Each season our man heads to Northampton to create the perfectly pitched shoes for the my-wardrobe man by designing exclusives in tandem with the Trickers team. Head of menswear buying Lee Douros tells all…
For me the process starts with a stroll to the Northampton factory, which is a proper old style workshop really, all smoky windows and benches, and you can see all the stages in the shoe making process going on in there. What's great about it is that there are about 50 people working there and it's a real mix of young and old. It's great to see the skills are being preserved.
Then it's all about making the shoes. There are nine steps in the process. I start by picking the last, which is the shape of the sole. Then it's the fabric, then the colour. There is a choice of over 50 colours in leather and 30 more in suede, so this takes a while. I wanted a countryside feel, so we've used earthy hues in turf green and a spicy curry shade that are not too scary but also lively, rich and a little preppy. We'll still have our classics in leather and I'm bringing in a white upper with a blue sole and a blue suede with a white sole — and that's a good link to step four.
Then step four is picking the sole unit, and we're using the lighter Dainite soles this summer. Dainite soles are traditional flexible styles that are wipe clean and have superb comfort and all-weather grip.
The next two steps are the choices of welt style and welt colour. You know you're getting quality with Trickers so I'm confident picking whatever style. For a change I've used the natural welt for a slightly slimmer effect. Step seven is the choice of lining colour and eight is the eyelets — do we have naked holes or a coloured metal? The ninth step is picking the laces, and on boots there's actually a tenth step: picking the tab on the back of the throat which helps you squeeze your foot in.
I love it. The Trickers team have been there for decades and the guys get genuinely excited when I suggest new combinations. It's hard to not get wrapped up in that sort of love for the product.
How people will wear them is what guides the whole process is how people will wear them. The looks I have gone for this summer are all well-tuned to team with a cuffed chino, crisp shirt and blazer or a Barbour jacket, knit and jeans, say. That ability to dress up and down is crucial.