When a profession is also an art: we talked about footwear manufacturing and Made in Italy with Roberto, one of the craftsmen who collaborate with the designers Yuko Matsuzaki and Masaharu Ikeda in the production of Seishou shoes.
How did your passion for the world of footwear begin?
Since I was a child, I have always been very curious about this sector. My adventure began in 1989, when I started working for a well-known Salento shoe company covering different roles, including skiver, hand cutter, lynx pantograph and Cad pantograph, and also leather shearing and Cad cutting.
Your career was spent in Salento: how important is this area in your work?
Salento has been considered one of the most important footwear industry hubs in Italy for many years, therefore growing professionally here was the right choice to be able to learn one of the most beautiful and ancient crafts in the world.
What does it mean to practice a traditional profession such as that of the craftsman nowadays?
The beauty of this profession lies in the possibility of using both traditional and innovative techniques at the same time, so dexterity, ingenuity and creativity are still required.
What makes a Made in Italy shoe special?
A Made in Italy shoe is one of a kind, because it is designed and manufactured so that it lasts over time using high quality raw materials and craftsmanship.
How much time does it take to make a shoe and what are the steps you need to pay more attention to?
It takes at least three days to make our shoes, because we make sure that the timing that is necessary for each step to be completed is respected. Every single phase is essential for the good result that is a quality handcrafted shoe.
What are the features that make a handcrafted shoe better than an industrially produced one?
Handcrafted shoes are made piece by piece, paying attention to every single step, by highly experienced craftsmen. Moreover, the quality of the materials comes first if we want to obtain excellent shoes that stand out from the others and last over time.
You have been collaborating with Japanese stylists Yuko Matsuzaki and Masaharu Ikeda for the Seishou shoe brand for one year. What makes their project unique?
For this stimulating collaboration we create state-of-the-art shoes, to which I also tried to bring my long experience as a hand and machine carver of the pieces. The shoes designed by Yuko and meticulously produced in the workshop are designed to comfortably adapt to the foot shape.
What specific measures are taken to make Seishou shoes so comfortable?
First of all, it starts with the raw material, i.e. the leather. Other key components are certainly the sole and the insole, specifically chosen by the designers for increased shoe comfort.