, being sold at their flagship store at No.1 Savile Row in London as well as on their website, for all of those that cannot make it to England to make a purchase. Once I grow a little bit and make sure that I launch properly, I will then start to grow my brand and look to sell to other stores around the world. Pricing of my shoes will be from £305-£350.

All photography done by Mr. Harry Watts. For more informarion about Mr. FitzPatrick shoes visit theshoesnobblog.com.

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