kelly kikuchi


Lady Cordwainer | Brand Identity

the gist

Defining why these shoes deserve to get made.

the task

Answering a question an old friend asked (cynically) when I told him I was studying shoemaking.

“Does the world
need another shoe brand?”

the client

Me.  I was making handmade shoes steeped in the tradition of bespoke footwear culture.

These are my dirty hands in making shoes in my living room.

the background

1. Exclusivity
 People are willing to pay lots and lots of money for “exclusive” brands that are selling the same item in shops all over the world. I didn’t like that.

2. Artisanal footwear is the realm of the fuddy-duddy.
The phrase “bespoke shoemaker” conjures up one or more of the following images: traditional, quirky, perfectionism, men.

Traditional (boring)
Unique (too exciting)

Perfect (not human-made?)

the opportunites

  • Make bespoke shoes sexy
  • Make sure the shoes look like they were made by a human
  • Show exclusivity by emphasizing one-of-a-kind-ness
  • not a man

the solution

The Lady Cordwainer brand signature leaves a strip of untreated leather on the shoe’s sole or heel.  It is never in the same place twice, indicating uniqueness.

The “naked line” also serves as an intimate reveal, refuting the notion the notion that artisanal footwear is unsexy.

The nature of hands working with skins is inherently sensual. This is highlighted.

Kelly Kikuchi  2019