Stories / October 2019

A Smart Buy From Cleverley

Presenting The Rake Values first exclusive co-creation with storied Mayfair shoemaker, George Cleverley.

George Glasgow Jr outside George Cleverley's Royal Arcade boutique, London.

In our latest collaboration with the iconic British cordwainer, George Cleverley has created an exclusive shoe for The Rake Values. A classic Oxford lace-up with punched, beveled wingtip embellishment, the ‘Jones’ is handcrafted in England from buttery-smooth, burnished brown calfskin, its Goodyear-welted leather soles carrying the Cleverley legend stamped in gold.

GJ Cleverley CEO George Glasgow Jr. explains that this shoe was devised to embody the ethos of The Rake Values by providing exceptional return on investment. “First of all, the colour is super versatile, it lends itself very well to a blue suit, grey suit, or a pair of jeans — the customer will get a lot of mileage out of this shoe,” Glasgow says. “It’s going to work with an array of looks, so if this is your one and only really good pair of shoes, you have numerous options to pair it with different outfits, dress it up or dress it down.”

Despite being built to Cleverley's usual exacting standards — and like all the company’s footwear, proudly made in the UK — the ‘Jones’ has been positioned at a remarkably reasonable price-point, in order to give this shoe as broad appeal as possible. “The pricing we’ve achieved here is really accessible, it’s within a lot of people’s reach, representing incredible return on investment for a beautifully made shoe,” Glasgow says.

 

Glasgow and The Rake’s Wei Koh jointly devised the ‘Jones’. “We had a conversation and we said, let’s try to do something a bit different. Let’s not just do a traditional black Oxford, although that is a timeless classic. Let’s do a lace-up that’s a brand new design for Cleverley, which this is,” Glasgow recalls. “We wanted to make it versatile, so when a gentleman buys this shoe, it will not only be a style that’s unique and exclusive to The Rake, but a shoe he’s able to get a hell of a lot of use out of. This shoe is not just going to sit in the wardrobe — it’s going to get constant wear and become an old friend.”

Add to its aesthetic versatility the fact that, thanks to its Goodyear-welted construction, the ‘Jones’ can easily be restored to as-new condition after years of usage, and you’ve got a shoe that provides serious long-term bang-for-buck. Glasgow offers a real-life anecdote of the restaurateur Michael Chow, who recently brought in a pair of shoes he’d had made in 1968 so Cleverley could repair and resole them. “He’s had more than 50 years of wear from those shoes, which makes them, by sheer number of wears, a very cheap shoe,” Glasgow says. “If you get a few decades’ use out of a pair of shoes, even if they may seem quite expensive at the time of the initial purchase, you've actually got an amazing deal. When you work it out, those shoes of Mr. Chow’s were a bargain.”

Cleverley has had its share of rich and famous clients. What is perhaps less well known is that there are also countless everyday individuals who appreciate GJ Cleverley footwear’s excellent value proposition. “A lot of people have the perception that what we do is unobtainable or that it’s only for the very wealthy customer, but that’s not the case. We frequently see people who may earn a more average income, but once in a while, they’ll treat themselves to a pair of our shoes. We have one such customer, a school teacher, who said to me, ‘George, I see a lot of value in this. I know, given what I earn, it is expensive, but I also know that I can wear these shoes for 30 years or more.’”

That’s precisely the sort of ROI we’re sure the ‘Jones’ will provide — and at a price point all but the most parsimonious footwear enthusiast will find difficult to resist.

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.