28 April 2011

Shit Worth Checking Out: Great article in the New York Times on the state of the shoe industry in the United States.

The New York Times published an interesting article the other day profiling the decline and moderate resurgence of American-made shoes.  Titled At Their Feet, Crafted by Hand, the article notes that only 1% of shoes bought in the United States last year were produced in America, and focuses on homegrown brands like Allen Edmonds, Alden, and Florsheim. 

"It has not been lost on workers at Allen Edmonds, or those at about a half-dozen shoe companies that still produce in the United States, that the craft of shoemaking is experiencing something of a renaissance. Over the last few years, as heritage brands have been rediscovered by a new generation of customers, especially young men, labels once seen as relics of American work wear now have an unexpected cool factor, stocked by stylish boutiques and obsessed about on fashion blogs.

That has generally been perceived as a welcome development by those companies, some of which had been struggling financially or were, until recently, at risk of extinction. But it has also created a dynamic that is challenging for them to navigate, as designers adapt their products for a more fashion-conscious customer, as younger workers are trained on decades-old machines, and as executives wonder how long the newfound popularity of heritage brands can last. It frightens a shoemaker to describe a high-quality shoe as trendy."

Check the rest out here.

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