Carréducker are award-winning handsewn shoemakers with a bespoke workshop and training school
in London’s iconic Oxo Tower on the South Bank.
Permanent exhibition, Design Museum London
QEST Award for Excellence, 2018
Marsh Heritage Crafts ‘Made in Britain’ Award, 2017
Balvenie Masters of Craft Award for Leather, 2011
Featured in the following books, a great read if you’re interested in craft and British craftsmen:
Made in London by Carmel King and Mark Brierley; Merrell Publishing
A Celebration of British Craftsmanship by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust
The company grew from the serendipitous meeting of two people passionate about the centuries-old craft of handsewn shoemaking, Deborah Carré and James Ducker.
Deborah and James both completed traditional apprenticeships as hand sewn shoemakers (Deborah as a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust scholar and James as a John Lobb apprentice).
After several years following separate paths, they joined forces in 2004 to found Carréducker. Keen to attract a new bespoke customer, they set about organising their own Bespoke Club events to showcase their work, inviting like-minded businesses to co-host with them including Tom Davies eyewear, TomTom Cigars and Gentlemen’s Tonic.
CHAMPIONING THE HANDSEWN CRAFT
Carréducker keep their traditional craft relevant and exciting with their Bespoke Handsewn & Bespoke Manufactured Shoe Services offering a wide variety of colours, leathers, detailing, styles and sole options for the modern-day bespoke customer.
They are at the vanguard of training in the craft and established their own shoemaking school in 2006, so that students could access the skills and techniques only previously available through traditional apprenticeships. This accessible approach has helped to launch several bespoke shoemakers on their paths and created hundreds of shoe making enthusiasts around the world, supported by the Supplies Shop, an invaluable online shop for all things handsewn shoe making related!
Over the years, the pair have showcased their skills at numerous events, exhibitions and venues including St. James’ and Hampton Court Palaces, the Victoria & Albert Museum, at the Crafts Council’s Origin and Added Value exhibitions, Crafted: Makers of Excellence, London Craft Week and in the window of Gieves & Hawkes No.1 Savile Row. Today their work is part of the permanent exhibition at the Design Museum London.
As shoemakers, their enthusiasm for British-made extends beyond bespoke and they work with a number of specialist British footwear manufacturers to create limited edition boots.
Aware of footwear’s environmental impact, theirs is a sustainable approach.
Providing detailed information about fit on the website and making to order reduces the number of returns and the boots are designed to be durable and repairable, made from suede, Nubuck and natural, veg. tanned leathers (better for feet and the environment). All of the leather is a byproduct of the meat and dairy industry.
The first Carréducker London design was the Half-Cut shoe, developed with R.E.Tricker in Northampton and sold through Susannah Hall Tailors in Clerkenwell.
Now, after a series of successful Kickstarter campaigns Carréducker London encompasses British-made, unisex boots made in limited runs throughout the year by Jadd Shoes in Suffolk and William Lennon in Derbyshire.
BESPOKE SHOE SERVICE
Carréducker beautiful bespoke shoes and boots for private individuals. Rather than a house-style, theirs is an eclectic, magpie-approach designing shoes to suit a client’s personal style and aesthetic.
Through the UK’s luxury industry body, Walpole, Carréducker were introduced to Mark Henderson, then Chairman of Gieves & Hawkes. Gieves’ flagship at No.1 Savile Row was being transformed into a gentlemen’s club and Carréducker had the great fortune to be invited to create a workshop on the shop floor; a truly unique opportunity to showcase the craft to potential customers.
Alongside a small showcase at Gieves & Hawkes, customers can now visit the Carréducker at Oxo Tower Wharf by appointment, to view a full selection of bespoke footwear from bespoke manufactured sneakers to bespoke handsewn dress shoes alongside leather and detailing options.
Social media opened up Carréducker’s bespoke shoemaking to a global audience and for those customers unable to travel, Carréducker now offer a virtual measurement and fitting service using their own, specially designed kit, ‘how to measure’ film and Zoom support to walk customers through the experience.
PASSING ON THEIR SKILLS
As well as creating beautiful bespoke shoes, Carréducker has also established itself at the forefront of handsewn shoe making training, teaching hundreds of students from around the world for nearly 20 years.
In 2006, they began teaching handsewn shoe making to beginners, at the time the only school offering independent training outside of the traditional apprenticeship or University route. Now their Shoe & Leather School in London offers beginners the opportunity to learn part or all of the handsewn shoe making process and shoemakers the opportunity to top up their skills with masterclasses in specific techniques, like Norwegian welting or to learn saddle stitch techniques. The skills and techniques of specialist bespoke footwear pattern making are taught by Fiona Campbell at her studio in SW London and closing will be added to the schedule in 2023.
Meanwhile shoemakers worldwide can access the handsewn shoe making hub for online courses and tutorials, Zoom support and all the tools, kits and materials they need for shoe making.
DIGITAL SHOEMAKERS CONFERENCE
In 2021and 2022, during the Covid pandemic, Carréducker hosted two Digital Independent Shoemaking Conferences to bring shoemakers together online.
They curated a mix of pre-recorded films, live Zoom interviews and panel discussions along with open forum meet-ups for delegates featuring speakers from Seoul to Seattle and attracting over 230 delegates.
The 2022 conference included highlights from the annual UK Independent Shoemakers Conference and from the Super Trunk Show organised by shoegazingblog and theshoesnobblog.