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Interview: Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing.se

Posted in Feature by Hannes Rebas

Who is Jesper Ingevaldsson?

I work as an E-Commerce Manager for Kavat and Line Builder for men’s shoe brand Italigente. Kavat is a Swedish maker famous for quality children’s shoes, and Italigente is a Swedish-Italian classic men’s shoe brand. With Italigente I do a bit of everything: product development, communications, sales, and host trunks shows. It’s really enjoyable to work with what you love. In my spare time I blog about classic shoes at my site Shoegazing.se. It used to be in Swedish only, but now I write in English as well.

Jesper Ingevaldsson

Jesper Ingevaldsson

I am a journalist to begin with and used to work for the Swedish Radio (Sweden’s publicly funded radio broadcaster) and as a Communications Manager at the Chalmers University of Technology, so writing the texts does not take too much of an effort. If I write half decently it still turns out quite okay for a blog. I enjoy spending my time learning about shoes and researching, not too much on the writing itself.

The English Edition of Shoegazing.se

The English Edition of Shoegazing.se

I have been writing the blog for four years now and it has become much bigger than I originally expected. On the Swedish site we get around 15.000 unique visitors a month. I started the English version last fall and it’s also growing. The Swedish blog has become a meeting point for all the people in Sweden who are interested in classic shoes. They comment a lot and we also have our own discussion forum, which has three moderators but hardly nothing to moderate because everyone is so friendly to each other. We even have a small community of shoe fans who occasionally meet up to have a few drinks and talk about shoes. It’s very casual and that’s what I like about it. It’s just an arena for like-minded people to meet and discuss.

Why classic shoes?

Back in the days I used to be an indie pop guy. My favourite shoe was the Adidas Superstar 2. I bought a pair in the spring, wore them for a year, repaired them with adhesive tape when needed and they were trashy as hell after the winter. So then I threw them away and then bought another pair and repeated the process. I didn’t care at all about clothing. The most important thing was which band was on my t-shirt. Then I went to university, started working and continually started to dress better or more like an adult. At one point I was looking for a wool overcoat, so I started searching the web for alternatives. I ended up on Manolo.se and a couple of other blogs about classic menswear. So I got myself the coat, started reading these blogs and one thing lead to another.

My first classic shoes were a pair of Loake Aldwych in dark brown. At least in Sweden it’s the top entry shoe for people who start getting into the subject. Very classic but still affordable and good shoes for the price. I fell in love with them. I have always been like this: when I get into something, I really get into it. I was fanatic about vacuum cleaners when I was a kid. I was also very nerdy about table hockey. Then I was biking a lot and became a professional biker.

So I started to read up on the subject, mostly online, but also meeting and talking with people and trying on shoes. I bought a lot of second hand shoes in the beginning just to get shoes home and see different brands, learn about them and get a feeling for the different makes.

Jesper's Yohei Fukuda full brogues

Jesper's Yohei Fukuda full brogues

We were missing a go-to site in Swedish for classic men’s shoes, and I was spending too much time online reading and discussing shoes. Then my wife came up with the idea that I should start a blog and do something proper with my time. It’s been evolving ever since and I still learn stuff all the time. I think I am quite knowledgeable in some aspects, but when considering how much there is to know about this subject, I’m not even close to getting a complete grasp. That’s what I like about it. I enjoy the combination of craftsmanship, beauty and materials. It’s something real in a way.

The Shoegazing Super Trunk Show goes off in September. Please tell us more.

We started arranging the trunk shows a couple of years ago. We were discussing on the forum and a guy mentioned that he wanted to try on some shoes from Vass, and he thought we should bring them here. I liked the idea but didn’t want to do a regular trunk show with just one brand, I wanted it to be more special.

We brought three brands to the first Shoegazing Super Trunk Show and also arranged the Swedish shoe shine championships, shoe care school, panel discussions and a lot of stuff around it. We expected 200 people but 700 attended, so it was totally crowded. It was a big success and turned out much better than expected. We arranged it again last year with five brands and many more happenings around it. We had 900 visitors, so it’s getting more and more popular – and that’s in Stockholm, which is not the biggest city in the world, so it’s cool that it gathers this much interest.

We are planning for this year’s show at the moment, which will be held September 10 at the Scandic Anglais in Stockholm and will host makers such as Meermin, Yanko, Vass, Hiro Yanagimachi and Roberto Ugolini.

Classic men's shoes are increasingly popular. Why?

It’s been said a lot but I think people in general are a bit fed up with disposable fashion and throw-away society. They want something proper and more permanent – things that are made to last. There is more enjoyment in buying things that have the ability to actually become better with age.

Clothes generally deteriorate with age, but a good pair of shoes can become more comfortable and beautiful as they age – that is, if you polish them and take good care of them. There is something very gratifying about polishing a pair of worn, beaten up shoes. You instantly make them beautiful again. That is also something that people really like about them. They come with environmental benefits as well: good shoes are made from good hides, and to produce them it is essential that the animals do not get mistreated. They are being made in decent factories, and there are many other upsides. I also think that the aesthetics play an important part, that people are once more learning to appreciate the look of classic shoes.

Any advice for a novice in the world of classic shoes?

Take it a bit easy. When you see guys with a lot of money, they often buy too many pairs at the same time and then end up finding that they didn’t get the sizing right, or ended up with shoes they didn’t appreciate in the long run. In a way it can be an advantage to be a poor student who has to save up for a pair of shoes and really think the purchase through. Your tastes will evolve and you will learn more about what suits you with regard to both fit and style. So that’s one thing, people are often too hurried when they find a new subject that they’re interested in, they want to build a classic shoe wardrobe too quickly.

Try different brands. Even if you find a brand of shoes that you like the look and fit of, still continue trying other brands. You never know if you can find something even better. I found a couple of brands that I loved when I first became interested in shoes, and I thought they were the perfect ones – but I found out that there were other great shoes as well: not necessarily better as a whole, but often with other aspects that I liked.

Up now on the blog (direct link in bio) is the annual big walk through of my current shoe collection, as seen above. Also, a bunch of them will be sold off, more info in the blog post. First row from the left: RM Williams Wentworth, Crockett & Jones Chelsea 5, Vass for Shoegazing Sarek, Italigente Stoccolma II, Italigente Treviso Second row: Heschung Crocus, Italigente Venezia, Loake Aldwych, Gaziano & Girling Cambridge, Melker Shoes Plain cap toe oxford Third row: Maftei Seamless wholecut, Yohei Fukuda Willow, Maftei 3-eyelet derby, Myrqvist Strömsö, Crownhill The Stewart Forth row: Riccardo Bestetti Novecento Special oxford, Hiro Yanagimachi L33, Gaziano & Girling Cambridge, Jan Kielman Quarter brogue, Alfred Sargent Exclusive Hunt Fifth row: Italigente for Shoegazing Napoli, Riccardo Bestetti Novecento Maverick, John Lobb Paris Towcester. #rmwilliams #crockettandjones #vass #italigente #heschung #loake #gazianogirling #melkershoes #maftei #yoheifukuda #crownhill #riccardobestetti #hiroyanagimachi #jankielman #alfredsargent #johnlobb #myrqvist #shoecollection #nofilter #mensshoes #classicshoes #menswear #shoegazingblog

A photo posted by Jesper Ingevaldsson (@shoegazingblog) on

Buy different brands and try out new things. Take good care of them, which is quite easy. There are four basic rules: don’t wear them two days in row, put shoe trees in them, wipe them off after use, and give them some proper care every once in a while. Not every Sunday, you don’t have to overdo it. But if you follow those four rules, your shoes will look and feel a lot better for a lot longer.

Own. #yoheifukuda #willow #burgundy #chiseledlast #handmade #nofilter #mensshoes #classicshoes #menswear #shoegazingblog

A photo posted by Jesper Ingevaldsson (@shoegazingblog) on

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