Wearing a stunning pair of moccasins with everything from cropped wide-legged chinos and classic dress pants to sweatpants can seem like one of the coolest flexes that are permeating men’s clothing today, but for Chris Echevarria is a movement that dates back to childhood. “I was raised by my great-grandmother and my mother, and one of the things I had to do was go to church every weekend,” says brand designer Blackstock & Weber based in Brooklyn. “The uniform for the church was a pair of khakis, a white shirt, moccasins. And loafers – and everything in that outfit – never left my wardrobe. So I have always worn these moccasins in a very interesting way.
So it doesn’t take a big logical leap to understand why Blackstock & Weber’s flagship product is the moccasin, whether it’s a penny, bit or tassel. There is a real story here. But Echevarria is not a sentimentalist. He is also a savvy veteran of the fashion industry. After spending time at J.Crew during the Mickey Drexler days (more on this in a moment) and, more recently, working with Stone Island, he decided to go it alone. And he saw that shoes – proper shoes, the kind that take a bit of a break in and are made to last – were used less and less.
“One of the things I noticed going to all the men’s stores is that the shoes were always put on the back and always treated as an addition to whatever you get” , he said. “It was the first thing. The second thing is that your words have power. One of the ways people would always describe a shoe as a moccasin or even a wing tip was always what was called a “dress shoe.” And that wasn’t how I wore it or saw it. So I was like, ‘Okay, there’s room here to be able to show people how to do something different.’ “
Step into the Blackstock & Weber moccasin. Reinforced and treated like a canvas for all kinds of materials and colors, it is a product designed to be endlessly reinterpreted by the creator and the wearer. Right now, on the brand’s website, you’ll find iterations in leopard-print pony hair, crocodile-embossed leather, and two-tone suede, testifying to the style’s versatility and ability to transcend any overly traditional overtones. . Head over to the J.Crew website (you said we’ll be back to the Crew) and you’ll find another iteration, exclusive to the retailer where Echevarria worked all those years ago.
The latest offering is actually the second style exclusive to J.Crew. The first, in snuff suede with cow-print foal hair and natural leather sole, sold out in a day. This one, in a colorway called “Bitter Chocolate” which sticks to the multimedia approach but makes it a dark brown and, yes, chocolatey, has just been launched. If you’re the gambler, it’s probably best not to spend the money thinking that it won’t fly off the shelves at the same speed as its predecessor.
From the start of the partnership between Blackstock & Weber and J.Crew, Echevarria was aware of the ‘full turn’ aspect of the story: a guy who worked at the J.Crew Liquor Store in Tribeca teaming up with the brand years ago. late, and with his own label. Still, “I wouldn’t say I shifted gears to design this particular shoe,” he explains. “But what I did was put myself in the shoes of young Chris who was on the floor at the J.Crew liquor store and said to him, ‘If I was here now, what shoe is that I would like to sell? And what are the aspects of that time and the things I have learned since then that I can combine and make it feel like a moment to me? “Not even the full loop in the sense that I go back to where I started, but the full loop in the sense that I take back everything I learned there, as well as everything I did. have since learned as profit from my time there and put it in one shoe.
The result is a moccasin that looks great at first glance but reveals a lot more once Echevarria explains everything that made it. The lining, for example, is forest green, an important color in J.Crew’s palette. “The cow print is something that touches on one of the things our consumers really love about us, how we can take things and play with supports that haven’t usually been played with the same type of moccasins. . Echevarria continues. “The suede comes from Charles Stead, that historic UK tannery, and one of the first places I learned the things I love about shoe making was in the UK. So all of these little things are in the shoe, but you wouldn’t know that without telling me about it. It’s interesting, because it all feels really good and comes together, but these are all bits of my own experience and what I love about my brand and that of J.Crew in tandem.
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