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Italian Inspiration for SS13

Built to Last
The last is a critical part of the development process. It’s the design, shape and length of the shoe. More importantly it’s the anatomical information of the human foot. We use both the best selling lasts from past stone island underwear seasons and add new in order to fit in with current fashion trends. This season’s additions include a new casual last and a pointy toe!

Choosing the leathers
We work with some of the best tanneries in Italy and each season we choose new leathers to include in the collection. We use vegetable tanned leather for almost all of our leathers; these are not chemically tanned with chromium. This produces soft and natural leather and is much more eco-friendly. The most common vegetable tanage is Mimosa Bark. We also use Oak and other beautiful tannages.

Putting our sole into it
Our soles fall into two types. We use leather for formal shoes and rubber for casual shoes. The leather soles we use are made of Argentinean sole bond – the best available on the market. Our soles are made locally in the Marche region.

Pattern Cutting
Our shoe designs start their life as two dimensional but in order to make patterns these need to be made into three dimensional. The first stage is to tape the last. This allows us to make a ‘standard’ and from this all the patterns are cut. Having designed the shoes and cut the pattern, chosen the leathers and the soles we are now ready to make the prototype samples.

After having cut the patterns we have a natural break. I like to use this period of time to meet other suppliers and visit somewhere inspirational in the region. Already in possession of a hired Fiat Panda a mini road trip was a natural choice. I had to meet Giovanni, our wonderful belt supplier, who is based in Florence so we agreed to meet in Assisi.

Assisi is steeped in both religion and beauty .We arranged to meet at the entrance of the Basilica di San Francisco. Giovanni was the perfect guide and his knowledge coupled with the beauty of the Giotto frescos made for a perfect catch up. That and the food and wine!

Then it was back to the factory to finalise the prototype.

For first prototypes we make a quick pull over, a lasted upper without a sole. This allows us to check proportion and initial fit before we attach the sole. We use masking tape to draw on the pull over and then use this to adjust the pattern. We look at all of the materials we have collected from the tanneries and choose which colours and leather types we believe will best suit the style.

With the first phase finishedwe leave our colleagues at the factory in peace to make our beautiful samples. A very successful trip in terms of inspiration and SS13 development…