• Practical training workshop at Politecnico Calzaturiero

    2017-08-04 | project partners
      Handmade luxury footwear is one of the excellence of Made in Italy in the World.  For this reason, Politecnico Calzaturiero, an important art and craft centre of training and research based in Stra (Venice), has taken part in the European High End Shoes (HES) project -, with the aim to provide some students with the technical skills and practices necessary to produce handmade man-woman shoes, with the craftsmanship of the upper and the sole. The European project is promoted in collaboration with CTCP - Centro Tecnológico do Calçado de Portugal (Portugal – Project Leader); INESCOP - Centro de Innovación y Tecnología (Spain); Lycée du Dauphiné (France); CEC - European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (Belgium); COKA - Czech Obuvnicka i kozedelna asociace (Czech Republic). The project envisages at maintaining and strengthening the high-end footwear production across Europe, promoting the entrepreneurship of new talent designers and the development of a new generation of high-skilled manufacturers, oriented to high-end products through the creation and development of innovative vocational training, targeted to a wide range of groups - VET students, new talented designers, footwear workers/technicians, new entrepreneurs in the field of Footwear. Precisely for this reason, a specialized training activity (finished on 7 July) was developed within the project, oriented to sectoral profiles such as stylists, designers, pattern-makers, technicians in the fashion-footwear industry, young entrepreneurs, students of technical and professional schools of the sector.
      Fifteen highly profiled students, selected by the various partner institutes, attended the course on craftsmanship of luxury footwear, practicing at the Politecnico in the production of Goodyear footwear.

      This very dated workmanship is realized in a shoe made entirely by hand, from cutting the leather, to the binding, to the assembling, to the seam of the sole and to the finishing. More than two hundred machining phases, a meticulous and delicate journey, for a final result that corresponds to an old saying by Chang Tse: "When the shoe fits, you forget about the rest." The shoe collection made in this 2-weeks course will be exhibited at the "theMICAM" International Footwear Event scheduled from September 17th to September 20th at Milan Rho Fair, in Hall One - the section dedicated to luxury, in a stand planned for the project s activities.
      The people that took part in the course are: Daniele Corizza, Fabio Zanotto and Angela Zuin from Italy; Barbara Bugykova, Adam Frk and Kristina Vontszemuova from Czech Republic; André Boita, Catarina Fernandes and Bruno Ramalho from Portugal; Andrea Estefania Reyes Cabrera, Noemi Garica Jover and Amada Gomez Granell from Spain; Pierre Louis Afanasieff, Charles Raberin and Annie Mellina from France.
      After a first part on the knowledge of Italian shoe culture, and in particular of the Riviera del Brenta one, the students became familiar with a few hours of pattern making for men s shoes, from the drawing on the last till the cutting of leather.
      They then moved on to craftsmanship, first experimenting with their technical and manual skills with practical exercises on pre-established models, then moving to work on their Goodyear s own model built in the country of origin. To end the shoe s realization, they collaborated with some local companies in the Riviera del Brenta area, for the seam of the soles and final finishing, so that they can also enter and experience the work world.
       They then moved on to craftsmanship, first experimenting with their technical and manual skills with practical exercises on pre-established models, then moving to work on their Goodyear s own model built in the country of origin. To end the shoe s realization, they collaborated with some local companies in the Riviera del Brenta area, for the seam of the soles and final finishing, so that they can also enter and experience the work world.
       "During the course, we have given great importance to the knowledge and awareness of the materials and the care of the passages, fundamental to achieving a unique product," said the teacher Luca Vangelista, craftsman since decades and professor of the third year of specialization at the School of Design and Technique of Shoes and Bags of Politecnico. "The students came into contact with a different reality than classic industrial production, but this opened their mind. They have been able to enhance the use of leather, showing respect and recognition for the material (offered by an important Italian company - Cuoio di Toscana) and curiosity in using a new product. "
      We asked the participants their opinions and feelings about what they experienced during the course.

      "The course was extremely formative, I had the opportunity to meet different realities, not just at geographies level but also with a different modus operandi. Although the course lasted only two weeks, I learned a lot, I learned working techniques that I did not even know about, and that will surely go to improve my know-how. I have had the opportunity to be able to deepen the work, technical and organizational aspects that although related to the handmade world are still fundamental to the industrial one. And then...I ve been so lucky to know some amazing people who, like me, love footwear and know how hard can be a sector that often you don t know, if not only the finished product. We supported and helped each other; we were so lucky to have highly qualified teachers who, with patience and dedication, helped and encouraged us. In short, it is an experience I would recommend to anyone and I would do it again tomorrow!   "

      The course was very useful, I would like to continue a few more weeks to further deepen pattern making and do more manual practice. I hope I can use what I learned by also offering my professional figure with a greater knowledge in classic footwear, expanding my labor market. I would further increase the handmade working hours, perhaps by adding other types of workmanship than Goodyear: every day it s important to make the most of it, so even more craftsmanships hours could be really useful. The organizational system was very efficient and present, the staff and the teachers very well prepared and exhaustive. I can only feel satisfied and grateful to the Politecnico and other partners, for giving me the opportunity to learn a prestigious technique and to have done so with other highly motivated people in a European context.

      "I did not know what to expect from this course, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was very impressed with the speed and intensity with which we all managed to finish a pair of shoes so beautiful and with only manual techniques, in not even ten days.
                                                              The sharing of spaces, ideas and work with 14 other people from different European countries gave me a lot, both from the human point of view and technical English, which I certainly improved during these lessons.   I have learned workings and techniques of which I knew only the name: I believe that creating shoes entirely by hand gives you the opportunity to learn a great deal about footwear, to understand the issues and, especially for my future, how to develop man models."

      "If I should evaluate it with one sentence: It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Whether professionally or personally. We spent two fantastic weeks in a beautiful town Fiesso di Artico, which was like from fairy tale. Great thanks to my leading teacher MgA. Jana Buch, who recommended me for this project, in which I was given the opportunity to attend - in a workshop for luxury footwear in Italy - at Politecnico Calzaturiero.
      However, I would like to thank Czech footwear and leather associations, which allowed me to be part of this project".

      Although I work in a footwear company that produces Goodyear, but industrially, I learnt how to make the shoe manually in the way that guarantees more quality and more added value to the shoe which becomes like jewelleries. Shoes made like that really gives you a lot of pleasure to make…., is not an easy task but after the work done, the feeling is great!
      The knowledge acquired in this training has already helped me to find solutions to apply in the company I work for, such as in the lateral finishing of some soles, among others.

      In this 2 weeks’ training I had the opportunity to experiment, with my own hands, all the operations involved in the construction of a Goodyear shoe, which elevated my understanding of the “footwear engineering" to a higher level, increased the sensitivity and insight regarding the recognition of all the details that, finally integrate a high-end product.
      It has grown in me the empathy and respect for all the gestures, materials and rituals, characteristic of the “Handmade” which, in its Poetry give Singularity to the art of making shoes - this is the true Luxury.
      I broadened my horizons through the exchange of knowledge characteristic of each one of the 5 nationalities involved in the training, which, in addition to the acquisition of new knowledge, allowed the foundation of affective and professional relationships that will allow, for sure, new meetings and future experiences.

      "It has given us so much, we have learned more than enough. We learned how to work with machines, how to handle tools, new techniques, the way of sewing. Occasionally how to make things easier. Personally, I enjoyed it very much, and I also thought that I could do this in the future - manually tailored footwear. This is my dream. But this project has given us a little more. He gave us a bunch of amazing people, buddies, friendships that I know will last. Fun has been incredibly much and with the greatest love I will remember those moments. I will never forget these two weeks and especially people I met. The hearing was very difficult. But I know we did not see the last time".

      "To see our shoes and the amazing feeling of the work being done, it was for non-payment. Besides, we have visited the Ballin factory, which produces samples for luxury brands such as Chanel, thanks to which we have gained a fascinating insight into the Italian shoemaking industry. After two weeks of internship, we had not only beautiful pair of shoes, from which we were happy and proud of, but also a lot of new knowledge, skills and of course friendships."

      "The course has taught us the art and tradition of hand-stitching of the Goodyear system. Almost none of the students knew the method perfectly. In fact, among the students who attended the course there was a teacher who had also decided to participate and told us that he had never worked with this assembly system at his school. We learnt to value the effort, sacrifice and affection that traditional craftsmen devote to each pair of shoes. Personally, I had never assembled a shoe from start to finish before, so the course has been very productive and helpful because for the first time I have done all the process on my own step by step"

      "It was a very rewarding experience, which I hope I can put into practice at any time during my professional career, as I’ve always dreamt of making shoes with my own hands."


      "Every new experience brings about new knowledge and skills that can be applied in future activities. In this case, the techniques on pattern making, stitching and traditional assembling by hand are skills that not everyone knows within the footwear context. I believe that the skills acquired in this course can give me an added value when it comes to hand-crafted manufacture footwear or leather goods, as these types of unique and differentiating products are being increasingly valued."


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