SCANDINAVIAN CONSCIOUSNESS AND ITALIAN CRAFTMANSHIP
Amends expertise lies in the hands of the people who take special care to craft each shoe to perfection. The art of shoe making has been passed down through generations. Italian manufacturing of exquisite leather goods is legendary; the craftsmanship and quality are unmatched.
The production of a pair of Amend shoes begins its journey in a small village hidden in the hills of Marche, a region proud of its artisanal culture and shoemaking history. There is even a shoe museum here, housing the shoes of no less than three popes.
It is here that our shoemaker, Ennio, builds Amend shoes with a team of artisans whose every touch and feel can be felt with every step taken in an Amend shoe. “We never forget that the customer has to wear the shoes,” says Ennio, who is the owner of the small factory.
Ennio is a Vespa enthusiast, a former professional boxer now judging in amateur fights, and a craftsman who began as an apprentice to a shoe artisan over three decades ago: “I put all the knowledge and techniques I have learnt over the years in the shoes I make, improving and perfecting with great passion and dedication,” he says.
THE PRODUCTION PROCESS – FROM THE STOCKHOLM STUDIO TO THE FACTORY IN MARCHE
The process begins with the Swedish design team in Stockholm and ends in the hills of Marche, Italy. It is a collaborative process between the studio and the factory – where the end goal is to create the best possible shoes. Shoes that everyone is proud of.
1. DEVELOPING IN STOCKHOLM STUDIO: DESIGNING, SOURCING AND TESTING
Ideas for designs are created by Tina and Nicole in the Stockholm studio. Sketches are then reviewed by their team of expert artisans from a technical perspective. Construction and comfort are core to Amend shoes and always in harmony with the aesthetical choices.
When the design is complete the sourcing for raw materials starts involves visits to a number of manufacturers in the region. Being on the look-out for the perfect sole, buttery leather or shade of color to complete the design often ignites new ideas. And for designers Tina and Nicole, sourcing is one of their favorite sources for inspiration.
The last step before a new style is cleared for production is the testing phase, which is all about securing the quality. All developed styles are thoroughly wear tested and if any part of the shoe is found not to meet the high standards of Amend, it will be corrected accordingly.
2. PRODUCTION IN MARCHE: CUTTING, STITCHING, LASTING AND FINISHING
There are four parts to the production process and each step is handled by someone with many years of experience who has practiced just that part of the process to perfection.
After receiving the material, Ennio personally checks the leather and then passes it onto the person responsible for cutting. Each piece of the paper pattern needs to be cut in the right spot, taking into consideration the natural defect of the leather and consistency of the fiber. Special attention is given to consumption in terms of minimizing waste.
Next, the person responsible for stitching will skive the edge, add backing if needed and prepare all components (tread, buckle, elastic and so on) and begin stitching and the leather pieces begin to take the shape of the upper.
Once the upper is ready it gets prepared for assembly. The lasting process begins with the upper being wrapped onto the last, closed and fixed all over the bottom. After lasting, the shoes go through an oven. Once the sole and heel are attached the shoes move to finishing.
During finishing, the in-sock is inserted and the cleaning and ironing process begins. Extra glue or stain marks are removed and the iron smooths out any wrinkles. Then cream or spry (depending if it’s leather or suede) is applied to the shoes. For full grain leather, the shoes will go through a cotton/wool brush to make the upper brilliant.
When all done, the shoes are carefully checked and placed in packaging to be shipped.