If you're not aware, there's been a recent surge in the appreciation and acquisition of made-in-USA goods. Though I cannot say everything I own is made in the USA, it certainly feels good to directly contribute to the slowly-recovering economy. It also feels good when the product is of great quality.
So without further ado, I will start my "Made in the USA" series off with Oak Street Bootmakers.
|George Vlagos of Oak Street Bootmakers|
Nouveau Vintage: How did you first get into the shoe business?
George Vlagos: From a young age my father, who is a cobbler, had me working at his shop. In fact, some of my earliest memories are at the shop – I learned how to tie shoe laces by practicing on shoes that my father was working on. However, when I was in middle school that’s when I first got my start – shining shoes. On any given Saturday my dad would have a huge pile of shoes on the shining machine, and I would give myself the entire day to work at them. Then, in high school I started to truly learn the craft – how to Goodyear welt, build stacked heels, etc. After graduating college, I came back to my dad with a desire to continue my apprenticeship. It was soon after that, that I started to lay down the roots that would become Oak Street Bootmakers. Working with shoes has certainly been a dream of mine – and I couldn’t enjoy anything else more.
NV: There are only a few truly American moccasin makers left (that is, company located and product built here) and yet you manage to get a decent amount of press as opposed to, say, Russell Moccasin. Do you think the recent rediscovery of American "heritage" clothing has something to do with it?
NV: What are your plans for the future? Any collaborations with Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, or another clothing company like a lot of footwear makers are doing now?
Thanks to Mr. Vlagos for answering my questions!