Your shoes are not handmade. This is sadly the reality for most people yet so many walk around thinking and telling others that they are. The misuse of words and ideas to sell products is absolutely rampant. This became even more so when globalization occurred and allowed online brands to come out of nowhere and sell European shoes at the drop of a dime without needing to show a product in person. They could create crafty videos online that fantasized about the reality of the factory production line and thus trick the consumer into believing the product was more artisanal than it actually was.
In the US, this phenomenon is heightened by the salesmen’s commission-based structure at most department stores. That gives the salesmen the incentive to say anything to ‘make the sale’. Therefore, the salesmen of the US have habitually sold shoes on the fact that they were ‘handmade shoes.’ And due to all of this constant bombardment, we have people running around thinking that everything is handmade when it could not be further from reality.
Sadly, this is the same for the word ‘bespoke’ in the men’s suiting industry. But as this blog focuses on shoes, we will keep it shoe-related. Chances are, your shoes and not handmade, and your suits are not bespoke. Of course, some of you watching/reading will have both of those things, but the majority of people who think they do, most likely won’t. And that is okay, as long as we know the difference and do not go around peddling the misuse of words that at the end of the day is an insult to the people who actually took the time to learn the beautiful art of handmade shoemaking and bespoke suit making.
Watch my other Podcast Episodes here: The Podcast Series
—Justin FitzPatrick, The Shoe Snob