How did Alfred Sargent shoemakeing story begin and how many Gentlemen work together to create Alfred Sargent shoe?
By the end of the 19th century Alfred Paul and Andrew’s great-grandfather had mastered the shoemaking skills handed down by his father and grandfather and in 1899 he founded our company Alfred Sargent. With his continuing success the company moved to our present location in 1915. This new purpose built factory with ‘up to date’ machinery and ‘electric lighting’ grew from strength to strength and with the help of his to sons Frank and Harry and later grandson Derrick the business continued to expand.
Having reached our centenary year the company today still remains a family business with the fourth generation upholding the traditional skills and craftsmanship required to produce high quality Goodyear Welted footwear.
We have a team or around 80 shoemakers committed to offering shoes of quality and styling synonymous with the Alfred Sargent name which is held in high regard by all our customers worldwide and in comparison with some other makers all of our shoes and boots in their entirety at our factory in England.
What are the key elements of a good shoe in your opinion?
Construction, quality of materials used and the skill of the shoemakers define fine footwear to me. Once these ingredients are combined it is only really attention to the finest detail and perhaps most importantly a passion to make truly great shoes that separates the very good from the average.
We have made shoes for many famous brands over the years but feel that it is for them and not us to say who made their shoes. I can say we have a recent collaboration with J. Crew.
Do you have any particular Alfred Sargent designs that impress you the most?
I have too many favorites to ask me that question! I really the Lombard seven eyelet brogue boot which is made on our 7WK Last – it provides a great look when dressed casually and the Radwell chukka boot from our Alfred Sargent Exclusive range is also a favored style.
I also love the finesse and simplicity of the classically styled Pendle and Milton from our Alfred Sargent Handgrade range; sometimes shoes can be over complicated in design but it is always the classic styles that stand the test of time, they also never go out of fashion which is important on shoes that with the right care can last many, many years.
Do you see potential in the future of shoemaking industry?
I think that current trends show resurgence in quality English shoemaking – people are happy to pay a little bit more for shoes of very good quality that will last a very long time, it makes sense economically.
I see a lot of younger people moving away from wearing sneakers or running shoes and wearing smarter casual shoes and boots such as our Lombard boot which hopefully will mean that they shall become the next generation buying English footwear.