Iconic American footwear brand, Red Wing first started making work shoes in 1905. Their factory was based in the town of Red Wing on the shores of the Mississippi River. In 2011, the shoes are still brought to us from the deep American South, by a team of craftsmen and women hand making shoes in the same Minnesota factory.
For all of you who we know like your fashion to be handmade, Red Wing are one of the only work wear brands still using all the traditional processes in the manufacture of their shoes. The factory uses the best old Italian machines, some of which were patented in 1893. The brand also has its own traditional tannery, which means Red Wing can control the entire production process. The thick leather is coloured, dyed, oiled and waxed, before being cut, shaped and stitched.
The result of the old school production process is a range of amazing, sturdy, handcrafted boots and shoes, in work and lifestyle ranges. Red Wing have become iconic on both the European and Japanese fashion scenes. And in response to that, tradition will meet digital with the launch of the new Red Wing Shoes Amsterdam online store. The store will feature the most comprehensive selection of Red Wing shoes around. To compliment the shoes, the store will also carry a curated selection of accessories, books, and workwear-inspired clothing by brands like Nigel Cabourn, Duluth Pack, Heritage Leather Company, Woolrich, Burlington, Tanner Goods and Merz B. Schwanen.
To celebrate, the Amsterdam team visited the Mississippi factory and tannery, and the result is a wonderful series of photos of the production process. It looks like a timewarp that could only happen in the Southern US. You can almost smell the leather and hear the whir of the needles.
If you’d like to appreciate the skills of the craftspeople, take a look at the Red Wing collections at http://redwingamsterdam.com.