It has been a tough few weeks for the shoe industry with the loss of some of the great shoe legends that helped to shape what it is today. Within a matter of 2 weeks Enzo Bonafe, Javier Sendra, and Stephane Jimenez all sadly passed away. Some might find this unexpected but the reality is that many of them were facing health issues for a while and sadly their time had come to find a new place of peace. Some of you might not know who these gentlemen were, so allow me to share a little bit on each
While I never had the chance to meet Mr. Bonafe in person, of course, his legacy was well-known as one of Italy’s best manufacturers. I have always respected the Enzo Bonafe brand and have had a few discussions with his son, Massimo. He was 88 years old and lived a good life making great shoes and paving the way for Italian manufacturing to the welted community. His legacy will live on through his children and one can only hope that the Bonafe name will continue to thrive in our industry.
Javier, or Javi to his friends, was a friend of mine and the owner of Sendra boots. Javi helped to give me my start in this industry and for that, I will be forever grateful to him. He took me in and treated me as a friend with respect I always enjoyed my time spent with him discussing the world of shoes and the future of both of our companies. Javi will be missed dearly and we can only hope that his great name and legacy will be carried with as much pride as he had for his brand and what his family achieved with their +100 years in manufacturing.
Stephane was one of the best bespoke shoemakers this world has ever seen and he is also one of the greats that has come from the workshop of Stefano Bemer. I had the pleasure of meeting him over a few beers in London many years ago and Stephane was a kind soul full of creativity. It is funny as I can appreciate his design, just as I can Norman Vilalta’s, and my own, and see our inspiration from the late Stefano Bemer who we all had the pleasure of spending time. Stephane, like others, was far too young to see this stage of life but hopefully, he is in peace and can inspire aspiring shoemakers to make shoes as magical as his were.
It is always sad to lose great shoe legends but am always grateful when I was able to at least meet them and be able to have some of their magic rubbed off on me. May they all be in peace and my condolences go out to all of their families.