There are some people who are not too happy with the new direction of John Lobb’s design and ethos. Putting myself in the mind of the customer, I can kind of understand. Putting myself in the mind of a business owner, I don’t really get it. What surprises me most is that John Lobb (Paris, RTW) has always been owned by Hermes and although made in England, is in reality a French-designer run company. That being (in my mind) people could never expect them to stay 100% classic (forever). It’s simply not the way the French do things. They roll with the times and do what it takes to keep the business alive and reaching new markets (as any business should do really).
If the quality of the shoes went down and the prices went up (like some other French owned brands), then that is another story, but just because John Lobb is doing canvas shoes and plimsole sneakers (no different than the sneakers that they have been doing for years) doesn’t mean that they have forgotten their sense of classicism. Just means that they are branching out to not fall behind. In the last 5 years, the competition in the classic shoe sector has grown so fiercely with the rise of G&G, Saint Crispins, Bestetti, Bonafe and the popularity of the internet, so much so that if John Lobb did not start doing new things, Hermes would have probably started to see a significant decline in profits.
That being, I don’t mind (in fact I encourage) seeing John Lobb try new things, like these lovely canvas oxfords. This is course providing they never lower their quality and don’t forget about the shoes that made them who they are today …. as always, only time will tell!