Last week I shared some pictures and tips of the day that I spent in Malmö. One of the beauties that the city has to offer is the shoe store Rolf Hansson & Sonner Skomakeri. It is a shoe store that also sells accessories, does repairs, and restorations. Who opened the store was the father, Rolf, who now shares the space with the two ex-apprentices, the children Micke and Björn.
Thousands of years ago the man tied himself for the first time an animal skin around the foot to protect from rough terrain and deal with the heat and the cold, allowing that it moves freely.
With time emerged the first craftsmen dedicated to create and retrieve shoes. Have been appreciated by clients for years and years, recognized by the work and dedication to the craft, which is often considered to be art.
They say that people used to have a shoe for life. Were possessions valuable and expensive, made by the hands of one of these cobblers. People wear the shoes and then went, with the hope that he could renew the sole, to restore the brightness, and bring the shoes back to life.
Although there are still shoemakers traditional, they are few and very hard to find. The industry footwear industry became more commercial in the EIGHTEENTH century, when warehouses were used to store shoes pre-manufactured. Already at the end of the NINETEENTH century the shoe shop has gone from craft to industrialized production.
The machines left the products more affordable and the industry has experienced a “golden age”. As in many crafts, the skills were passed down from parents to children, or to young apprentices that helped him in the workshop while they learned the way of the stones. In serial production, each person will only need to know a step, and today, many of the tools and techniques of the past have disappeared, replaced by new methods of production.
But not only are the artisans shoemakers that have closed the doors. With time the shops and the entire industry footwear also. The modern shoes are less durable, and are designed to be replaced after limited use. Shoes are mass-produced for years, and are increasingly substitutable for a very low cost.
And that is still a little easier to find are small specialist shops, working with the best of the shoe store world without borders, just a small offering of the products made by the best and most traditional factories/brands in the world. The few that still survive, a little by the quality of the product and a little by the subjective value of art.
The Rolf Hansson & Sonner Skomakeri works with the products of the English Crockett & Jones factory located in the traditional region of Northampton (Uk) since 1879. They also sell the boots in the Australian R. M. Williams, famous for model, the chelsea boot made with a piece thru construction leather. The shop is small, but the walls are lined with treasures leather!
And they also take care of the selling! Who welcomed me at the counter was the brother Björn, after you meet a lady who was leaving the shoes of the husband for a ressola. He was extremely friendly, customer service very nice for a store with expensive products, where it is not uncommon to find a certain snobbery accompanying the zeros on the label.
The main difference from the service you get in a place like this is that the person actually knows what this talking about. And the most amazing thing was to see young cobblers! As the businesses seem to be going well, but they still are not those types of hatred, and so the talk about boots and shoes has been very productive. Gave to learn a lot about the functioning of the factories, the English construction of footwear, blogs, and the importance of the internet, style, and also where to line the stomach in Sweden.
The biggest surprise was when I asked about the shelf full of shoes for repair and I discovered that behind the counter was a workshop. The other brother was there, palmilhando a pair of penny loafers. In the other corner of the shop was a machine of Goodyear Welting, the soles, souls of steel, cork, rolls of leather, and a handful of tools.
Go into a shoe store with the smell of real leather, to see people bring the shoe to restore, to listen to noise of machines, and to observe the quality craftsmanship led me to a different time. A time that I did not live in, but when supposedly the attention to detail, quality, and uniqueness of the products was paramount. It was very cool to be able to know this type of shoemaker and have the chance to visit one more store as well, before they end up!