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Interviews

Mathieu Preiss (Septième Largeur)

June 15, 2013

Mathieu

In 2009 you and your uncle Marcos Fernandez Cabezas, a famous name in the shoe industry, founded Septième Largeur brand. This new brand was a good opportunity to pass your uncle’s expertise and passion to a new generation. How the passion for shoes did grew in your family?

I wasn’t born when my uncle founded Bowen in 1979. It was his first owned brand after he worked for Agnès B, dealed with Sebago (he was the first importer in Europe), and developed for 6 years the Paraboot’s collection. Then he founded Emling in 1993.  I was five years old then and I remembered all my childhood the smell and the sensation of leather when he brought me in his big entrepot in Paris. I grew up and study a little bit of political science, law and also traveled abroad. At the age of 20 I decided to end my studies and  join my uncle in Paris in his new adventure – Markowski. In 2009 we have founded together Septième Largeur.

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How did you catch this virus?

I think I always had the virus, but after coming back from my different trips I stoped in Paris to see my uncle thinking that will be for one week, but I have never left Paris… He showed me his brand new collection, samples and gave me one pair. I couldn’t stop looking at them, even when I was walking on the street; it is dangerous by the way…

Then I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do in my life!

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What do you consider to be the most important think your uncle taught you?

The thing he taught me is:  love your work and live your work each second. Since the beginning, Marcos and I went twice a month to the factory.   Factory is his world. We  also discussed a lot. Shoes are on his mind everyday and I’m afraid to get the same symptom as shoemaking is a way of life. Patience is very important too. I also learned to respect  the worker behind the closed door.

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Although it’s a very young brand Septième Largeur has many fans worldwide. What is your key for success?

Today the customer is intelligent and  knows what he wants. Thanks to the internet he is well informed about different quality and prices.  We are honest with the customer that’s why we are successful. Clients don’t want to pay big prices in famous streets in Paris, the advertising of famous magazines or useless accessories. We try to propose a good quality product for an honest price. With  high quality,  nice welcome and professional advice offered in the shop  we make a difference.

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I noticed that you are committed in producing only quality Goodyear or Norwegian shoes. What are your others technical strong points?

Thanks to my uncle’s 40 years expertise in the shoe industry we have the chance to know perfectly the factoring and shoemakeing processes. We try to make very high quality shoes with appealing details and each day we make improvements. Our sole is a good example with the closed-channel stitching and beveled waist. Our heels are totally made in leather. We could also talk about our upper stitching too, which are now handmade. We improved the leather selection too having a small shoe collection in Cordovan leather. We only use French calf and English suede.

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You propose 5 different lasts. What are the main differences between them?

Our boots are available in 3 lasts:

The 174 is the thinner one. Best for suite and high dressy clothes.

We’ll receive quickly a new one called 7505. It is more round, sport.

And the 198 that is a compromise between 174 and 7505.

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For Oxford and derby we propose 3 lasts too:

The emblematic 199 last. The thinnest one and the most famous. Perfect for thin to medium feet. You can wear it with strict suit and also with casual jeans.

The 206. The rounder, which is increasingly appreciate. Perfect for medium and wide feet.

And finally the 198 last. The compromise between 199 and 206.

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Gedeon

Could you please review the most emblematic Septième Largeur shoes?

Four years ago, my uncle made a wholecut from raw leather for me in order to make a patina by myself in navy blue. Septième Largeur was born. Since then Gédéon (the name of my great grandfather) become the favorite of our customer. We are very proud of this model, it actually represent the Septième Largeur savoir-faire.

ERNEST

Ernest

What is your favorite Septième Largeur model and why?

No doubt Ernest. I always loved boots.  I’m wearing high shoes almost all year long. I have a big instep and Ernest’s leather shape fits perfectly for my feet and it’s getting old in a very nice way.  It has also a little bit of rock style look …

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 I confess that I was primarily attracted to your shoes because of your gorgeous and distinguish patinas. How many colors are available and what is the limit for the combinations?

Only your imagination can fix the limit! This is the magic way of the patina. (lespatinesseptiemelargeur.tumblr.com)

Of course, I can’t make very small details and there is also a limit in the flashy style. The leather sets the limit. For example I used to have some difficulties to make a grey or a black in one specific skin. But now we developed a new type who let me do any of those colors.

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How do you see the future ?

We do not want to grow up to fast as we want to stay faithful to our policy. In may we are going to open a new shop in Saint Germain des Pres and we are planning to open some others in the capital. We want to be the best in France. Then I would like to develop Septième Largeur in the whole world. Especially in a few capitals …

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