When London (by way of Australia) bespoke shoemaker Sebastian Tarek began making shoes in high school, his grandmother let him in on a little secret: he had been preceded in his journey by 18 generations of family cordwainers.

After years of schooling—including at the famed Cordwainers College in Hackney, London—he eventually ended up settling into a role as a bottom-maker for some of Savile Row’s most prestigious bespoke firms, both in an in-house capacity and also as an piece-work outworker.

Sebastian Tarek—Bespoke Shoemaker Sebastian Tarek—Bespoke Shoemaker Sebastian Tarek—Bespoke Shoemaker Sebastian Tarek For Hostem—Bespoke Shoemaker

Today, Sebastian continues his outwork…work…while also creating his own bespoke shoes and boots for clients, as well as select ready-to-wear collections for retailers in Japan and elsewhere. While the outwork keeps his skills sharp and focused, Sebastian’s personal shoemaking style is a raw, anti-elegant (“I don’t want the act of shoemaking to be the attempt to replicate and perfect something a machine can do”) exploration of UK-based materials, all sprung from a love of old worn denim, centuries-old Japanese farmhouses, and possible overuse of the word “singularity”.

To top it all off, Sebastian’s about as delightfully affable and humble as people in any profession get, and there are legitimately few people more enjoyable to chat about shoes and shoemaking with. So I did that, which you can listen to below!

I also highly recommend watching our Shoemaking Tool Time episode with Sebastian, in which he tells the tales of his most useful, meaningful, and beloved cordwainer’s tools.

And you can listen to this and every Shoecast episode on:

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Check out the Shoecast archives right here

Or watch the episodes—and plenty of other wonderful stuff—that we’ve also put on our YouTube channel

This episode was sponsored by Grant Stone

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