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It almost makes me sad to write this post and share the pictures that I have with you but I feel it is necessary to show what can and will happen if you try too hard to please every single customer. I was inspired to write this post the day that I saw Salvatore Ferragamo create, what in my mind, is the ultimate sin in the shoe world. Now I have seen so many ugly shoes in my time, especially when I worked on a very high-volume sales floor, that sold men’s shoes, and nothing could have prepared me for what I saw by Ferragamo that day. I almost collapsed thinking that a company, like Ferragamo, who usually makes such great shoes could go so low to appeal to one, lonely, boring, small-minded customer. Now I had seen before, atrocious shoes made by other brands who like to ‘stay on top’ of the fashion world (which you will also see in this post) but never had I thought that a company so timeless and elegant would even think to create such an idea. Sadly, I was wrong……..

 Shoes by: Ferragamo

The thing is, I love Ferragamo and that’s why I was so shocked. What’s weird about this though is the fact that the square-toe phenomenon is dead now and this came out way after it’s boom. This probably frightened me even worse because it made me think to myself, ‘Is this the direction they are heading?’ All I can do is pray there this was some sort of mistake for which they made it. What did not surprise me is that the buyers (of the establishment) bought it. And that’s why I hate them, the buyers of America who continue to think that they are going forward by buying this old, outdated crap. I can’t blame them though because in their minds, there are still customers who want this horrible look and as sad as it is, as long as customers keep purchasing this, buyers will keep buying it. If only I could just permanently end the desire to want a square-toed shoe, I would have to brainwash 1/3 of the American male population.

Top Two: Prada
Bottom Two: Gucci

It makes you wonder if companies will make shoes exclusively for certain countries just to appeal to their needs. This obviously does occur but to what scale is my question? If they happen to make a shoe that does not seem to respond well in it’s original intended point of distribution, do you think they might create some sort of recall and then send it to some 3rd world country to try it’s luck there? It wouldn’t surprise me. What did surprise me though is that I saw that horrible studded shoe by Prada (upper left) in it’s own boutique in Midtown Manhattan. I thought to myself, ‘What normal, Prada wearing man would wear this?’ I sure hope that sales were not satisfactory on that one. And Gucci!! Out of all the designers, they are my favorite and yet to think that they would make a corner-kicker sneaker that looks like those frighteningly cheap shoes that you find all over England that are trying to imitate Italian shoes. I guess Gucci is giving them headway to continue doing so, when in fact no one in Italy wears shoes like those. It just makes you wonder, will every company make crap to just appease certain people even though it’s not stuff that they would want to produce?? I could understand making this atrocious stuff, if it is what you have always been making or if it is what you like, but to switch it up like Ferragamo did, just doesn’t make sense. Don’t have integrity for so many years and then all of the sudden just stop so that you can make a few extra bucks during a recession or to appeal to a minority of people that are not your actual target market.

Shoes by: Church’s

Even a classic company like Church’s will make some very ugly stuff, like that boot on the left that looks like it belongs in some Goth shop. Who are they trying to appeal to with this boot. The average Englishman?? I don’t think so. Now Dolce & Gabbana are known for just making shoes that are outlandish and that look like they just arrived from space. But what was funny is when I found a picture of them and instead of wearing the racy stuff they usually make they are just wearing some very classic shoes. Domenico is wearing some basic black oxfords and Stefano is wearing some very elegant burgundy velour loafers, nothing like the stuff that they usually make. The point of this post: Stick to what you know and who you would really like to sell to. Don’t try and appease everyone, or your company will begin to lack in direction. Integrity is the most important thing in branding!! Don’t loose it!

3 thoughts on “When Great Companies Go Terribly Wrong!”

  1. i think those shoes are great. and i’d date the wearer of them…too much point in the toe is silly.

    and styles change, my dear…maybe the square toe is coming back & ferragamo is the leader of the pack. so there! -amy

  2. Justin, i fully dig your view on the ferragamo shoes. The square toe is one, if not THE ugliest fashion that ever came to life.

    My kind of view differs from yours regarding the fashion lable shoes, though: even if i donīt want to wear any pair, it was always creative folk working for high fashion lables that brought forward fashion on the whole. You donīt have to like it, but you gotta give them credit for their second thoughts.

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