“You quickly understand the level of expertise that went into producing such a wonderful product”
Founded in 1879 in Northampton, at the heart of England’s most famous shoe making town, Crockett & Jones is today renowned throughout the world for their fine quality shoes for both men and women.
As a 5th generation family business Crockett & Jones remain committed to maintaining the highest standards of traditional craftsmanship, quality and service which have been appreciated by their customers for more than 130 years. Using Goodyear welted construction and only the finest leathers available, Crockett & Jones shoes have an exceptional combination of comfort, elegance and durability in wear.
At present there are 11 Crockett & Jones retail shops and concessions based in London, Birmingham, Paris, Brussels and New York. Crockett & Jones shops provide both a stylish and contemporary showcase for an extensive ready to wear footwear collection, including velvet slippers and driving shoes, as well as a selection of smart, luxurious accessories.
Where are you based and what is your workspace like?
The Crockett & Jones factory is based at the heart of the famous shoe making town of Northampton. This is also where all operations for the company are undertaken, including design and development.
The factory dates back to the 1890’s with additions to the main building in 1910 and 1935, which completes the vast space we work in today.
The entire factory boasts huge proportions of glass to give superb natural lighting throughout the building, which makes for a pleasant working environment. It is far from a dark factory, although it can get rather cold in the winter and extremely warm in the summer.
How does your company’s design or development process work?
Our Managing Director, Jonathan Jones manages the process and decides all collection changes throughout the year. Having a ‘product man’ at the head of the business is a huge benefit to the company. There is nothing he doesn’t know about our shoes as he has designed/developed most of them himself.
In terms of timescales, we naturally work towards Spring Summer and Autumn Winter. These are the times we show our range at trade shows in Florence (Pitti Uomo) and Milan (MICAM).
Working with his pattern cutters, Jonathan will decide the styles he wants to sample in new colour ways or even a new specification (contrast stitch/new sole). He also decides on any new styles that he may have in mind. New styles are always tested by running a ‘pull over’ or even a test pair through the factory before bulk production begins.
Our development process is not one of design, more of experience and understanding of the various markets we sell into. It is about understanding what the end consumer wants and often comes down to whether you would you wear it yourself.
How do historic/vintage shoes relate to your current Collection? Do you use them for inspiration? Is there a continuity or evolution of a vintage style throughout your brands history?
We still have shoes in our showroom that date back to the 1920’s and they would inspire anyone in the shoe trade today. These shoes are one of the reasons Jonathan decided to focus on producing high quality, luxury mens shoes. When you hold a style from that era, you quickly understand the level of expertise that went into producing such a wonderful product. It certainly focuses your mind on achieving that once again.
If you compare a catalogue from the early 20th century to this year’s edition, you can see the continuity and evolution of our development. Crockett & Jones is now in its 5th generation of family management; this and our heritage are the biggest strengths in this development process.
Describe the historic/vintage shoe you picked.
We have chosen our Derby shoe with punches toe cap (Crockett & Jones 026) which probably dates back to 1930’s.
Why did you pick it? What do you love about it?
What is noticeable about this historic shoe is the tight trimming on the heel and close wheeling or fudging around the welt. This would almost certainly have been done by hand without the aid of any powered machines/tools. You can also note the closeness of the stitching, which would be 20 stiches to the inch. Finally, I particularly like the facing detail on this vintage style. Shoe making at its best.
We have a similar style in our Mail Line Collection called Bristol (new last season) which shows the history and elegance of a similar pattern. You will notice a rubber sole on our modern day version, this is a regular choice sole in the modern era of shoe manufacturing.