We’re proud to be British and proud that British-made products stand for quality. That’s why, when we began the journey of designing our own shoe Collection, it was crucial that the shoes were manufactured in Britain.
Not an easy task, we admit. But, having sourced the finest quality leather and soles (from Italy and Spain, as it goes), we were as proud as punch to find traditional craftsmen and women in London to hand make ALL our shoes.
And, for those of you that love a bit of detail, here’s how it all came together…
The shoe factory in London comprises of craftsmen and women that have been in the industry for decades, each bringing their expertise to every stage of the shoe making process. And for us it’s been amazing to work with people that have such passion for making beautiful shoes. Without them, we simply could not bring you such a luxurious Collection.
The design process begins
After much deliberation we finally decided on the type of shoes we wanted to include in our Collection. We met with the Head Designer who worked with us to finesse styles. Then the pattern was created, which fitted onto the ‘last’ (the shoe mould for that particular shoe shape, heel size, etc…). The pattern was cut and moulded onto the shoe, where further alterations were made.
The shoe was then ready to accept the sole and heel. At that stage adjustments were also made to the sole, shaping it to fit the shoe type. When that was done, the heel was fitted. We could see how the design was working, and at this point it got really exciting as we could now try on the prototype for fit, see how it looked on a foot and tweak the design.
Once the design was finalised, we made patterns for the leather to be cut. These pieces are called ‘The counters’ and are the sections covering the back and sides of the shoe. ‘The vamp’ covers the toes and top of the foot and is sewn onto the counters. This sewn upper was stretched and fitted over the ‘last’, and our master craftsmen and women used stretching pliers to pull the parts of the shoe into place. These were then tacked onto the ‘last’ and left to take the mould of the shoe.
The sole was then glued to the bottom of the upper so it was properly placed for the heel. The heels were attached to the sole by nails, and the covering was glued or stitched onto the heel before being attached to the shoe. The sole was trimmed, the tacks were removed, and the shoe was taken off the ‘last’. Finally, the outside of the shoe was polished, and the fine linings with the Bijou label were attached to the inner.