Italian bespoke shoes by Antonio Meccariello
"MY NAME IS ANTONIO MECCARIELLO.
My family has a small history of shoemaking. In the 1950’s the small towns near Benevento were very involved in the shoemaking industy. Many households were involved in various stages of shoemaking. It was an outworker based system where various parts of shoes were made by different groups of people, and mostly in their homes. Unfortunately in the past 10 years, most of these small workshops have closed due to consolidation of the shoe industry, and the main industrial shoemaking area in Italy is now concentrated in the Marche region.
My grandfather was a bespoke shoemaker, and my parents created a small factory where they produced the uppers. They became well known for their precision work that they were soon contracted by designer brands in France and Italy to produce their shoe uppers.
After graduating high school and doing my military service, I studied leather pattern making and shoe making in the Ars Arpel school in Milan. I then apprenticed under maestro Adriano Lunati in Milan, and upon returning to my hometown I further studied under several local shoemakers. Afterwards I established my own workshop making bespoke shoes for clients in the Benevento region and Napoli."
The Meccariello's clients can choose the type of toe shape they would want, heel shape and height, and the final design of their bespoke shoes. He can offer his clients most leathers from famed tanneries such as Annonay and Du Puuy of France, Freudenberg of Germany, Ilcea of Italy. In addition, I have access to various exotic hides such as crocodile/alligator, lizard, shark, mountain ram, kudu, etc. His service consists of him making a completely personalized last based upon the client’s measurements and design inputs (such as toe shape), and then constructing a fully handwelted shoe based on the clients wants.
At the first meeting he discuss with the client what their ideas are for a shoe, and their footwear history and any problems they have. He discuss and sketch the model of the shoe that the client would like and make a selection of the type of leather they would like to use. He then proceed to take the clients’ measurements and noting any possible problem areas.
He proceed to make a last based on the measurements of the client and their desired ‘look’ such as the shape of the toe. Meccariello constructs a fitting shoe based on this last. The client visits for a fitting session with me and we discuss the fit of the shoe and I note what modifications are needed to further perfect the fit.
He modify the last based upon the fitting session with the client. Afterwards, Meccariello constructs a fully finished, fully wearable Goodyear machine welted test shoe which he send to the client to wear for a few weeks to test the fit. If the client gives me positive feedback and then I can proceed to make the final shoe. If there needs to be further modifications, Meccariello meets again with the client to see what other changes to the last is needed.
He make the final handwelted (welt to insole, and welt to sole) bespoke shoe and send it to the client.
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