Browsing through Tumblr and Instagram I came across wonderfully plain leather sneakers and was always wondering which brand they were from. I used to describe them to a friend of mine as “ice cream sneakers”. We already had these from the Billionaire Boys Club sub-label but the plain brown natural leather constructions from Hender Scheme deserve the description even more.
The Japanese company is based in Tokyo, producing handmade luxury leather goods. Without any branding or loud logos, it’s exactly the type of style I like. A little like A.P.C.’s understatement. Hender Scheme makes full real leather replicas of your favorite sneakers, elegant shoes for the urban businessman and nice-looking leather goods in general.
The brand explicitly marking their shoes as unisex and encourages the wearer to give them an either masculine or feminine look. Nice approach. Their entire gear is handmade in Japan from premium undyed leather and is meant to age with its owner. All this has its price and a pair of shoes usually goes for about 1000$ overseas.
Japan always had a weakness for luxury products and artisans. Even today it’s still one of the most important markets for high-end fashion and accessories brands. I recently read that at one point over 80% of Japanese schoolgirls had a Louis Vuitton wallet. The number sounds a little dubious but it’s just to stress the fact that Japanese people always valued luxury goods in any form.
Most sneaker brands only offer mass-produced goods that are available in high quantities. Sure there are still lots of collectible sneakers out there which go for a premium but the product itself still isn’t something special. Raf Simons and Yohji Yamamoto are famous for designing sneakers for Adidas but the results are always a little lackluster under my eyes. You pay the premium but the product you get is still just another factory item.
Visvim became one of the most recognizable names in the premium sneaker game honoring the philosophy of the Japanese brand to be made of the best materials from highly skilled workers. Their not so recent shift to mainly being made in Chinese factories was justified by the brand due to the fact that they couldn’t find workers in Japan anymore who had the skill to make their shoes the right way. Which actually gives you the feeling that they really care about their products being top-notch.
Made in China doesn’t equal bad quality. Not at all. Like Japan, in the 70s and early 80s they once mainly pushed cheaply made products on the market but are nowadays outsourcing a lot of their production steps to surrounding countries like Vietnam or Thailand. A lot like what most countries did with China. Many quality products are being made in China but there is still something appealing about a brand that is producing everything in his home country. It may be just nostalgia but I miss the aura of Japanese brands made entirely in Japan.
Some people claim that there was a drop in quality for Visvim’s products that are now being made in China and there definitely was a huge drop in quality with Bape (which is owed to a lot more than just a change in the location of production).
Hender Scheme is a company that tries to make things right in the luxury streetwear scene. Their fabrics are excellent the goods are all handmade in Japan and everything they produce is intended to age. What within our throw-away society is definitely not common anymore. I don’t own any of their shoes yet but will definitely save up for a pair so that I can get one on my next visit to Japan.
I’m into fashion, into books and games. I like physical things but I always try not to buy too much stuff I don’t really need. I sell a lot as well even more so lately. What fascinates me is the idea of owning just a few essential things. Each of high quality. Like the cardigan, my grandfather got 70 years ago, was worn nearly daily for years and still looks fantastic and feels even better. Maybe Hender Scheme is making the shoes for my essential fit.
If you want to order Hender Scheme directly from Japan visit my guide on how to order clothing from Japan!
Pictures via Barneys & HenderScheme
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