Filmed by Liam McCarthy. Produced by Daniel Garrahan
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This is the leather for a shoe called the City II, which one of our signature styles. Martin is carrying out the operation which you call clicking. And clicking means when we cut around the pattern to make the component of the upper part of the shoe. We pre-marked the leather for defects, to make sure the clicker avoids those defects. And there's quite a lot of skill involved in interlocking the patterns to minimise wastage of the leather.
We're now in a part of the factory called the prep room. Various things happen here. But one of the operations is this one here, called skiving, which Maggie is demonstrating for us. And what skiving involves is reducing the thickness of the leather in the areas of overlap where two pieces are stitched together. And the reason for that is if we didn't do that, it would be too thick. We'd have a double thickness of leather, and that would create a lump in the shoe.
Here is the upper, which has been prepped. Here is the lining of the City II shoe, and it comes down to an area called the closing room, which is where the stitching of the upper takes place. So we have Lucy over here who is doing a further preparation, by which she temporarily glues together the pieces of the upper. Then she hands over to Elaine, who will actually do the stitching of the pieces together.
You have to now start to think about how we will conform that to the shape that we need for the human foot, and to do that we need to bring in what's called a last. And we need at a later stage to conform the upper part of the shoe to that last shape. Now we're going to see Neil putting the rib on the insole, and then he'll attach the insole to the last.
We are now in one of the noisier parts of our building. This area is known as the lasting department. We're going to look here at the toe lasting. The upper is being pulled down very tightly onto the last, and then we have jointing.
This is a welt. A welt is just a strip of leather. The kind of shoe that we make, the construction technique is known as goodyear welted, where we fix the welt to the upper and then through to the rib that we saw earlier in the process.
We now have the upper of the shoe on the last. We have the welt, the strip of leather called a welt, fitted. We've also put in what's called a shank, which is to reinforce the arch of the foot, and we put a seat lift in at the back here. We formed the cavity, and that cavity needs to be filled. We're going to fill it with a liquid cork filler. And that will, when it's dry, that cork filler will be able to mould itself to the foot of the wearer.
We put the sole on the shoe, we round it, and we form a channel. Now that channel is used to then sole stitch the sole to the upper of the shoe. Then we come on to the heeling operation.
So the shoe here has now had the heel attached. We've taken out the last, we clean and then colour the sole, the heel, and the sides. We take off the plastic covering and we then polish the shoe. It has to have its laces put in, it has to get the sole stamped, and it's ready to be boxed.