Behind The Brand
The French brand’s combination of craftsmanship and durability has made it a favourite among the global style elite
There’s an implicit message that runs through the marketing efforts of many a clothing brand: shop here, and be part of our club. You, too, can be like the models in our campaigns, the guests at our parties, the various wealthy and beautiful people who wear our products around the world. But Paris-based shoemaker J.M. Weston actually has a club. It has its own secret logo. And membership has to be earned rather than bought. The only way you can receive the official mark of initiation – a “W” that floats inside a bell-shaped outline on the soles of your J.M. Weston shoes is to have them repaired at the brand’s dedicated facility in Limoges, France. To have them repaired, you’ll have to wear them, a lot. The general consensus is that this requirement is far from onerous.
On the contrary, there’s a lot to love about J.M. Weston shoes, not least the fact that they come in a huge range of sizes (the brand’s classic moccasins alone come in seven different widths), making it easy to achieve the perfect, comfortable fit even if you don’t commission your own made-to-order pair. Once people try them, they tend to come back, according to Mr Michel Perry, the brand’s artistic director – whose interesting sidelines include a shoe brand under his own name and an enthusiasm for abstract oil painting (he studied fine art before becoming a shoe designer). In this film, MR PORTER joins Mr Perry as he gives a tour around J.M. Weston’s Paris showroom and peerless manufacturing facilities in Limoges, France. From the traditional artisanal techniques that the shoemaker has been employing since the 1890s, when it was founded by entrepreneur Mr Édouard Blanchard, to the peerless after-service offering that has become its calling card, Mr Perry explains the “whole series of things” that make the brand, as he puts it, “absolutely unique”.