Shoegazing Visits Gaziano&Girling


October 24, 2013 by Ville Raivio

Shoegazing, a fine Swedish blog on the finer topic of the finest footwear, visited the house of G&G on their last day at the old factory. The combination of bespoke shoe features with factory-shoe ones has paid off, and the G&G team of around 15 shoe masters are just about to move to loftier, wider spaces in Kettering. The following full-length article offers plenty of exciting photos though the text is in Swedish. This obstacle is handily met with Google’s software, which is frighteningly effective in translations from Swedish to English. Only the folks at Google know what they’ll come up next. Perhaps soon we are bound to welcome our new robot overlords.


  1. Yes I know, they do earn way too little. Problem is also that it do cause problems regarding quality as well, since many of the makers always try to push it to make as many shoes as possible (since they get paid for number of pairs) they often try to cut as many corners as possible, and usually just do exactly as much as needed and nothing more.

    Regarding the shitty payment to the brittish freelancers, it’s even worse in Japan. Since many of the bespoke-makers there put way too much effort in to each shoe, spending over 100 working hours on one pair in many cases, they do get real bad wages out of it. I know that some of them who do have a pretty big name still can make as little as 8-9 euros per hour, if you divide it into wage for one person.

  2. Ville Raivio says:

    Tjäna, Jesper!

    Thank you for chiming in. Do keep the quality up and I’m sure to feature you later on this year.

    One British cordwainer I interviewed for Keikari told me that all clickers, last makers, upper makers, so on, are paid less than supermarket cashiers. With five years’ minimum unpaid training, the equation is a nasty one and doesn’t make it pleasant for the shoemaker to stick to his last. The job really is a calling, with only the business or factory owners making it big.

  3. Thanks for this feature Ville!

    And thanks Brian for the nice words about the article. No problem if you want to comment in English on it in the future, just nice when this happens and international readers show their faces as well.

    Regarding the work space discussion, I do agree that it often look pretty bad. At least here in Europe, but I’ve seen many of the Japanese bespoke makers work benches and they are often very neat and tidy with everything in the right place. And they do in most cases earn very little money, often not even close to all the freelancers in London who still are paid way too little.

  4. Ville Raivio says:

    Heya, Brian.

    It’s an odd thing, really, how makers of beautiful objects so often make do with ugly spaces. Waxes, oils and dyes do make a mess and convenience must be the main cause, but surely any master of shoes could afford paint, just to make the walls interesting. Ask any European cordwainer, not owner but a maker, about their pay and you’ll be surprised. Perhaps the gentle craft wants to remain a humble craft, too, just like it has been for a few thousand years.

  5. Brian Small says:

    Great Post. What I find interesting over and above the manufacturing process itself is how ugly the work spaces are: lots of bare concrete and nasty florescent lighting with no windows. This seems to be the norm for these kinds of companies. I can’t help but wonder if they’re products could be even better with some interior design improvements. And it doesn’t look like their new space is going to be much of an improvement in this regard.

    As an aside Google’s translate technology did a great job but I’m commenting here because I’m not sure about the etiquette around comment in English on a non-English blog.

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