So what do I look back on now. Well besides my attempts to pull out the bottom shoebox without having all of them topple over on me, I am now faced with a mountain of shoes that I probably won't wear again anytime soon. However, I still feel drawn to the memory (emotional attachment, if you will) of the hunt, find and plunder of acquiring the mashes of laces, leathers and gum-soles.
Well now I am faced with the problem of going forward with the affections of my past still lingering in my consciousness. I am older, wiser and have a better understanding of quality materials, craftsmanship and the certain value of longevity associated with the aforementioned. It's interesting, although not surprising, to learn this at my age (don't ask) but after meeting Matthew Chevallard of Del Toro Shoes I thought it more interesting that he kind of thought the same way.
Mr. Chevallard is the president of Del Toro Shoes, a relatively new and impressive label dedicated to combining the inspirations of his Italian heritage, American rearing and love of sneaker culture. However instead of just remixing a Dunk or Chuck T the brand aims to use the quality of Italian materials and craftsmanship together with an 'easy living', globally influential American aesthetic to introduce the appeal of updated mens footwear classics to those who appreciate premium quality, comfortable design and sneaker culture alike. Those classics include modernized moccasins, driving shoes, slip-on smoking shoes and espadrilles.
Del Toro aims to fulfill its modernity claims through materials such as butter soft skins, plush quality velvets and fine wovens. Its design claims are fulfilled through clever uses of color and technique giving a fresher and different perspective to mens footwear staples and by instilling cheeky embroidery for a personalized statement. One key attribute that Mr. Chevallard and Eliza Allen Aho, the Managing Director, say the brand aims to adopt is a lighter weight to their shoes than say your dad used to wear. Del Toro desires to be comforting and satisfying for the sneaker-head who enjoys the feel of a sneaker but desires something more refined and for the enlightened gentleman who just wants non-fussy footwear that kills several 'lifestyle birds' with one stone. For example, for spring 2012, the company will offer a super lightweight brogue model that is considerably easier on the feet than the common brogue seen on the street without sacrificing any of the bespoke panache. Literally and figuratively. The shoes are all made in either Italy or Spain, countries that made a tradition out of fine tailoring and crafting. So the approach to bespoke is essentially the same in attention to craft and detail with just a more modernized outcome.
Catering to the versatile lives of the modern man is key to many designers and retailers alike today. Since you can be a 20 something CEO or a 40 something web designer or vice versa, age or status do not dictate knowledge, need or demand of quality anymore. Society has proven that anyone can become anything at any age and the things, like design, in society should reflect that. Rounded collections that have depth and cater to many reflect the fact that the late teen entrepreneur may know just as much about a well-made shoe as a 50 year old financier; and both may demand various kinds of design on the same level of quality. I'd like to think that Del Toro Shoes is one brand that could dress the feet of the snap-back wearer and the weekend duffel carrier alike.