Our Story

Our Story

 

 

The finely trodden path of John Lobb begins on the Cornish coast of southwest England in 1851. John Lobb, then an aspiring twenty-two year old apprentice, travelled on foot to London from the farm his father worked on, carried by a pair of his handmade boots and a sense of adventure. After gaining passage on a ship to Australia as a member of its’ crew, Lobb gained acclaim in Sydney for making hollow-heeled boots for gold miners, crafted to harbor contraband. On returning to London in 1863, he was named as the bootmaker to the Prince of Wales, and opened his first shop on Regent Street in 1866. 

John Lobb’s son William Hunter Lobb opened the brand’s first Paris shop in 1899. It was when the brand moved to its second Rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré location in 1924, that the label caught the eye of not just international clientele, but Hermès too. Then operating as a family-run harness maker, Hermès provided riding equipment for Parisians. John Lobb, its neighbour, provided the footwear. 

In 1973, Richard Avedon was photographed purchasing a pair of shoes in John Lobb’s space in Hermès’ Rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré store. Marking a new chapter in the brands’ close relationship, John Lobb was acquired by Hermès three years later. John Lobb Ltd, remains family-run, and operates from its 9 St James’s Street location in London.

John Lobb’s first steps as a shoemaker have spurred a now 151-year global shoemaking footprint; one that boasts bespoke ateliers in London and Paris, a By Request service, and a growing ready-to-wear collection. The brand launched its first ready-to-wear offering in 1982, and its shoes are handmade in Lobb’s workshop in Northampton, England.

Opening in 1994, the workshop uses a complex 190-step manufacturing process to create each pair of John Lobb shoes. These durable and expertly crafted styles include the signature ‘William’ monk shoe of 1945, and A/W 2015’s ‘Grove’ chukka boot. They are sold across a worldwide boutique network spanning the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the United States.

Evolving John Lobb’s creative footprint, Paula Gerbase was announced as the first artistic director of the brand in 2014.  Her vision pays tribute to the rural upbringing of its founder, and celebrates Lobb’s unparalleled craftsmanship and extensive bespoke archive. Developing new manufacturing processes, reimagining historical styles and reintroducing a women’s ready-to-wear collection, Gerbase’s intrepid attitude evokes John Lobb’s sense of adventure- a man whose footwear history began with a journey in a pair of handmade boots.