I apologize for the extended absence. The blog has had to continue to take a back seat lately. I have spent the last week and a half traveling, most of the time was spent down in Mexico at the Jay Butler shoe and leather goods factories. Sadly, there was not much time for blogging. Which brings me to something I have been meaning to mention for a while. If any of you are interested in writing for The Fine Young Gentleman, please send me an email at Justin@TheFineYoungGentleman.com. I am exploring options to augment my writing (and perhaps even check it for grammar).
But back to more relevant matters. Given the overwhelmingly positive responses I’ve received from many of you over the past month or so since I announced Jay Butler I figure I should share some thoughts and photos from my most recent trip. And of course keep you guys in the loop with the most recent updates, which I’ll get to in a bit.
As some of you no doubt know, the shoe development process starts with the last. The last determines the shape of the shoes, the fit, heel height, toe shape and just about every other aspect of the 3d shape of the shoes. It is the pattern that gives the shoe its style; wing tip, loafer, derby etc. You cannot have a good looking shoe without a good looking last. But you can have a horrible looking shoe on a great looking last. So naturally, considerable time has been spent developing a number of lasts for Jay Butler’s shoes. Below you will see a last maker refining one of Jay Butler’s lasts. This last will be used for a few styles that are in the works. But as a hint: think slippers.
Once the last shape and patterns have been settled on, the shoes can go into production. Below you will see a highly abridged version of the production process. Uppers are cut (many pieces by hand, as our factory likes to do some things the old school way) and sewn together, hand sewn on the last and then the soles are stitched to the upper (the leather soled shoes are of a Blake stitched construction). Following construction, the shoes go through a quality check (you will see yours truly working the line) before being boxed up and shipped out.
Once all of the shoes have been boxed they are shipped from the factory to the Jay Butler warehouse in Pennsylvania. From where they will be shipped to customers across the country and hopefully the globe.
If all goes as planned, pre-orders will begin in the next few days and the first orders will ship out the week of Thanksgiving. Looking further forward, I am also working on developing a collection of belts to go with the shoes; they should deliver sometime in January and will be priced around $55.
There will be four styles of shoes; three of which will be leather soled and one rubber soled. For the leather soled shoes there will be a tie loafer and a penny loafer in sizes 4-14. And a bit loafer in sizes 7-14. The shoes will be available in black, brown and caramel full grain leather as well as brown and navy blue suede. Unfortunately, no shoes will be available in alligator leather, which you will see the penny loafer made up in. However, I do plan to do something in gator down the line. The rubber soled shoe will be a more practical take on the classic Italian driving loafer. The driving loafer will be available sizes 4-14 in brown and navy blue suede and sizes 4-7.5 in purple and royal blue suede. The tie loafers, penny loafers and driving loafers will be offered for $145 and the bit loafers for $175, which includes shipping and returns. The driving idea behind the shoe collection is to provide wearers with a well styled, well made and well priced shoe that can be worn with equal ease in the office, the club room and the bar room.
You may ask why is Jay Butler making shoes in a size 4. For which there are two answers; first, I would like younger guys and boys (like my nephews) to be able to wear the shoes I have designed. Second, I wanted my mom to be able to wear the shoes that I have designed, a men’s 4 is roughly a women’s 5.5/6. Additionally, I have had many of my friends from the fairer sex say that they would wear the shoes if they were made in a size for them. Who am I to say no…
On a more personal note, I would like to thank all of you who have commented and emailed me in support of Jay Butler. I am both humbled appreciative. If any of you have any questions or comments about Jay Butler please feel free to sound off in the comments or email me at Justin@TheFineYoungGentleman.com or Help@JayButler.com. Thank you again for reading and for your support.