Dear Readers,

If you are reading this text, that means that you are on the old version of my blog. I have changed platforms and am now using Wordpress. You can find the updated version of my site at:

www.theshoesnobblog.com

Sincerely,

Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ed Et Al - Singaporean Shoemakers On The Rise


For a long time now, I have been hearing this name Ed Et Al, whether by chance or by blog readers writing me up to check them out. I figured that since I had more than one reader do so (which shows loyalty, and can only mean good things), I had better look them up and find out more. Now, in doing so, I discovered that they make a nice shoe for a very low price. This made me curious as it almost seemed too good to be true. Therefore, as I like to know exactly what I am representing on my blog, I decided to get a pair so that I could see what all of the hype was about and whether or not it was justified. Needless to say, the second I went on the website, I saw a model (the Amoy Quee - pictured above) that made me jealous that I did not design it!! I decided that I was going to have to have it, as it is the exact loafer that I have always wanted (style-wise). And if I wasn't starting my own shoe, I would have it commissioned in every color of leather possible!



For those that don't know, allow me to give a little bit of background info on people that make up Ed Et Al. First and foremost, there is Mr. Edwin Neo (above rocking the Amoy Quee), who is the head shoemaker, designer and founder of the brand. It was Mr. Neo, who used to work as a shoe cobbler one day realized that there were no real options in Singapore for a decent pair of goodyear welted shoes. While hammering away on some heels, he decided then to go do something about it and make a brand of his own, with skilled workers, that could create shoes that would fill the gap in Singapore. His first step, was not dissimilar to mine, in which moved to Europe (Hungary to be precise) and started to learn the art of handmade shoemaking. After his skills were proficient, he went back to Singapore and rounded up a bunch of skilled workers (many of whom had shoemaking education in Europe or Japan) in order to create his own factory and get to work on building a successful dress shoe brand based in Singapore. And this he did.....



A straight stitching on the heel is always a good sign....as many makers get this wrong and crooked!


So, why do they only cost S$280 = US$230 = £140 = €175 for a goodyear welted shoe? Well, unlike the States and the UK, wages are a bit lower in the rest of the world, and allow for a more economical cost of production, which ensures a lower retail price to the customer. Does this mean that they are inferior? NO it does not! Granted, I would not lie and say that is in my opinion they are just as good as a Carmina or Crockett & Jones (as far as all round quality - leather grade/attention to detail), as the leather grade is not quite as high, but I will say that at £140, they are DEFINITELY the best bang for your buck that I have ever come across! And it's not that Mr. Neo, is thinking that he is coming in to try and stand against the Green's, the Lobb's, the C&J's etc. More so, his philosophy is to make great shoes at a great price, using materials that will will provide comfort and durability, to be able to not only provide for his Singaporean population, but to the rest of people in the world that appreciate fine footwear. And I tell you, that he has done a good job at this, as I found the shoes to be every bit worth their retail price, and even more so, and I would rate them at a much better make when compared to the likes of the £200-£250 shoes you find here in England.




Lovely stitching!

So, not only do Ed Et Al offer a complete RTW collection, but also provide an MTO and Bespoke service to complement. Their MTO prices range from S$600 (£300/US$490), that allow the customer to "order a pair of brown balmoral boots, suedetop, pigskin lining, fiddleback soles, beveled waists, additional Vibram sole protectors, Vibram rubbertop lifts, antiqued finish on a chiseled toe last in a size 6F." Now that is what I call a great deal at £300! Bespoke prices start S$2500 which includes an initial cost of S$1000 for your last (made in correlation with Springline) and your lasted shoetrees. Subsequent pairs do not bare this cost further. Therefore, for full on bespoke, you get it for a whopping S$1500/£500/US$815. This is hard to imagine, and I will one day give it a shot, as £500 is a lot easier to justify than £2500 when you are on a relative budget! Nevertheless, the picture below, labeled bespoke, looks to me like the business and therefore even more intriguing......

So, I have finally given my two cents on up-and-coming brand Ed Et Al, and just to make it clear, HERE IS MY STAMP OF APPROVAL!!!

Exquisite butterfly MTO loafer commissioned by Stephen at Simply Refined

Bespoke model








15 comments:

  1. Pressure's on for your own launch bro! :D

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  2. Thanks a lot Justin ! I'm going to Singapore next January and will buy some pairs for sure ;)
    keep up the good job !

    Paul, Paris

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting!

    Justin, have you by any chance seen/handled shoes from Meermin Mallorca? Their Classic line is at €150 and their Linea Maestro (handwelted) is at €250. MTO at LM grade is an additional €50.

    Would be great to have your opinion on them, since there really is a shortage of deasent shoes at deasent prices. Sometime you just want a deasent quality "beater" and not the work of art.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How is the sizing Justin?
    Do you normally size down for loafers?

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  5. Roland: actually, I enquired with Meermin, and their minimum MTO price is the LM price plus E100, or E150 if there are any adjustments other than model and colour i.e. for something as simple as a wide fitting. Trees are extra. Therefore you're up to at least E410 for MTO, 550 for some other options like Norwegian stitching. That's more than Vass, so I think only their RTW range looks cheap.

    Justin, have you not mentioned this guy before? Something has taken me to this website before now. The site is much improved from last time; I think I feel an order coming on!

    ReplyDelete
  6. (Just noticed - no half sizes or width fittings. Bah!)

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  7. If it's not too much trouble could you tell us how the ordering process was? How long did it take to arrive and what the duty&shipping costs were?

    It would be very appreciated, thanks!

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  8. Benjy - HA!! The pressure has been on since I started this blog, with all the crap that I talk... :-)

    Paul - You won't be disappointed...

    Roland - I have not to be honest, but I am always contemplating one of their double monks....might see what I can do in order to get a post up on them....

    Owen B - they told me that their widths are F, of which I am closer to D, so I took a 40, where I would normally take 40.5-41....so yes, I sized down....but I only recommend this if you are a half size....if you normally take a 42 and have a E/F width, go for a 42....

    Alex B. - No, I have not mentioned them before....was waiting to get some first hand knowledge of them before I did...widths are F...perfect for you....so order on!

    Anon - Unfortunately I can't tell you much as I dealt directly with the owner and he did me a favor so that I bypassed shipping/duty.... but I can tell you that it took around 10 days to get to me....sorry I can't be of more help....

    -Justin

    Anon -

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  9. Justin,

    I first read about Ed Et Al on the blog site Style - Simply Refined. Stephen the auther described the initial process of contacting the company and later gave a review of the finished shoes he received. Interestingly he confirmed that there were no problems caused by language differences and long distant communications.

    His overall summation of the shoe quality was exactly the same as yours, so it is reasurring to know that you also have a good opinion of them.

    Best regards,
    Snapper

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  10. Justin,

    WRT Et Al price points, you gave a rather simplistic explanation why it is such a great value, and lower prices. Labor cost. It does beg the question so why than AE is selling its Independent (superb welted RTW) line for only $440 - $479. Made in the USA. Alden calf leather are still in the high $300s to high $400s.
    I believe these companies for the most part control the distribution channels. Not greedy, invest in production automation (AE for sure), pay attention to what customers can and want to pay.

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  11. Justin,

    Their "F" is medium, like most UK makers - meaning like the "E" of certain fancy makers like Edward Green, Crockett and Jones, and J Fitzpatrick. :p

    But no half sizes either is a disappointment. That means risk going up a half size, or risk less on the fit but more money, with MTO/MTM.

    Anyway, I might still have to have a pair of those double monks - I've been looking for one without a toecap; maybe worth a try.

    Ike: what's your point? AE start at $330 minumum. These guys start at $200. Both for a welted shoe, both made by skilled workers, and both in highly-developed economies. So yeah, this is cheap.

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  12. Justin, I wish you didn't post this. I can't afford a pair of these right now, and I want 3.

    The Caldecott in particular!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Snapper - Thanks for sharing Snapper. Apparently they are taking this feedback on board and are revamping their leather selections and offerings....

    Ike - A bit confused by your point here... I don't rate Allen Edmonds that much higher that Ed Et Al. Only thing that is better is the upper leather quality...and they are only that low in price in America...AE and Alden over here in Europe are +£300-£400, which equates to a whole lot more in USD, they are only cheaper out there, because everything is done in USD, cost of production, wholesale cost, retail price. There is no mark up due to import tax/currency differences etc.... Ed Et Al remains a better bang for you buck.

    Alex B - yea true, but their F is definitely wider than an Edward Green E, that's for sure!

    Adrian - Sorry my friend....but at least it's not a high price to save up for!

    -Justin

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  14. Being a native Singaporean, Ed Et Al has indeed been a breath of fresh air for shoe-quality conscious men here.

    I have 5 pairs so far. I wouldn't lie and say they are as nice as my Ed Greens or C&J's, but for the money, I'd say nothing comes close. I can buy 3 pairs of Ed Et Al's for the price of 1 pair of my C&J's. It is hard to resist.

    I recently came back from a 3-week vacation in LA. I kid you not, every time I wore my Ed Et Al double monks/brogues, at least 2 people (the record is 12 people on a shopping day) came up to me and complimented me on them. And when I told them how much they cost, they were all floored.

    The shoes are definitely durable. I wear them as "thrash around" shoes and they've been in snow, rain, gravel... and they remain unfazed and only get better looking and more comfy with each wear.

    Language problems? There better not be. English is the first language in Singapore. People may find our accent bizarre, but written communication should prove problem-free.

    Unless someone thinks my English is incomprehensible...

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