It has been a challenging year for many producers around the world, with much uncertainty bringing factory shutdowns and production to a grinding hault. So every time we are able to release something special, made by people who love their craft, I am overwhelmed by gratitude and joy. There's no exception for the new W'menswear x Yuketen "Tropical Jungle Blutchers" which have made it to market against all odds! Woohoo! The world is good!
They're made from flesh-out leather tanned in the U.S.A. Yuketen’s 'flesh-out' leather is not suede. They retain the grain side of the leather, providing a thickness, strength, and longevity which is not found with the latter material. The Yuketen signature baseball stitch overcast and elegant silhouette contributes a touch of modernism to this moccasin silhouette.
Each shoe is hand-stitched in Yuketen’s Maine factory using a three-dimensional pattern. To closely mirror the incongruence of the human foot and deliver a molded fit, seven asymmetrical pieces of leather are hand-punched and hand-sewn with awl, needle, and thread on Yuketen’s proprietary last. The result is that the 'blucher' pieces (separate leather pieces sewn to the vamp for lacing) are asymmetrical, and contour more accurately to the wearer's foot during lacing. The base of the vamp has been cinched to further ensure an integumentary fit.
Inspiration for the shoe came from our AW20 research on the secret war in Laos that ended in 1975. The Hmong, an ethnic minority group who served as proxy fighters for the CIA during the war, were central focus in our research - not only because of their breathtakingly beautiful textiles and embroidery work, but because their story continues to be drowned out by noise from the West. If you are interested in reading more about this subject, please head to the W'menswear section of the blog.
This week we did a photoshoot to celebrate the Jungle Blutchers in my favourite place to hang, a wet market. Markets are to me, a temple of goodness. They're where you see produce from all around the country make the most incredible sensory palette. Ingredients like seasonal forest vegetables, for example, tell us so much about the history of a food culture. To me, seasonal produce is what makes cooking and eating a sacred space, where I can act out daily rituals that are so old it hurts my heart to think about.
Shot by Prompong Ruangjui @pong_photographer in Sam Yan market, Bangkok.