Church's Footwear grew from humble beginnings in Northampton, UK. The year was 1873 and a man, his wife and their two sons, opened a small workshop in an area rich with traditions of leather and footwear production. Three years later the brand made history with the revolutionary invention of the Adaptable model, which included, for the first time, a differentiation between the right and left shoe.
Then came the 1920's. Politically, the world was changing. Women were fighting for their rights and their fashion freedom. The shift dress appeared on the runways and the streets, waistlines moved lower, hemlines higher, and stocking sales skyrocketed. Up until this point, Church's had been entirely focused on men's footwear. The feminine revolution was undeniable, so 1921 saw the release of the first women's shoe from Church's, which had an arch customized to the shape of a women's beautiful stocking-clad foot.
Fast-forward nearly a century, through the Great Depression, a second World War, and untold political, social and economic changes, and Church's is still one of the most reputable footwear brands on the market.
This is mainly attributed to its classic styles and unrivaled quality, but also in part to Prada. After acquiring Church's in 1999, Prada has helped develop a beautiful and traditional company into a fashionable and relevant name that is adored worldwide, not just in the UK. Among other things, the Italian fashion house expanded distribution and production of Church's. Today, the men's collection is still made in their same Northampton factory, while the women's collection is made in Italy.
Regardless of the factory location, Church's Footwear is still handcrafted by the same manual steps developed and perfected over their 142-year history. With these processes, it takes up to eight weeks to complete a single pair.
I just purchased my first pair of Church's through a special order at work. [One of the many benefits of my job is that I do get opportunities like this from time to time.] However, the difference between this Church's order and past special orders is that construction didn't even begin on this shoe until they received my request. This oxford was handcrafted in Italy, made-to-order, specifically for me.