We are Loake

ANDREW LOAKE SPENDS FIVE MINUTES WITH… 

It’s something of a cliché to say that a business is defined by its people – and, although I have a dislike of clichés, they usually become clichés because they’re true.  So, Loake Shoemakers is defined by its people – the people who make our shoes, the people who sell them, the people who wear them and the people who get so excited about them, they want to tell others about them.

By sharing a few words with some of the people who appear in our “We Are Loake” marketing creative, here we hope to give an insight into life at Loake and in particular the lives and dedication of those who make our shoes.


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CHRIS PROWSE

What does your typical day involve?
My job involves stitching shoe uppers and in particular shoes that are sent back for repairs.  There’s a wonderful satisfaction in making things last longer.

Favourite style?
If I have a favourite style, it would have to be the “Brighton” loafer – but that’s probably because I make the uppers for them.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this job?
I previously worked in retail and merchandising, and I suppose if I didn’t have my current job that’s what I’d still be doing. But I’ve always had a passion for shoes.

Advice?
One of the best pieces of advice I have been given is that you get out of life what you’re prepared to put in – and I think that’s the key to job satisfaction. The best advice I could pass on would be to live every day as if it was your last.

Something others might not know about you?
At one time I seriously considered emigrating to Australia. And my pet hate is spitting!


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STEVE ABBOTT

What does your typical day involve?
I’m a sole-stitcher, sewing leather (or rubber) soles onto the welts.  To do this I operate one of the most heavy-duty sewing machines in the industry.  It can stitch through 1/2 inch of leather!

I’ve worked in the shoe trade for most of my working life (although I did have a brief spell in a fish-and-chip shop) and I’m one of the many people who have been with Loake for more than a quarter of a century!

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this job?
If I wasn’t working in the shoe trade, I’ve always dreamed of being an airline pilot.
But the thing I’m most looking forward to right now is having a well-earned pint after a hard day’s work.

Advice?
The best advice I have been given is to keep safe and healthy (although my main vice is smoking).

Something others might not know about you?
I‘m something of a jigsaw fanatic and I Iove cycling. My pet hate is washing up.


SteveAllen_cropped

STEVE ALLEN

What is your role at Loake?
I’ve always loved shoes and have been in the shoe trade ever since leaving school. It’s just never occurred to me to do anything else. Before I joined Loake I had my own footwear business. It was very stressful, but I’m glad I gave it a go. I work in Quality Control now and feel the same sense of satisfaction every time I see a finished pair of shoes carefully wrapped and packed into their box.

Something others might not know about you?
Although I’m known as a bit of a joker, I’m actually quite shy.

Advice?
Always treat others as you expect to be treated yourself.

Biggest vice?
Not admitting to the wife when I’m the wrong!

Favourite style?
It’s got to be the Chester brogue in Tan. They look great with jeans and have become justifiably one of Loake’s signature styles.


PhilAllen_cropped

PHIL ALLEN

What is your role at Loake?
I’ve worked in the shoe trade for most of my life, although prior to this I did have a short spell as a delivery driver. I’m now in charge of what’s called the Making Room.  That’s the part of production that begins with the uppers being lasted and attached to the insoles and ends at the point where the heels are attached.  I’m responsible for ensuring work is of the highest quality and also that production targets are met.

The best part of your job?
Friday! In all seriousness though, I’m proud of my part in guaranteeing the craftsmanship for which Loake is renowned.

And the worst part?
I’ll go to great lengths to avoid paperwork.

What are you most looking forward to?
Most days bring new challenges – so a day that runs totally smoothly would be very welcome!


ShaneHales_cropped

SHANE HALES

What does your typical day involve?
I currently work in the Making Room, but having been in the shoe trade since I was 15, I’ve been able to take the opportunity to master most of the processes required to make a pair of Loake Goodyear Welted shoes. At Loake, we aim to be proficient at as many of the highly skilled processes as possible. The best part of the job is seeing a really good finished product. The worst part is making a mistake and having to do it again, but this doesn’t happen very often!

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this job?
If I wasn’t in the shoe trade, I’d like to have an outdoor job – something in the countryside, maybe a gamekeeper.

Pet hate?
I don’t like bad manners and people who have no respect for others.

Biggest vice?
I think you’d be best to ask my partner that one!

Andrew-E-Loake-Signature

 

 

Andrew E Loake

Five of the Best:
Derby Shoes

A Derby (sometimes referred to as a Gibson or an ‘Open Front’) is a lace-up shoe where the eyelet facings are stitched on top of the vamp (front section of the shoe). This is in contrast to an Oxford style where the eyelet facings are stitched underneath the vamp. The Derby was popular as a sporting and hunting boot in the 1850s but, by the turn of the 20th century, it had become regarded as appropriate for wear in town. In the USA, a Derby shoe is sometimes referred to as a Blucher.

With its open tabs, a Derby allows for more adjustment than other styles by pulling the laces tighter or looser, which means it will fit a wide range of foot shapes.

Here are five of our Loake favourites.

Chester
A long running favourite, our Chester country style Derby brogue features burnished calf leather uppers and a split reverse welt which gives it a chunky, bold appearance. Chester is made using last shape 024 in an F/medium width fitting and is available with either a double leather sole or a Dainite rubber studded sole.
chester
Cornwall
From our premium Loake 1880 range, Cornwall is a sleek chisel-toe shoe especially suitable for more formal occasions. Cornwall uses the Duke last in an E fitting which gives it a narrow/medium fit. Cornwall is available in Mahogany burnished calf or black calf leathers and has a leather sole.
cornwall
Rowe
A recent and popular addition to our Loake Shoemakers range, Rowe is a plain front Derby shoe, available in Tan burnished calf or Brown suede. Like Chester, this shoe has a split reverse welt and also features a light Caramel coloured rubber studded sole and heel. Rowe uses the versatile Claridge last in an F fitting, giving it a slightly elongated, rounded toe.
rowe
Royal
Our famous Royal brogue is one of our longest running styles, having been popular since the 70s. Royal is a long wing brogue design, available in original Oxblood or Black polished leather. Made on last shape 1639 in an F fitting, it has a double leather sole and features an all-round ‘storm’ welt to give the shoe a bold appearance.
royal
Style 771
A classic plain Derby design, our long-running style 771 is also a perennial favourite. Like Royal, this shoe also has a storm welt and a double leather sole, and comes in Black or Burgundy polished leathers. Style 771 uses the 3625 last shape in an F fitting for a traditional English look.

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We invited John Jarrett – stylist, illustrator and Fashion Editor of men’s style collective Individualism – to put together an outfit based around his choice of Loake shoes in a Summer 16 style edit. John chose our Rowe Derby shoe in Tan burnished calf leather and teamed it with a colourful ensemble typical of John’s bright and individual style.

“I chose the Rowe Derby in Tan because it can work for both casual and formal occasions, although here I matched it with workwear pieces, pairing the shoes with some lightweight white jeans, a striped shirt and a loose denim chore jacket. I added a pair of printed socks and a woven belt in Mustard yellow to add some seasonal colour to the outfit. Oh and of course, I’d never leave the house without a trilby or a fedora – why not try one in Navy?”

Follow John at @_johnjarrett

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A little while ago, I was about to throw away a leather chair that was very old and in poor condition. When I say it was in poor condition, that’s an understatement – it was really only fit for the tip. We couldn’t have brought it into the house as, for all I know, it could have had all forms of wildlife, maybe even a few endangered species, living inside it – and it smelled a bit too.

COB_Chair&Filling

But, it was over 100 years old and it used to belong to my grandfather, possibly even to his father too and, in its day, it had obviously been magnificent. So, we decided that we’d like to keep it.

In most towns it would be hard to find somebody to restore it, but here in Kettering we are very fortunate. There are two master upholsterers operating their businesses in the same street – and it’s only two streets away from our factory. So, I contacted Tom Reed at John Reed & Son, who took the chair into his workshop, helped me to choose some new leather and gave me a quote for the job.

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The restoration was thorough. The chair, which Tom described as a “pillow-back”, was stripped right down to its frame, which was itself dismantled and reassembled. The rails on the frame were all dowelled and extra corner blocks were fitted to strengthen it in places. The first stuffings were a mixture of horsehair and fibre followed by cotton felt and the seat cushion was feather filled.

COB_Rebuild

It would have been easier, and probably cheaper, to buy a new chair, but it would have been hard to find one as good. And, there are two extra features that I wouldn’t have got with a new chair: Firstly, I know exactly what’s inside this one and I’m confident to think that it’s probably set up for the next 100 years or so. But secondly, and for me more importantly, I’m sitting where my grandfather sat and I wonder if, one day, I might have grandchildren who carry the same thought.

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But there’s one more thing to consider.  It takes a long time for highly-skilled craftsmen to acquire their expertise and it can be very hard for the public to find such people.  But when we do have the opportunity, we should use them and let artisans “do what they do” because, in doing so, they can pass their skills on to others.  It’s worth it.

www.johnreedandsonupholsterers.com

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Andrew E Loake

We Are Loake

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For a little while now at Loake we have talked about the extended Loake ‘family’, a phrase first prompted by the wonderful interaction we receive on our Facebook page. To be honest, we are still surprised how many people love our shoes and love talking about them.

But the Loake family extends much further than this, it stretches from our forefathers who started the Loake brand through to the newest generation of wearers to adopt our shoes.

To illustrate this, we have adopted a new slogan. We Are Loake. This represents all the people who are involved in our story: the people who make Loake shoes, the people who sell them, the people who wear them and the people who love them.

MWB-Loake-Ad-Spring-2016-210x297[3] Read More

Loake are proud to be in collaboration with luxury menswear brand Duchamp London, Arsenal football club’s Official formalwear partner.

Loake shoes have been supplied to Duchamp as part of the official formalwear package being worn by the first team squad and manager Arsene Wenger on selected official Club appearances, including all home matches in the Barclay’s Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

Arsenal Football Club

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