I first knew of Church’s 4 years ago when I was traveling in Japan and bought a pair of Farthingston brogue (picture above shows a pair from the current season) in a small multi-label store in Tokyo. I had never seen a pair of brogues with such colorful combination and immediately fell in love with it. 4 years later, it is still one of my favorite pair and I wear it regularly.
Not knowing the brand well at first, I later found out that my beautiful and very well-made Church’s is in fact a renowned brand founded in 1873 by Thomas Church and his three sons Alfred, William and Thomas Jr. in Northampton, not far from London, in a county which has been the center of a flourishing leather and footwear industry since the Middle Ages. The brand won numerous awards in its history including a Gold Medal at the 1884 Crystal Palace Exhibition for one of it’s earliest style, the Adaptable which pioneered the trend of shoes in left and rights – most shoes at the time were still sold as straights – identical pairs without lefts or rights.
Known for its high-quality footwear, Church’s both locally and for the most demanding shoe shops in London and throughout Great Britain. Church’s soon began exporting outside Europe to new markets such as the United States, Canada and South America. The visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1965, together with the prestigious Queen’s Award for exports, put the official seal of recognition on Church’s over centennial tradition and status as a leading international brand.
Every pair of Church’s shoes are manufactured in Northampton and takes up to eight weeks to produce – hand-made by specialized craftsmen with “Good Year Welted” construction. Instead of being stitched directly together, the sole and the upper are firstly stitched on to a “welt”, a strip of hand-cut leather, which is then in turn stitched on to the bottom of the shoes in the early stages of manufacture. This construction means that the sole can be easily detached from the bottom of the shoe in case of a repair and be resoled for a second life.
Church’s in fact continues to provide the traditional full refurbishment service using the same top quality materials and the same care as in the original manufacturing process. This service considerably extends the life of each Church’s pair of shoes: with proper care Church’s shoes will last a lifetime!
Below is a selection of Church’s shoes from its Spring Summer 2012 Collection and I love that for a tradition shoe maker, the brand is not afraid of introducing a wide variety of design and trendy colors.