One of the attractions of the shoe brand LOTTADESIGN. That is to enjoy semi-order shoes made by craftsmen in Kobe. How are shoes made in the first place? I headed to Kobe to meet everyone involved in shoemaking.
A pair of shoes is shaped by the hands of craftsmen
I visited Nagata, one of Japan's leading shoe-producing areas, 10 minutes by train from the center of Kobe. Nagata is home to many shoe manufacturers and factories, and craftsmen have lived here for over 60 years. Although many companies were damaged by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, they started up again, and even now, many Japanese-made women's shoes are made in the town of Nagata.
The first place I visited was a shoe factory. In a room in a retro building in the town, about 10 craftsmen were working hard to make shoes while dividing up their work. Each process, such as the cutting and sewing of the cloth and the gluing of the heels and soles, is subdivided, and it is surprising that people are involved in all of them.
500 pairs of shoes are made in the factory in a day. There was a mechanism to create good things speedily with the skill and efficiency that we have cultivated over many years. To be honest, at first, I didn't quite get it, thinking, "How do they actually make shoes?" However, when I see that each pair is made by hand, I love LOTTADESIGN.
One of LOTTADESIGN.'s partner companies is Ttre. The original brand that LOTTADESIGN. and Ttre collaborated on is loved by many customers as a standard product. So I asked Mr. Takayuki Semoto, the representative director, a little story.
The charm of Kobe shoes is the comfort and special feeling
Mr. Semoto says that his father used to make shoe components in this town for a long time. After moving to Tokyo and learning how to make shoes at a vocational school, I worked at a shoe manufacturer in Asakusa and Kobe for about 15 years before becoming independent. “Since I was little, I was surrounded by shoes, so I never wanted to be a shoemaker (laughs). I was able to
Although he is the representative director, he also stands in the factory himself and makes shoes on site. What is the appeal of Kobe shoes? When asked, "You can wear them all day without getting tired. They're soft and fluffy, so the moment you put your feet in, they're very comfortable. Our craftsmen make fine adjustments by hand, so we can make shoes that fit your feet. Especially. Ballet shoes “FIKA” from LOTTADESIGN.
“Also, Kobe shoes are cute (laughs). Now, don't you feel the excitement of wearing these shoes and going out?"
For more than 30 years, Mr. Semoto has been walking with a single shoe. What kind of future are you looking at? “At the time of the earthquake, the factory collapsed and the flames spread.It seemed like we had lost everything, but we promised our customers that we would definitely make a comeback, and worked diligently to make shoes. Although there are still issues such as competition with overseas products, on the other hand, there are many customers who say, "I wear shoes because they are made in Kobe." I would like to continue to deliver shoes from Kobe that everyone can enjoy wearing.”
Each one is carefully made by craftsmen, which means that we put a lot of love into our shoes to make them great shoes. Because it is a world where shopping is easy, the time to customize shoes that are unique to me and wait for them to arrive should bring us a special feeling that we have never had before. When I went out wearing these LOTTADESIGN. shoes, I had a feeling that every day would change into an exciting moment.
Odd story Nagata is famous for having many Korean restaurants. After the tour of the factory, the group ate cold noodles and prepared themselves.
Photo/Text: Nanao Tadachi Model: makiyo