Sepand Oboudiyat, Founder of shoe brand Sons of London.
The styles in the collection where inspired by the styles of shoes that I wore, or wanted to wear, as a result of my lifestyle in London. That being business attire, evenings out, weekends out and about, the annual wedding season, trips abroad, special events and that kind of stuff.
To emphasise the timeless nature of the designs, the supreme quality of the materials and craftsmanship, and the care and love that we put into making each pair we decided to call the brand Sons of London and name each style a Son, like: The First Son, a cap toe oxford, The Second Son, a Semi Brogue Oxford and so on.
All Sons of London shoes are made in Italy and inspired by, and initially worn in, London so it was just a playful tagline that neatly encapsulated those two elements of the brand.
The collection itself is inspired by the London lifestyle, and the craftsmanship is Italian. The result is a collection of classic English-centric styles with a subtle Italian aesthetic, paired with a level of detailing and quality of finish that is rarely found outside of Italy.
I would say that Sons of London caters to the modern man via a ‘modern approach’ as opposed to ‘traditional tactics’. Our modern direct-to-consumer business model eliminates mark-ups, middlemen and third party store costs giving our customers exquisite shoes at fair prices.
This is what sets us apart from traditional luxury brands, and is central to our appeal for the modern man who is more savvy than ever before.
Over the last 100 years? Perhaps, given trainers didn’t exist a 100 years ago! But if we look at the last decade, despite the rise in more informal work attire, there has actually been a huge resurgence towards classic shoes. This is being driven by the fact that men today are much more fashion and style conscious than in the past and on average own a great many more pairs of shoes - both formal and informal - than at any time in the past.
Absolutely. In fact we are seeing a strong growth in the demand for premium formal men’s shoes for the reasons stated above. The days of the average gentleman owning a black and a charcoal suit and a couple of pairs of Oxfords to get him through the work week and any formal occasions are long behind us.
What we’re seeing is a customer who seeks classic formal shoes in assorted styles and colours to accompany everything from their workday attire, evenings out, and special occasions such as weddings and functions. The modern gentleman takes great care in their appearance and appreciates quality design and craft and that is precisely the demand that we are addressing.
I have three pieces of advice but i’ll work them into a single sentence to stay within the remit of the question, of course.
Choose a stitched construction, a full grain leather upper, and a hybrid leather rubber sole.
Stitched constructions like Blake stitch and Goodyear welt, as opposed to glued or cemented constructions, are more durable. Basically, glue and cements crack over time where stitches don’t.
Full grain leather is the highest quality leather available. It is taken from the outermost layer of the hide so it retains the natural characteristics of the leather which make the most beautiful shoes and it happens to be the most durable and has the best ageing properties.
Unless you really don’t plan on wearing them that often, go for a full leather sole with a rubber fore part - ideally injected into the centre of the sole so it is not visible from the outside. This gives you the best of both worlds: the full luxurious look and feel of a leather sole combined with the non-slip grip and extra durability of rubber. You heard it here first.
It's hard to give just one tip! But the same way trainers are now commonly being worn with tailoring – picture a crisp pair of White Common Project Achilles Lows combined with a Navy suit – formal shoes can be mixed in with more casual looks. You can combine any of a pair of Oxfords, Brogues, Monks, Chelseas or Loafers with a pair of fitted denim jeans and basic t-shirt for a really distinctive informal look. Basically, be more fearless in the way you wear formal shoes, switch up the focus.
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