Do you remember the time you felt that you have outgrown your role? In your football team, your local society or even your current company. You have that burning desire to take it to the next level but know you should not rush things.
Where do you start then?
You are not alone. I too share the same thoughts. Currently my passion is shoes. I’m not ready to go complete bespoke but I have evolved from sneakers, to glued shoes and now only Goodyear Welted shoes. In my quest to improve my knowledge, I stumbled upon one of the biggest shoe blogs in the world: Shoegazing and their annual Trunk Shows in Stockholm.
Misiu Academy is here with a great article to describe the experience of the Shoegazing Trunk Show 2018 (September 29th) which will hopefully give you a compelling reason to attend one in the future.
Shoegazing Trunk Show – Background
Shoegazing is a wonderful blog with vast amounts of information that include reviews, new releases, trunk shows and news from the shoe world. It started in 2013 only in Swedish and now has an English version that launched in 2016. Jesper Ingevaldsson, a journalist with a passion for quality shoes created it as a side-project.
The venue for the 2018 Super Trunk Show was the Scandic Anglais in Östermalmstorg with free entrance to the public. The idea was not only to bring shoe enthusiasts together but to also showcase famous and upcoming brands such as Skolyx. Additionally, they launched a second-hand market where individuals could sell their shoes.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that the event lasted from 10:00 until 18:00 Stockholm time.
List Of Brands
While the Shoegazing Trunk Show is mostly about shoes, there were a few brands that offered different items. These included shirts, handkerchiefs, ties and shoe care products. Here’s a list of all that attended the show:
- Heinrich Dinkelacker: German Shoemaker with a digital “Bespoke” pilot program
- Jan Kielman: Poland’s best shoemaker with amazing RTW designs and bespoke shoes
- Vass: A Hungarian shoemaker with some very interesting designs and MTO Program
- Matsumoto/Miyagi Kogyo/Kiten: Part of the Japan Shoes Export Platform, with many boots and Shell Cordovan shoes
- Skolyx: Offerings from Skolyx, Yanko (Spanish) and TLB Mallorca (Spanish), competing in lower prices
- Gaziano & Girling: Big boys straight out of Northamptonshire with RTW, MTO and Bespoke
- Granqvist: Incredible Swedish accessories retailer with great handmade ties, pocket-squares and cashmere gloves
- Shirtonomy: A custom MTM Swedish shirt maker
- Brunngård: A Swedish brand with everything you could ask for your shoe care
Entering The Venue
Scandic Anglais is a hotel in Stockholm’s premium district (Östermalmstorg) in the centre of Stockholm. After arriving at the venue you could follow the signs to the first floor or simply ask the helpful hotel staff.
Before I got to the main stage I found myself in the second hand shoe market, launched for the first time. Different shoes from well-known brands in different colours, patterns and sizes for really good prices. Some of the brands notably include Carmina, Edward Green and even Berluti.
However, I spotted a pair of great Carlos Santos Suede sneakers for 50$ in perfect condition and I could not pass that offer.
After that it was time to join the actual event in the main room.
The Main Stage
The main room was surprisingly small for what I had in my head but was perfect for the amount of attendants while there was ample space for all the exhibitors. In my opinion they made a very good estimate of the amount of people that would simultaneously be there. The exhibition space was organised as a rectangle leaving a lot of space in the middle to walk around.
After getting familiar with the space I was ready to be immersed in a shoe adventure.
Vass Shoes – Budapest
My first stop was Vass Shoes which is a brand I had heard and read about but have not had the chance to see their products up close. Vass is based in Budapest (Hungary) and creates hand-crafted shoes of very high quality.
Their prices are catered more towards the high end and offer RTW (Ready-To-Wear), MTO (Made-To-Order) and Bespoke services. A shoe from Vass starts from 530 Euros (approximately 610$) while the MTO version is around 100$ more expensive.
While Vass began to make shoes only in 1978, they have amassed a good following and reputation. They are very well-respected on platforms like Reddit. They have a lot of different lasts and leathers and my favourite chiselled-toe shapes. For comparison’s sake I tried a EU 41 Derby shoe (UK 7/US 8) same as my Loake size and it fit perfectly.
Very friendly staff and a beautiful well-dressed woman present in the booth. Excellent manners and service and an overall great first impression. Very comfortable shoes and great leather quality from calfskin to caiman aligator. You can check out Vass Shoes here.
JSEP Japan Shoes Export Platform
Next on the line was the JSEP which was represented by Matsumoto, Miyagi Kogyo and Kiten. A younger man and an older lady were at the booth and were quite friendly and happy to talk to us. In general the feeling was that they were looking for investors to bring and sell their shoes in Europe and penetrate the Swedish market.
They had quite some classic designs and many of them reminded me of Edward Green, however on some shoes they had some Japanese engravings or moon shapes. These are all great for making you stand out but they will always reduce the formality of your shoes a bit.
Where they really stand out though is their boots and especially those made out of Shell Cordovan. With a wide variety of colours and unique designs they could make a great winter companion.
Nice booth, friendly people and good construction, however I could not justify spending between 700 and 1000 Euros (810$ – 1155$) for these shoes. For that price I would rather go to the next gentleman in the list.
One of my newest favourite brands, Jan Kielman is Poland’s most famous and historical Shoemaker. I visited them in Warsaw last month and was blown away by the quality, the design and the warm welcome of the staff. I promise you some designs will blow your mind away.
Anything is possible. Seamless wholecut oxfords, kangaroo or elephant leather, ostrich, alligator or even tweed blends. What a wonderful experience.
Apart from their RTW designs, Jan Kielman really shines at making bespoke shoes. Once they take your foot measurement they can start creating your shoes, a process that can take from 1 to 2 months.
Prices are not for the faint-hearted but actually represent incredible value compared to other high-end brands. Last time I talked to them, prices started around 8000 SEK (770 Euros/ 890$). Do you understand now why I would hesitate buying from the JSEP?
If that was not enough, Jan Kielman makes bespoke patina wallets, card-holders and bags. The picture does not do enough justice, I promise you they are much better up-close.
You can check out more of their work here.
Heinrich Dinkelacker – Skolyx – Shirtonomy – Brunngård
Around the Jan Kielman Booth there were different brands, each offering unique services at different price points. I did not hang out much in any of those booths though because none had something that interested me.
If you remember from the introduction, Henrich Dinkelacker is a shoemaker from Germany with a digital “bespoke” service which is ridiculously expensive the first time (around 1700 Euros/ 1900$) and is halved after the second purchase. I can’t see myself choosing them over Kielman.
Skolyx has launched their own shoes around the 250$ range and looks good value for those that don’t want to break the bank. If you want to support a Swedish brand go for it, otherwise take a look at Meermin.
Shirtonomy is a MTM shirtmaker and I have read some good reviews but I cannot comment much more until I actually try them in the future.
Brunngård was the place to be if you look for cleaning equipment for your shoes. Rather large collection for every need which means you will most likely find what you look for.
Gaziano & Girling
Straight out of the heart of Northampton and a story that began in 2006, G&G is a very expensive brand of immaculate craftsmanship. If you have 1100$ or more to spend you can get a pair of amazing quality.
The sky is the limit really but what impressed me was seeing a person that was dying a pair of wholecuts, showing the process of creating a patina.
I learned so much by watching her and she was very friendly. The bottom line is that they make great shoes that come with a hefty price tag.
Last but not least was the Swedish Granqvist. They specialise in ties and other accessories but also make business shirts and merino wool sweaters.
The man on the booth was a very well-mannered young Swedish man named Massar. I felt compelled to buy a beautiful pocket-square to show my support. Thank you Massar.
Their ties were exquisite, hand-crafted and very thin. A joy to touch honestly and if you visit their shop make sure to try their cashmere ties.
Granqvist was the last live exhibition I attended before leaving Shoegazing Trunk Show 2018.
World Championship in Shoemaking
Before I headed off I spent a little time to observe the three winners of the World Shoemaking Championship that were on display. The shoes were very narrow but after some researching I found out they are not meant to be worn and are judged purely on construction, looks and quality.
I concluded my visit with the cleaning and polishing contest that took place at 14:00 o’clock. Three contestants cleaned and shined a Loake 1880 Aldwych (review here) as best as they could.
I felt like a kid in a candy store and that says enough. A brilliant show with wonderful exhibitors, friendly staff and people that were actually passionate about shoes. I certainly felt like I was in the right place, around people that put that extra effort in their outfits and know the difference between a bad shoe, a good shoe and a great shoe.
The Shoegazing Trunk Show 2018 was a new experience for me since I entered the men’s style world and I would like to commend them for their effort. I look forward to attending the next annual event in 2019 and I hope to see and meet some of you there.
Should you attend a trunk show?
Definitely! Whether you love shoes or you just want to get a better deal on a brand you like, you will have a good time and get value out of your purchase while interacting directly with the brand.
Next time, don’t be afraid to come say hi! We might end up making a group for younger gentlemen together and have monthly fika. Who knows!
To conclude, I would love to hear your thoughts regarding the aforementioned brands down below. Let me know if you have a favourite brand or a story from another Trunk Show.
Thank you for reading,