A Walk of Tradition: Church’s
For almost two and a half centuries, Church’s has been an essential part of the distinguished gentleman’s wardrobe.
Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair had a “lucky pair” of their black brogues, which he made sure to wear to every parliamentary session of Prime Minister’s Questions. In fact, Church’s is so deeply rooted in the British tradition of distinction, that a variety of their dress shoes were the footwear of choice for Pierce Brosnan when he played iconic British superspy, James Bond in the movies. Fortifying their prestigious reputation in the industry, Church’s was bestowed the prestigious Queen’s Award to Industry by HM Queen Elizabeth II, in 1965.
Church’s as we know, was officially founded in 1873, though their heritage as providers of quality leather shoemakers dates back to 17th century England. Born in 1675, Stone Church lived and worked in the town of Northhampton, which was known for its thriving leather and footwear industry. The skill and mantle of Master Cordwainer were cultivated and passed down through the family for over 2 centuries, until his great-grandson Thomas Church, set up Church’s first factory in 1873.
Thomas’ second son William gained Church’s global recognition by exporting their shoes to South Africa, Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, establishing them as an archetype of refinement in the western world.
Taking over after his father’s retirement, his youngest son, Thomas Dudley led a company restructure and expanded their product lines to include other fine leather items such as women’s shoes, briefcases and belts.
One of its most notable designs, “The Shanghai”, had a unique structure compositing of a monk strap and brogue with tassel detail and redefined men’s footwear in 1929 with its versatility of sophistication and sportiness. The contemporary versions are intentionally broken-in and weathered by hand to retain that vintage spirit.
By the start of the 21st century, Church’s was acquired by the Prada Group with the family’s blessings, which heralded a new era of international expansion, with several boutiques opening in fashion capitals such as Milan, Rome, Paris, St. Moritz and New York. Their current collections still maintain the age-old signature Church’s quality craftsmanship and are available in 50 stores found across central and northern Europe, America and Asia including China and Singapore.
View Church’s collections in their boutique at ION Orchard and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
Image credits: Church’s