During the last Pitti Uomo, back in July of 2014, I came across the Edward Green fixture and saw what looked to be like new concepts, lasts, company directions etc. I took a few pictures but never released them until this post, as I did not feel that what I took was complete and needed more to go with it. Shortly after Pitti, I noticed that Edward Green’s shop on Jermyn St. had been closed for a refurbishment and was curious to see how it was going to change. Upon reopening, I contacted them and asked to be able to come to the new shop in order to take some photos of it and to talk about the future direction of EG. After doing so, I finally had enough material to create a proper post and can now share it all with you all.
Edward Green has had a rich and prosperous history. Having built a reputation as one of the finest shoemakers in the world, throughout their time they have done everything they can to ensure that this prestigious reputation stays intact. In doing so, they have kept their quality high, the quality control tight and have even produced one of the finest last and pattern makers alive today, Mr. Tony Gaziano. What they had also done, which is less favorable in my eyes, is kept the idea of their image as purely a classic shoe company and nothing outside of that. Some would praise it, but others might find it incredibly rigid.
Now, this might be misconstrued so allow me to clarify. I love their shapes and patterns and all of that, but I have heard stories about EG rejecting the idea of making MTO’s based on the fact that the customer wanted a contrasting 2-tone shoe. This is where I start to disagree with things. I would never dream of telling another company how to run their business, but I do find it extremely limiting not only to the customer but to the public the fact that in the past they would reject a shoe being made, as it did not fall under “what we do here.” How cool would it be to see something crazy and fun from EG? I would love to see it! Imagine a nice two toned oxford (like the one in the top picture) but with possibly burgundy leather and grey suede? Wouldn’t you like to see that? So while I did not get clarification as to whether or not this would still be as such in the future, I can only hope that with the way I see things going at EG, these rules become less rigid.
But I guess everything happens in baby steps, because from what I have seen, Edward Green seems to be getting slightly less conservative as the seasons go on, from the injection of blue and grey leathers to the nice mix of bi-material shoes and boots (although not strong in contrast, ever). It would appear that they are slightly getting there. Who would have thought 30 years ago that one of the most conservatively British shoemakers would be making blue oxford boots in a bi-material make up? Probably not many, but as you can see from the pictures, not only did they do blue but they also did grey! And it just so happened that navy leather was a big part of this A/W’s collection. I was quite pleased to see that, especially the hatch grain Galway in navy. That was make-up simply sublime!
So part of EG’s new direction is the idea of modernism (from what I have gathered). They fixed up the shop, made it bigger and a bit more modern, not overly so, but slightly so. They centralized ideas, for example, the new leathers that they are using (from France), of which they made not only in shoes but also the couches that you see in the shops, amongst other fixtures too. Things seem to be a bit more in harmony with each other and quite well thought out. It would appear that they are not simply living off of their built-up reputation but putting ideas in place to maintain their stronghold and thus ensure that while the world moves on and the shoe industry progresses, they stay at the forefront.
Another aspect of the new EG was an update to their chisel last, from the 888 to the new 890. From what they claim, they were trying to make something a bit “more English” and befitting to the idea of the Edward Green look. For me, it simply looks a bit sharper, but maybe that is because I have never really personally owned the 888 so have no real relationship with the fit, shape etc. Either way, I am sure that it will do well as EG has one of the greatest cult following there is, of whom love what they do no matter what it may be. All that I can say is that while an updated last does not excite me in the slightest, what does is the fact that the new EG is incorporating the slow injection of more colors and bi-material shoes. Now let’s just see if those strong contrasting shoes ever get released!!