Edward Green - Q & A Session
Information from Edward Green for English Shoe-Lovers
With her Staedtler Tradition and Moleskine Pocket Reporter in hand, young Mrs Tweed squeezed shoe knowledge from the brain of Euan Denholm, Branding Advisor at Edward Green. Following our original post on Edward Green, where we looked at some of their shoes, Euan provided some very interesting background information on Edward Green for lovers of English shoes.
Many thanks to Euan for sharing his time and expertise.
Q & A with Euan Denholm, Branding Advisor at Edward Green
What are your most popular lines?Our plain captoe Oxford - the Chelsea - is very popular. It's a style which appeals globally but in Japan the Chelsea name is almost a brand in itself. It comes on two lasts - the more classic, rounded 202, and the slightly slimmer, more contemporary 82.
The Galway boot is another favourite which is born of our military heritage - before the war we were apparently the biggest maker of officers' boots for the forces. We had a gentleman who came in before Christmas who has worn the Galway in the Falklands, and was very thankful he did watching comrades start on their umpteenth pair of army issue boots.
The Dover (below) perhaps exhibits the finest craftsmanship. It's got what's known as a 'Norwegian apron' - and the upper is sewn with a pig's bristle needle. The Dover is also very popular in Japan. Indeed we make it on another heritage last for the Japanese - the 32 - which has a more classic, weightier quality.
Tweedy's Note: Norwegian apron refers to the triangular or apron-shaped piece on top and split front.
This year we've found a strong market for our new Oakdale long-wing brogue. Although it's a longwing, it's on our 82 last and looks very slim and elegant.
The Lakes Collection of country shoes will perhaps be of most interest to Tweed Pig readers. Four classic shoes made up with storm welts and double soles for a more rugged construction and look. What to reach for with a pair of Incotex trousers.
Tweedy's Note: Incotex trousers - friends of The Tweed Pig, the Italian heritage label is part of the Slowear group.
What are your biggest markets?Internationally Japan and America are very strong. The Japanese have a very particular eye for quality and detail. France, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea and Russia all make good appearances. Certainly our shop on Jermyn Street is very important to the business - but it's a real range of nationalities who shop with us there - people will fly in especially, or arrange business trips with time allowed for a visit to Jermyn Street.
What's the profile of your customer? Have you seen a change in your type of customers, new younger customers?There's really quite a wide range of customers but the common unifier is that they care about detail and quality, and like to make an effort with their dress. Our customers could be leading businessmen or lawyers wanting to look impeccable in their Savile Row suit and black oxfords; they could be a stylist looking for shoes which really complete their look; they could be a groom looking forward to a special pair of shoes for his wedding day.
The age profile of customers probably shifts a little from market to market. But certainly in Britain there's a growing hunger for quality and craftsmanship amongst younger buyers. That's something we very much need to engage with and encourage.
What are your plans for the future?We've worked hard at segmenting the range over the last year and ensuring that there's a regular stream of new variants of classics. Really you should always find something suitable in Jermyn Street now without having to make up a Made-to-Order.
So we'll have new shoes in interesting new leathers - a monk strap and simple oxford in cloud, a burnished grey; a loafer, the Greenwich in navy cordovan. We've a smart, simple new group for this Spring and Summer season - with a precise, professional look.
Behind the scenes we're busy putting in a new IT system which is going to help us better serve our customers and that will dove-tail with a new website too.
Is heritage a source of inspiration or a creative constraint?It's very much a source of inspiration. But it should be referential rather than reverential. Shapes and colours shift over time but men's shoes don't revolutionise.
Have you seen a change in the preferences of your customers for particular styles?Different customers look for different kinds of shoe, but generally there's been an increased in interest in the texture of heritage which the Tweed Pig is concerned with. Here in the UK we've launched the Lakes Collection of storm welted English shoes made in rugged cordovans, suedes and country calves. We have a special sub-range of archival style specifically for Japan.
There's also definitely been increased interest in colours - the best tend to be quite toned down but with an interesting base. For example Midnight has a blue base, but depending on what light you can catch it from it can look like an interesting grey.
Tweedy's Thought: The British have such incredible companies on their doorstep who, like Edward Green, are committed to producing the finest products. They have built their names on unstinting devotion to quality. Quality means the best materials and time-consuming attention to detail. Quality cannot be rushed. Something the Japanese appreciate and seek out. But quality also means solidity and longevity. Quality products will maintain better and last longer. And the companies that keep quality at their core will last too. The shoemakers that have lasted in Northampton are the ones that remained committed to quality rather than trying to compete on price and slim margins. As we have said before, buy cheap and you buy twice. It's good to see that younger British buyers are recognising the attractions of quality British products.