Take it from us when we say that a morning spent with bootmaker Julian Imrie leaves you contemplating some major life changes. For instance: “Maybe I should move to Amish country and learn how to build a barn.” Or: “Hey, why have I never ridden my bike down to Brazil?” (These being just two episodes in Julian’s eclectic past.) Then again, it also helps his air of romance that he looks exactly like Ernest Hemingway, after a diet.
To fully understand this itinerant bootmaker, one needs to take a look back at his family tree. His grandfather was a painter and sculptor who taught at Edinburgh; his father is a photographer whose past subjects include David Bowie, The Beatles and Mick Jagger; and his mother (the daughter of an Italian count and poet) is a songwriter. In other words, Julian wasn’t destined for cubicle life.
Although he started out as a photographer, Julian is now known for his extraordinarily well-crafted men’s boots. A self-described perfectionist, he makes no compromises when it comes to the integrity of his work. His lasts (the form of the foot) have delicate curves and a subtlety of shape that machines can’t compete with because he carves them entirely by hand. He also cuts his leather by hand and leaves the pieces on the last for three days to slowly absorb its shape. (“Leather remembers more than I do,” he says.)
Basically, these are an honest pair of boots. And because Julian has been adamant about his use of old-world techniques and vintage machinery, you won’t find another pair like them—particularly because most of his designs harken back to the 19th century (he knows just as much about the history of bookmaking as its craft).
Below, take a look at the work that goes into making just one pair of Julian boots.
Main image and video courtesy of Maximilian Imrie.