Paul Parkman has been refining its brand in terms of style and looks in 2020. I remember when they first contacted me about their brand, around 6 years ago, and to be honest, I was not big on them at the time, although I always liked the founder as a kind and humble person. Even though they weren’t for me, I stayed watching the brand and the new models they released. Like any smart brand looking to stay in business, you have to update with the times, always look to improve or be the trendsetter. I could see they paid attention to the industry and slowly but surely refined their making and models. In the beginning, they were super Italian style but on steroids, much like the brands, we find at department stores that you have never heard of. Now, things have changed. It is clear that they take inspiration from the Welted industry but always adding their personal style and twists to the models. And some of them are quite impressive, not least in terms of style but mainly in terms of boldness.
It would appear that they found an iconic model this A/W and that is this Norwegian derby in bi-color options (above) that would appear to be a tremendous success for them. It certainly offers something that you won’t find elsewhere in the industry, and for that love colors and two tones, this is the ultimate option for you especially as they take it to the next level with the ability to have different thread colors in the Norwegian braiding. It’s not often you find something so bold and daring. It actually makes me think of a refined Jeffrey West style, bordering between the extreme and the classic to make a super bold dress shoe. Personally they are all too bold for me in my present state of age and being. Ten years ago I would have rocked them to the wheels fell off, but that was another time, another me. But because that me helped shaped who I am today, I do appreciate them for what they represent. And that is the lack of fear to be different.
In recent releases, I see a bit of a turn to shoes more ‘classic’ in nature. The black oxford below is the most conservative shoe I have ever seen Paul Parkman make. And yet I ask myself, ‘but should they go this route or stick to what they are best at?’ And my answer is always to stick to what you are best at as I believe your passion really shines when it comes from the heart as opposed to what others want from you. But I do like the shoes that they fuse between dressy and bold, like these one-cut mid boots in the various burnished patina colors on offer. I like the tri-colored boots on the design that Saint Crispins popularized but has started to get made by other brands. I am not crazy about the combos they did, but the boot itself is cool.
And so Paul Parkman redefines themselves, reinvents their ideas, and enter put their foot into the door of the classic. The question is, will they keep down that route or continue to push the envelope?