Photography: Zaphs Zhang. Art direction: Li Hwee Shan
Jeremiah Ang, 33, Kenneth Teh, also 33, and Joshua Leong, 31, are not fashion greenhorns – albeit they know more about men’s stuff than women’s. The first two are owners of The J. Myers Company, a five-year-old men’s leather goods company, while the third, an ex-apprentice for the late Florentine artisan Stefano Bemer, has an eponymous agent’s shoemaking brand.
But where there are men, there will be women. “We’ve had requests for ladies’ shoes at our own brands,” says Leong. So, the idea to provide custom-made, flat pumps started last year. “We were in the middle of a bak kut teh dinner when one of us made a joke about three fellas sitting in the middle of the CBD, making shoes for women.”
The joke became an idea. The idea simmered into 30 prototypes and countless critique sessions, like taking “toe cleavage” out of one style and ensuring that the pumps fit so well, they’re good enough for long walks – be it on the cobbled streets of Florence or to the MRT station. And instead of the CBD, the trio settled into a shophouse at Joo Chiat where the feeling of you being Cinderella happens.
From left: Jeremiah Ang, Joshua Leong and Kenneth Teh
The pumps in five different designs are customised in two ways – either made-to-order or bespoke*. Lasts are made in Italy, not China. Toes are stiffened by vegetable paste to prevent the front from biting into your toes and leaving behind ugly marks, the way man-made adhesives do. Super-soft lambskin and calfskin are used, and they come from Italy and Spain.
The finished product takes four weeks. To prevent mass production, and because that’s all the three good fellas can manage, only 1,000 pairs are made a year.
* Made-to-order: you pick from existing sizes (EU 34-41, half sizes included), and standard and slim widths. From $295.
Bespoke: you get a shoe pattern and last that are made for you. It’s for women who either have uncommon feet sizes or want a highly accurate fit. From $895.
This story was originally published in the June 2017 issue of Her World magazine.