Let’s start for the uninitiated: What’s the main idea behind Yuketen?
Yuketen is an international shoe manufacturer, using very old techniques to make the shoes. We are really trying to make shoes from the 1930s and ‘40s. Also we add our own ideas. For example in the moccasin construction, our vamp is bigger than anybody else’s. [Ed. note—the vamp is the leather around the center of the foot, which you may not necessarily see from the outside, and which is the foundation for the rest of the moccasin, loafer, or chukka boot. Yuketen’s are triple-wrapped.]
I believe if we make the vamp bigger, we can cover the feet better. Then on top of that it’s handsewn all around; the back, handsewn. Sometimes if there’s stitches all over the shoe, that can be annoying. I prefer to have as few pieces of leather as possible covering the outside of the shoe. Things like that.
Is there any relationship between Yuketen and Monitaly?
No, not really. Monitaly is more fashion. Military ideas are at the core of Monitaly design. I learn from military clothing, I learn from vintage clothing, but I want to make it better. I’m not trying to make reproductions. When you see everyone wear the same thing, it’s not cool anymore. And we want to be cool. So I took the idea, and then I make a better fit. I don’t want to make a fit for a muscular, military guy. I want it to have a certain drape, and when the guy walks wearing it, a certain swing. So people say, Wow, he’s elegant.
I love that you said you do this to be cool. What’s cool to you?
Inside of you has to be cool. Otherwise you can’t pull anything off. People try so hard to be like, Look at me, I have this, this, this. I had that attitude when I was young. I had a lot of vintage clothes. Levi’s from the 1940s. Combat clothes from the 1950s. All the things were vintage. I had vintage watches. So I feel like I’m cool because I wear something very historical, that nobody has, that’s expensive. Now, at my age, it doesn’t matter what I have. It’s inside of me.