RARE SKILLS

Penelope Chilvers passionately supports dying crafts, rare skills and traditional methods for manufacturing in the 21st century.

Below we explore the various elements that make the brand what it is today.

The majority of Penelope Chilvers core styles are made of 100% Spanish vegetable leather. These skins are manufactured with plant extracts from Quebracho and Mimosa and finished with natural oils applied by hand to each individual skin. This gives the leather a distinctive textural appearance and a suppleness that is quite different to a machine finished leather. These leathers are traditionally used for equestrian leather goods such as bridles and saddles. Vegetable dyed leathers have obtained the OEKO-TEX standard 100, which guarantees that they are free from metal or harmful substances when put in contact with human skin.

Made in Spain

THE ART OF TROCOLAGE

A ‘trocel’ is a metal leather cutter shaped into repeated designs similar to a pastry cutter. It’s a beautiful hand held device that we use for creating intricate leather cut out work in the collections. The modern equivalent is a laser cutting machine but an educated eye can tell the difference. The laser cutter burns the edges and leaves them thinner and less crisp than the traditional metal trocel.

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GOODYEAR WELTED SOLES

The Goodyear welted construction was introduced by Charles Goodyear in 1869 when he devised the original hand sewn method. It remains the traditional method of construction for the manufacture of men’s dress shoes to this day and is associated with some of this country’s leading footwear brands; John Lobb, Grenson and Loake Shoes to name a few. The welt is a strip of leather that is stitched to the upper and insole of a shoe, as an anchor point for the sole. As well as using a welt, a twelve strand thick thread is used to hold the materials firmly together. The very nature of this construction means that Goodyear welted footwear take far longer to manufacture than cheaper alternatives.

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Modern, faster and cheaper techniques often imitate the look of the Goodyear technique with pre-fabricated parts and the use of glue to bond the upper to the heel. The benefit of Goodyear welted footwear is that the system allows for a constant flow of air through the shoe, which keeps the shoes ventilated, durable and strong. Goodyear welted footwear moulds beautifully to the shape of the foot and gives a great flexibility. They can be resoled again and again and can last a lifetime if cared for correctly.

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