Handcrafted with the finest natural and repurposed materials, you’ll be smitten by these artisan shoes.
Tucked into the mountains of Whistler, Canada is the garage studio of two nifty leathercrafters that make the most stunning shoes with their own four hands. Jules and Josh of Love Jules Leather have astutely woven the traditional craft of leather working with modern street style aesthetics to create a collection of footwear that has reached closets worldwide. High quality leathers, intricately etched anchors, roses and pistols, Pendleton blankets, perforated leathers and denim details, as well as antique brass eyelets and buckles all feature in these meticulously crafted pairs of loafers and worker style boots. Available through their Etsy shop, all Love Jules Leather shoes are custom made and shipped directly to the customer, making these kicks some of the most unique and personal pairs you can find. Cutting out the middle-men by directly interacting with the makers is another amazing advantage. We caught up with the dexterous duo to hear more about their designs, passions and love of leather.
Leena Oijala: How would you describe the Love Jules Leather design aesthetic?
Jules & Josh: All of our silhouettes are based on classic/ timeless designs, yet we like to infuse our own current style addictions, be it denim, camo, southwest inspired patterns, traditional tattoo imagery, urban sneaker-head culture, etc.
We like to say we’re design-centric, but we’re just as anal about the quality of our kicks as the aesthetics. Our concept is small-run, exclusive, high quality, custom, designed & handcrafted in-house. We pride ourselves on offering a product that will not only continue to catch eyes for a long while, but is built to last using locally sourced components.
LO: Where do you source materials from? Can they be considered sustainable?
J&J: Most of our shoe components are sourced from suppliers located within driving distance of our studio. If we have to extend our reach a little farther, due to lack of availability here on the west coast of Canada (it happens), we won’t look further than North America.
Some justify leather as a byproduct of the beef industry, as they don’t murder cows specifically for their hides. That said, the industrial leather tanning process is quite toxic; however, we believe we’re doing the best we can given current industry constraints. We source as locally as possible, and keep our waste minimal.
We also incorporate recycled components on occasion, routinely doing our rounds of local thrift shops, looking for those special leather pieces the untrained eye may not appreciate. Vintage leather jackets, suede skirts and printed designer leather luggage make for unique and creative footwear.
LO: Where and how does the manufacturing occur?
J&J: Right here in our 300 square-foot, garage studio in Whistler, B.C., Canada. Other than an industrial sewing machine, leather skiver (thinner), and wood-burning pen, we’re a completely hand-powered operation. We produce a single pair of shoes per day, if all goes according to plan. I don’t think there’s any mistaking our kicks for the ones produced by heartless robots abroad. Ours were made with blood, sweat and tears within the confines of our studio. We hope that shines through…
LO:Who are Love Jules Leather shoes meant for?
J&J: Our customers are looking for a unique pair of shoes that speak to their personal style and are built to last. If you’re looking for a pair of kicks to differentiate yourself from the Jones’, you’ve found them, as you’ll likely be the only one rockin’ a pair of Love Jules Leathers at school, in the office, on the metro, or in the discothèque.
We ship all over right now. North America excluded, we ship the lions’ share of our kicks to cool kids in Australia, Russia, France & the UK.
LO: What inspires you?
J&J: We live in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, so we can’t help but be inspired by our natural surroundings. We’re immersed in ski-bum/ surf-bum/ skate-bum culture here, so that definitely seeps in through osmosis. We watch a lot of wild-west movies, listen to a lot of rock & roll, and love to travel. We search for creative inspiration in all forms, not just fashion.
Designs aside, we’re inspired by people (young and old) taking risks, putting their necks on the line and going for it. People manifesting their dreams is inspiring as heck, regardless of what that dream is – to own and operate the best damn pie shop in town, to roast the perfect coffee bean, or to rear a happy, healthy family. Passion is contagious, and we can’t seem to get enough.
LO: How do you hope to see Love Jules Leather evolve?
J&J: Love Jules Leather is currently at a crossroads. Things have become so busy as of late that it’s been hard to keep up given our limited infrastructure. We’ll be moving into a work/live studio space in Vancouver, which we hope to equip with an arsenal of shoe crafting machinery in the not too distant future. We’d like to grow as organically as possible, being productive enough to pay the rent, feed the puppy, and afford us the time to continue to evolve the brand into something special. More collaborations would be amazing, as would employing a team of creative misfits. And if one day we’re able to handcraft cowboy boots with the best of ‘em, we’ll know we’ve made it.
Images: Darby Magill