Photograph taken at the Grenson factory in Rushden, Northamptonshire.
TIM LITTLE, GRENSON: ‘I think the character of an English shoe is in line with the character of the English people: robust and well-made, but rugged and quirky.’
‘The shoes that sell the best internationally are our quintessentially English designs, such as the wingtip brogue — George Clooney has a pair, and James Corden wears them, too. We’ve been making women’s versions of our classics since 2011.
Men like the idea of investing in something of real quality, a thing they can hold on to for a long time. This is even more important during a recession, and the long-lasting quality that comes from being made in England is enormously popular at the moment. In the past we’ve talked about moving our manufacturing away from Northampton, but if I was to move the factory to London, not a single person who makes our shoes would come, too. It’s the people who make the factory what it is; they are true craftsmen with years of experience. You can’t afford to lose them and you can’t recreate them, so we’re in Northamptonshire for good. After all, it’s the home of men’s shoemaking in the UK. When I started Tim Little in 1997 there were 12 factories within two miles of each other here; now there are ten, including Grenson’s, which I have been running since 2005, and have owned since 2010.”
See the full article here about British craftsmanship and the return of manufacturing here in the London Evening Standard.