Tricker’s shoes celebrates British craftsmanship from its Jermyn Street store. Combining the best of the traditional and contemporary, the independent shoemakers has launched its first ever seasonal range with renowned street-style photographer Garcon Jon. The Resident finds out more…
Although the name might suggest otherwise, there is no trickery when it comes to the making of Tricker’s shoes – some of the most reputable, handmade shoes in the business.
As one of the longest established independent shoemakers in England, the company was founded in 1829 by Joseph Tricker and has amassed an outstanding reputation. What’s the secret? At the heart of it all is a simple sense of integrity, honesty and true craftsmanship.
But just because they celebrate heritage doesn’t mean that they are stuck in the dark ages. Recently, the brand employed a Managing Director from outside of the family, the first person in 180 years to take on this role. Having worked with heritage brands such as Mulberry and Pringle, Martin Mason is the perfect person to push Tricker’s forward, while still maintaining and celebrating their history.
Something he is really plugging into is the crafts movement that has been playing out on social media for the last few years. Instagram has played a huge part in a recent resurgence in the popularity of all things #artisan. The crafts market has grown hugely and the younger generation in particular are really taking their time to celebrate the artisanal British market.
‘People are getting brand fatigue and they are bored of big, monstrosity brands and are bored of seeing the same thing all the time,’ he says. ‘The UK has extraordinary artisans, best kept secrets and hidden gems where people are making knitwear, silverware or shoes.
‘Customers are starting to seek this out now – the Japanese have been hunting down the best of the best for years and Britain is now following suit.’
This has meant that the brand have been on quite a transformative journey over the past year and are launching their very first spring/summer collection, celebrating that the heritage market is growing rapidly. The collection includes soft, deconstructed suede shoes and boots, something that pushes the fashion boundaries of what the brand has done previously.
Unlined and constructed with a new ultra flex sole, they are light and perfect for the warmer months. To mark the launch of this collection, Tricker’s recently shot with the renowned street style photographer, Garcon Jon.
It’s no surprise that people love heritage brands. Everything about Tricker’s feels unique and special, down to the very factory. Perhaps this is because the factory, still based in Northampton, is a working museum of shoe design and has a team of three who are the last Northampton master craftsman hand making shoes left.
‘It would be, in many ways, good to be in a modern factory that was purpose-made now for creating shoes,’ says Mason. ‘But then there would be no character.’
There are 250 processes in one pair of brogues, it’s very labour intensive and I think in the UK we need to shout about these things more
What makes Mason want to champion craftsmanship within Britain so much? ‘There are 250 processes in one pair of brogues, it’s very labour intensive and I think in the UK we need to shout about these things more,’ he explains.
‘I don’t want to get on my soapbox about exports and celebrating British manufacturing, but we are passionate about it. It means that we are limited as we can’t turn up the production and make twice as many shoes, so there will always be a more bespoke and limited number of products. But the time and detail also means that we tick environmental boxes too with the sustainability of the shoes, appealing to many in the modern world.’
The elite shoemakers still have a closing room where they are sewing the uppers together and are one of the only companies who don’t have those made abroad – everything is done in Northampton.
‘It’s important. It’s the same factory that was opened in 1903 and the store in Jermyn Street still has the original shop fit installed in 1938,’ says Mason. ‘The success of the brand is felt in the stitches of all the shoes that leave our premises – character and heritage is central.
‘That is our DNA. We’ve never deviated away from high standards of craftsmanship that was laid down by the founder, Joseph. I suppose we are a brand who have unassumingly kept in step with modern techniques, but at the heart of it all is durability, skill and true heritage.’
With their first foray into seasonal collections, watch this space for the next development. ‘Making shoes is always an adventure,’ says Mason. ‘We want to be here in another 180 years.’
67 Jermyn Street SW1Y 6NY; 020 7930 6395; trickers.com
TRICKER’S X Garcon Jon
As an ambassador of British manufacturing, Garcon Jon’s partnership
with Tricker’s couldn’t be more suited (and booted)
Jonathan Daniel Pryce has earned a reputation as a renowned photographer, often known by the name of Garcon Jon after his popular first blog, Le Garcon de Glasgow. Having first done a project in 2010 titled, Manufacturing Menswear, Pryce is the perfect person to fly the British heritage flag for Tricker’s.
‘There was a real lack of appreciation about how much incredible quality menswear was coming out of the UK – particularly from the British consumer,’ explains Pryce. ‘I think the average consumer doesn’t know how much is created here, whereas if you speak to someone in Japan, lots of people know exactly where things are made. I wanted to do something that would show and teach the British public.’
He goes on to tell me how legally in the UK, you are allowed to say something is made here if the final piece of clothing, such as a button, was made in the country – even if the rest has been done elsewhere.
They were keen to show people who did physical jobs and got lots of wear out of their shoes, in turn showing how hard wearing they are. I’m on my feet a lot
‘I wanted to showcase brands who make things entirely in Britain,’ he says. ‘Tricker’s is an incredible brand with a really interesting history. I’ve always really appreciated what they’ve done and as I went through my journey of discovering British brands in this project, I got to see real quality that was completely separated from marketing speak.’
His collaboration with the brand, then, came about quite organically. ‘They approached me having seen what I’ve been doing on Instagram and asked me to shoot for them,’ he says. ‘Through this, they thought I would make an interesting person to be photographed. It’s something I don’t do often, but I think they were keen to show people who did physical jobs and got lots of wear out of their shoes, in turn showing how hard wearing they are. I’m on my feet a lot.
‘British people love heritage and style and the average person is interested in doing something different with their style – we are quite unique here,’ he says. ‘We have a culture of fast fashion though, which means we’ve lost the art of taking care of our clothes and buying things that last. Why not spend a little more, and actually get some value for money? I want to help raise awareness of this.’
Follow @garconjon on Instagram