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  • Creating a community to advance one-of-a-kind handmade leather arts
  • Post author
    Francine Moo-Young
  • kicksshiborishoessneakers

Creating a community to advance one-of-a-kind handmade leather arts

Creating a community to advance one-of-a-kind handmade leather arts
In the summer of 2018, I launched the Moo-Young Concept Shop, realizing my dream of creating a space where I can experiment and advance the artistry of leather while supporting sustainable fashion. My vision was to create an outlet for people to directly support the artists who are pushing the boundaries of handmade, bespoke fashion, while allowing them the opportunity to create a product (shoes!) that’s customized to be as unique as they are.

At the Moo-Young Concept shop, I created a leather wall with several hides dyed via different techniques and with different colors and patterns, collaborating with customers to hand select the leather used to make their custom sneakers. The reception was amazing - for the first time, people were able to feel the uniqueness of each hand dyed leather and choose from colors and patterns that spoke to them. The pure joy that I saw from their speechless expressions filled me with joy and left me wanting to expand into new territories and push the boundaries of fashion even further. The problem was - just dyeing the leather and preparing the pieces took more than a full day and each pair required 6-10 hours to make. This was not sustainable, given the amount of people who wanted to join our community.


Moo-Young Concept Shop custom leather arts
Our leather wall allows patrons to visit the Moo-Young Concept Shop and hand-pick high quality and completely unique materials that speak to them.

That’s when I came across a small collective of artisans in Los Angeles. Several months of phone calls and emails led me to visit and during that trip, we made our first production sample. I met Richard who worked with me in preparing the pieces for a smooth process, further instilling within me the importance of beginning with high-quality leather. We spent nearly 2 hours that day preparing, glueing and stitching to create colorful panels that allowed the uniqueness of the leather to truly shine.

Moo-Young handmade leather fashion stitching

Our hand dyed leather is hand cut with precision and finesse.

These, we took to Sophia, who prepared the leather to be shaped, deftly using her hands to create recognizable shapes that would one day turn into one of a kind kicks. What followed was perhaps my highlight of the trip - Armando - who I could have watched for days. With a handful of nails set firm in his mouth, he carefully worked the leather around the forms that would create the sneaker shape, his decades of experience apparent with every rhythmic movement. Sure a machine could do this, but no machine will ever match Armando’s eye for detail and ability to carefully manipulate the material into something truly beautiful. Keep your machines, I’ll take Armando any day.

Armando creates bespoke leather sneakers for Moo-Young

Armando shows decades of experience while using traditional cobbler techniques, shaping the leather around a traditional last.

At the penultimate step, the formed sneaker was sent to Carlos, who took preparing the soles from something seemingly mechanical into the elevation to into an art form. He meticulously assembled each pair as if it were his own, with no detail left unnoticed. Finally, it went back to Richard, where it all started, who put the final stitches on the soles and provided quality control, with nothing leaving his hands until he felt it was perfect. 



Carlos shows the beauty of efficient motion when removing the almost finished shoe from the last.

Here at Moo Young, we’re not just a shop. We search the world to find the highest quality and most unique materials, bringing them to the USA for work by our master craftsmen and women. With each purchase, you join a community of artisans and support the real life people who are advancing the handmade leather arts and preserving generational knowledge. We invite you to stop by our Concept Shop and have a conversation with us.
Visit our Inaugural Patron Event at https://www.moo-young.com/ to learn how you can support the advancement of the leather arts and get your hands on our one-of-a-kind sneakers.
  • Post author
    Francine Moo-Young
  • kicksshiborishoessneakers