Stefano Bemer, from a hole in a shoe to excellence

Stefano Bemer Firenze San Niccolò

Once, during an interview, Stefano Bemer said he first saw his destiny through a hole in one of his shoes, as he wondered who could fix it since he lived in a small town with no cobblers. He was eighteen years old, and figured that would just have to be his job. Thus, in 1983, Bemer embarked on the journey that destiny had planned for him – and kept going until his premature death, in 2012.

He learned to fix broken shoes and to make new ones working side by side with old Florentine craftsmen. He even went to London to the workshops of the historical company John Lobb Bootmaker.

In three incredible decades, he went from being a shoemaker in San Frediano – the Florentine district immortalized in Vasco Pratolini’s novels – to creating custom handmade shoes with the help of three talented Japanese assistants. The three ateliers he opened in Florence attracted international celebrities such as actor Andy Garcia, singer Julio Iglesias, architect Paul Tange, and designer Tanaka Ikko. His workshop in San Frediano even accepted a very special student – actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who studied shoemaking there for almost a year, in 2009.

In 2013, the Bremer brand was acquired by Scuola del Cuoio di Santa Croce; to mark the occasion, the new owners opened a new workshop inside the deconsecrated church of San Niccolò.

And so Bemer’s journey – from the humble beginnings of a broken shoe – continues.

Photos via:

June 4, 2014

Stefano Bemer, from a hole in a shoe to excellence

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