Tony Lutwyche is quickly building his sartorial empire.
The U.K. tailor, famous in England for his handcrafted suits, bought the two-year-old Lodger footwear from its founder, Nathan Brown, at the end of 2010. And in the past year, he has been building a shoe brand that complements his men’s apparel.
Brown left the company after six months, and the brand is now moving toward less quirky and more traditional silhouettes. “For the moment, our focus is pushing the Lutwyche collection to a wider audience,” said Lutwyche.
The shoes, which retail for 250 to 575 pounds, or $395 to $908, are made in Northampton, England. They are available at the brand’s shop on Clifford Street in London, which has been renamed Lutwyche & Lodger.
Here, Lutwyche discusses moving into wholesale and growing his brands.
1. What attracted you to the Lodger brand?
TL: It’s an exciting young brand. It shared many qualities with our own group for the fact that it’s a really celebrated for artisanal skills. And it’s about creating product for today’s world using artisan skills and making sure you use those skills to adapt and produce product that is suitable in appearance, comfort and what people expect.
2. Did you always have an interest in footwear?
TL: Men’s clothing in general. If you are making fabulous suits, they can all be ruined by a terrible pair of shoes. Have I ever imagined myself [in footwear]? When I set up my company as it is now, these things happen. You put yourself in the right position and opportunities come along at the right time. I didn’t necessarily set out on this path, but sometimes the path comes and finds you.
3. What is the main distinction between the brands now?
TL: We are still operating a store in London with Lutwyche clothing and Lodger shoes, but they are now Lutwyche by Lodger. And we are slowly realigning Lodger closer to Lutwyche. When we enter the U.S., it’s the clothing side of the business, which is leading, so the shoes will enter the U.S. under a Lutwyche branding. The shoes will share the same qualities as what we do here, but it makes more sense, rather than have two brands go into America, [to have] one brand.
4. Do you see wholesale as a major opportunity for the brand?
TL: Sure, I think certainly on the clothing side, and the shoes need to be seen as a constituent of the whole brand. We’d [also] love to open a store in New York later this year or early next year and are actively looking for a place there at the moment. Our standalone Lutwyche store encompasses all we have in the collection. And I think there are 20 stores in Europe that we are talking to.
5. Are there any other markets that interest you?
TL: Asia has some great markets, and the Middle East. We’d like to set up 10 stores globally over the next five years. That’s really a question of finding the right partners to go into it with. And the right accounts on the wholesale side to get the brand going out in a cohesive manner.