Posted by Crown Northampton on

If you’re a follower of Crown Northampton on Instagram, you might have noticed that we’re frequently tagged in posts originating from some very stylish and considered individuals from Japan.

Why Japan, you ask?

A good question. Many may not be aware that we have been producing shoes in various styles under our Crown Northampton brand for the Japanese market for quite some time now. It all started when our original dance shoe designs caught the attention of some friends visiting from Japan. They immediately recognised the appeal of our styles for their region. You can read more about our Jazz collection and its Japanese following in our article here.

Through our network of distribution and brand partners in Japan, we consistently collaborate to not only introduce new styles and materials across our collections in that market, but also to uphold the traditional 'Made In Northampton' heritage that our footwear embodies. We want to blend our heritage with future designs, ensuring our styles remain true to our past while staying relevant.

We believe, when it comes to delving into the intricacies of footwear and showcasing our latest projects, there's no substitute for face-to-face interactions. That's why we were thrilled to accept an invitation to Isetan Shinjuku, one of Japan's most coveted department stores known for attracting conscientious shoppers with a keen eye for quality, fashion, and style.

Our display in Isetan

The trip wasn't solely focused on Crown Northampton; we were also delighted to showcase some of our upcoming collections under our sister brand, E. Woodford & Sons, which is set to launch very soon.

Will, our shoemaking demonstrating his craft.
Hand sewing some uppers.

This provided Will from our team the opportunity to demonstrate the craftsmanship involved in creating this collection, including hand-cutting the leather, hand-sewing, and hand-lasting the shoes. We displayed a variety of materials and even showcased some deconstructed pairs to highlight the attention to detail that might not always be apparent when looking at a fully assembled pair.

A selection of Harlestone Hand Stitch on display.

A selection of our Harlestone Hand Stitch styles was on display, complemented by limited-edition colours from the Jazz collection. Chris was available to assist with sizing and fit queries, taking measurements, and discussing the various options we offer as a made-to-order producer.

During some downtime Will and Chris were able to take in the sights and sounds of the city as well as relax and enjoy their time in such a beautiful setting. They enjoyed a traditional Japanese Onsen experience (a hot spring spa!) at Hakone, just an hour north of Tokyo, and glimpsed the majestic Mount Fuji from a cable car ride. Exploring the local cuisine adding flavour to their adventure along the way.

City scenes in Japan


Mount Fuji
Their itinerary also included a visit to a leather finishing factory and a serene shrine, where they paused for reflection. On a lighter note they couldn't resist adding to their collections with Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

Japanese Shell Cordovan
During our time in Japan, we made sure to prioritise our quest for sourcing the finest materials worldwide. We had the opportunity to visit Shinki Hikaku, renowned for producing Japan's finest shell cordovan leathers. A quick factory tour revealed various processes that set them apart, akin to those seen in other top-tier tanneries. Keep an eye out and stay subscribed to our newsletter for something special coming towards the end of the year!
Overall, the trip was an enriching experience. We hope that visitors to our stand were intrigued and gained insight into our approach, our commitment to craftsmanship, and how we're preserving essential skills in our projects and diverse footwear offerings. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all our friends and partners in Japan for their incredible hospitality and for joining us on this journey, both in the past and as we look ahead to the future.

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