The Crockett & Jones A/W 2020 collection is impressive, to say the least. It’s vast with an option for everyone and some pretty tasty new models, in particular the new strap boot, the Aldershot. So let us take a look at a collection that became very different from what they thought it would be prior to the world change, but had to take a turn into a new direction with all that is going on and how it has altered the way people live, work and think.
The Rise of Business Comfort in Dress Shoes
This year has been an interesting one, to say the least. Challenging in many ways. Life-altering for most. This has led people to change their perspective in many aspects, not least of which is in their attire. Crockett & Jones recognized this early on with the lockdown’s and saw that the idea of dress shoes, in the conservative notion of them (sleek with leather soles), was rapidly changing due to the current climate of societal structure. Much of the world adopted the ‘work-at-home’ method and that, for many, meant staying in your sweat pants. For the people that wanted to keep up their sartorial interests and actually put on their smart attire (that they spent a lot of money on), even with this idea in mind, that most certainly changed as well. Wearing a suit became wearing chinos and a button-down oxford shirt. The smart-casual look became jeans and a t-shirt. Dress shoes, became rubber-soled boots and or leather sneakers. Every idea of dressing up has downgraded in how ‘dressy it is.’ The need for the dress single sole leather oxford took a huge back seat to the ‘desire’ for dress shoes but that are more ‘practical’ for every scenario use. Welcome to the C&J A/W2020 Collection.
C&J calls these ‘Vibram Cleated’ but a lot of the world calls these ‘Commando Soles,’ most likely from their common use in military-style boots. C&J’s new collection has 6 models (of 18, that’s 33%) with this commando-style sole on them. And recently I have become a huge advocate myself of this sole after getting a pair of boots with a commando sole on it. It’s comfortable, durable and practical for Winter wear, in all terrains whether it is the urban jungle (large cities with lots of pavement) or the picturesque countryside. Now, I imagine that C& J took into account that of all of the business-oriented people in London that work there, many of them actually commute from the quaint and small countryside towns that surround the outer limits of London. Being that England can be an often wet and rough weather environment, the black calf single leather sole oxford really has no place outside of the city and/or office. Surely, the countryside gent is not putting those on when staying in his town. But maybe he/she wants to stay smart looking. So what is the solution? Dress shoes with commando soles are. And there you have it!
Brown Grain Leather
I love their mid to dark brown grain leather offering they have on 4 of their models. Most have this misconception that grain leather is hard and stiff and cannot be dressy when on the contrary, nothing could be further from the truth. Outside of Scotch grain, most grained leathers are actually extremely soft, flexible and take a nice shine. And because their print is not so pronounced, their look is subtle and therefore allows for dressing up. While the offering in this collection is more catered to a smart casual look, I still love to see this shade of grain leather incorporated heavily into a collection and hopefully on the feet of people.
The Strap Boot
I had this feeling at the beginning of the year that strap boots were going to be the next big thing. All of these Japanese bespoke shoemakers kept making them and I knew that it was only a short amount of time before the factories got on board and released their own version of one. And lo and behold, Crockett helped my predictions come to fruition and introduced a very cool version of their own, called the Aldershot. Their strap is thin and therefore dressy and inconspicuous which I am sure many will appreciate. I can imagine this getting a lot of attention and purchases as the boot incorporates elegant ruggedness with a whole lot of practicality. Mark my words!
Crockett and Jones never cease to impress and create countless classics that help lead and shape the footwear industry. It is good to see that in a year as tumultuous as this one that they continue to strive for excellence and pioneer new trends and ideas.