[SPECIAL RELEASE] ENGINEERED GARMENTS X SEBAGO - RELEASING SATURDAY, APRIL 17
SEBAGO, the long time New England shoemaker established in 1946, and our own ENGINEERED GARMENTS, come together for a collaborative product. As the worldwide simultaneous release on April 17th (Sat) edges closer, we interviewed Daiki Suzuki to learn more about his thoughts behind the design. Here, Suzuki discloses the events leading to the collaboration and its creational background.
When people hear SEBAGO, they may recall the boat shoes, manufactured the same way for over 40 years since 1970, or perhaps the hand sewn penny loafers that have been sold since their establishment. What were your impressions of SEBAGO?
They are one of the American shoemakers that I’ve been familiar with since the late 1970s. Their hand-sewn moccasins and beefroll loafers come to mind first. In regards to American shoes, brands like JOHNSTON & MURPHY had more of a dressy image, while SEBAGO was casual and sporty. Since they undertook the production for various boat shoes manufacturers in the past, I had a strong association with yacht and marine sports as well.
The course of events leading up to this collaboration - what were they like?
There happened to be an early supporter of ENGINEERED GARMENTS on the SEBAGO team. That was the cue for this project.
SEBAGO is a long time shoemaker, established in America, but an Italian corporate group administers them now. Cases like that aren’t rare at all in this day and age, and having pursued American products for a long time myself, I have seen many “Made in USA” brands disappear. Having experienced such circumstances, and envisioning the way of American brands will exist in the future, I thought perhaps this project could be the beginning of something new.
An American shoemaker revived by an Italian company, and a Japanese creator taking charge of the design. By being in the position to introduce American products to the Japanese market, I have looked, worn, and touched many things throughout my long experience. And because of that I may be able to create the “American style” of the future. It might be the new standard for any American brand that launches globally. I felt such possibilities with this collaboration and that was a huge reason for it happening.
Those who are fascinated by the good old spirit that lives in American products, like myself, and the younger generation that can understand and share the same excitement, could reshape the American style to our current time. I think efforts like that will become increasingly important from now on. Entrusting our beliefs and hopes, and entrust the American style we have admired to the future. Gone are the times when we would simply describe something as “American made or not”, as if that was the only way to explain its value. Times are rather evolving. I’ve never imagined circumstances like this, but with the flow of time, I’m starting to think that this right here might be what we really wanted to do.
Regarding the collaboration model this time, tell us the concept of each design.
In regards to tackling the design, I wanted to go a step further and do something more than just a material or color change approach to an existing model. As for the base to lay out my ideas on, I looked through their wide range of models - loafers, boat shoes, chukkas, boots - and came to a conclusion that I wanted the most basic model for the base. When I think “basic” , it’s a Blucher moccasin. With my personal favorite style of moccasins as the base, I added my own adjustments so the finish would be distinctively different from traditional SEBAGO.
By scraping off the designs, it looks more simple and stylish. It’s a more slick, sophisticated cool image of the Blucher moccasins. From casual to dressy, I think it can accommodate a wide range of styles.
The Blucher moccasin but with mountain boots details incorporated into it. I was imagining the 70s European mountain boots. The hook eyelets here are a good accent to the design, giving it a mode feel as well.
For this model, I added zippers typically used for long lace up boots. This zipper component is originally made to facilitate the boots wearing process, so I don’t think there’s any use for it in this low-cut model. But disregarding the functionality, I adopted the component into the design for its unique shape.
Actually, these three models are carefully chosen from a larger batch of samples that I created, so I really like the design of all three. The materials chosen are wax, suede, and leather embossed with reptilian patterns. I’m personally fond of the wax and suede because they’re reminiscent of the older American work boots and mountain boots. They’re full lining and made to be waterproof, so you can wear them barefoot and go wild with it. I hope you’ll enjoy the product.