Gentleman’s Journal is putting its best foot forward. As the magazine steps stylishly into its tenth anniversary year, we’re collaborating with a handful of our favourite brands; creating limited runs and special editions of some of our most treasured, trusted products. Kicking things off; Crockett & Jones.
For almost a decade, the heritage Northampton shoemaker has been a prized partner of Gentleman’s Journal. Over the years, we’ve walked the British brand’s brilliant handmade shoes everywhere from the streets of Los Angeles to the deserts of Morocco for various shoots and stories. But, whilst we’ve buckled and laced up everything from monkstrap shoes to derby boots, there was only one Crockett & Jones style that would work for our first commemorative collaboration.
“I think every young, professional man should own a pair of black suede loafers,” says Gentleman’s Journal editor-in-chief, Harry Jarman. “And I couldn’t believe that Crockett & Jones didn’t have a black suede loafer. It blew my mind! And I live in loafers; I think they’re great. You can wear them with a suit, with jeans, with anything. They’re the most versatile shoes.”
And so, after another visit to the British brand’s workrooms — one of many trips we’ve taken to the Northamptonshire factory during the last decade — a plan was hatched to bring a limited edition black suede loafer to life. And it’s a journey that James Fox, Head of Marketing at Crockett & Jones, was all too happy to help with.
“Having worked with Gentleman’s Journal for 10 years,” says Fox, “it seemed only fitting for us to celebrate and mark the occasion with a product-led collaboration. Because it’s been a joyous decade watching the brand grow from strength-to-strength, in both print and digital formats.
“And, today, they form a crucial part of our media partnership,” Fox adds. “So it gives us great enjoyment to see their keen eye for products, and to join the brands together in a dual-branded classic from the current collection; the ‘Boston’ loafer”.
The ‘Boston’ style is a classic penny loafer, and both brown suede and black calf leather versions stand proudly in Crockett & Jones’ main collection. Built on a single leather sole and cut from the finest water-repellent ‘Repello’ suede — fully treated with ‘Scotch guard’ during the tanning process — this is an open-stitched, waxed and stained shoe that can stand up to anything a modern man might kick its way.
“The black suede is a style that Harry wanted personally,” Fox explains of the new collaboration, “and simplicity is always the best form of product development. For us, that was reason enough — given that our mantra towards product development has always been to ask ourself one not-so-obvious question: Would we wear it ourselves? In this case, we agreed with Harry, and the answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’.
And so, our editor-in-chief (and self-confessed loafer connoisseur) went about testing the existing dark brown ‘Boston’ loafer, to gauge whether it was the best slip-on for the job. “It was between the ‘Boston’ or the ‘Sydney’,” Jarman reveals. Comfortable from the word go, the ‘Boston’ made the decision easy; and we went for the wheeled, crowned and top-ironed design, built on Crockett & Jones’ Last 314 — with its distinctive ‘high-walled’ round toe.
“And, whilst we have dabbled with black suede loafers in the past,” says Crockett & Jones’ James Fox, “we agreed that the timing was right to give this shoe a new lease of life. Harry also opted for a black calf lining with the flexible leather sole — because he’s a traditionalist at heart — and the results speak for themselves. We have created a unique, handsome and extremely comfortable loafer”.
It is indeed a fine shoe — and one available not only to our editor, but also to our dedicated and discerning readers. From today, the Gentleman’s Journal x Crockett & Jones black suede ‘Boston’ loafer will be available both online, and also at the Gentleman’s Journal Shop.
“And, as you can see here,” says our editor-in-chief, “we’ve dressed them with jeans both blue and black — as well as with flannel trousers. That’s how versatile these loafers are. I genuinely think they’re the best shoes — and I’m so happy that we’ve paired with our longest footwear partner, and one of our favourite brands, to create them to celebrate of ten years of Gentleman’s Journal”.