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Heschung & Friends — Mar 9 2016

Shoe portrait : Crocus

With the mounting popularity of his influential blog Shoegazing, 33.4k followers on Instagram and his consultancy work, Jesper Ingevaldsson has earned himself a name in the world of quality footwear. In this interview, conducted at his Scandinavian-style home in Gothenburg, the shoe specialist spills the beans on the birth of his all-consuming passion for shoes, his encounter with Heschung and the success of Shoegazing–Sweden’s top shoe blog–which now enjoys a worldwide readership.

How did your passion for shoes occure?

I’ve always been nerdy about everything, I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge. When I get interested in something, I become passionate, I want to find out everything there is to learn about it. This satisfies my curiosity and feeds my passion. I have been literally fascinated by areas as diverse as professional cycling–Iv’e even been a professional biker–, music and even cats! Now it’s shoes that have captured my interest.

Why?

When I started working, I had to adapt my style of dressing, to wear more grown-up clothes. It was while looking for a stylish overcoat that I started following fashion blogs and Swedish websites like Manolo. This sparked my curiosity and made me want to try a pair of Goodyear-welted shoes. I quickly fell for a pair of Loake derbies, a classic here in Sweden. And that’s where it all started. Since then, I have bought only handmade shoes and have developed a passion for the art of shoemaking. It’s the craftsmanship and materials that fascinate me the most.

 And what have you learned?

From my point of view, quality of workmanship and aesthetic appeal are paramount, as they reflect the brand’s know-how. I also find that I’m paying more and more attention to comfort, which was only a secondary factor for me when I first started this journey.

When and why did you create the Shoegazing blog?

It was my wife who suggested the idea to me about three and a half years ago. I was spending a tremendous amount of time on the Internet researching shoes in detail and there weren’t really any blogs that satisfied my thirst for knowledge, so she suggested that I create my own blog to document my search. It was also a way to fulfil my aspiration to write, a desire I had harboured ever since my time as a radio journalist. When I started, I was pleasantly surprised by how fast the writing process went… it came naturally, which allowed me to concentrate on searching for content, testing products and researching new topics to write about.
I felt there was something lacking in the Swedish blog world. Nonetheless, when I started out, I didn’t think I would have many followers. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the success of Shoegazing.

Who is it aimed at?

Anyone interested in shoes. I try to deal with the various topics in detail while at the same time keeping it simple to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. My goal is to reach both shoe aficionados as well as curious amateurs. Having said that, my editorial angle is becoming increasingly specialised because the basic issues have been covered already.

What message would you like to convey?

That quality is paramount, and matters for a reason. Good quality shoes ensure comfort, define your look and how your feet feel, but are also beneficial for the environment, the animal kingdom, society, and, in the longterm, even on your wallet!
My blog plays an investigatory and informative role.
To my mind, an informed consumer is a better consumer, who will be able to avoid some of the traps that newbies tend to fall into… as I did myself years ago!
Shoegazing deals with technical aspects, with traceability and commitments.
The bottom line is, the more information you have about what you are buying, the better choices you will make.

What inspires you?

Artisans, craftsmen. I’m fascinated by know-how. I like to meet the people behind the brand, go out and make contact with the people in the trade, do interviews.
Also, I’ve been working with Italigente (an Italian/Swedish brand) as a consultant. And this year, I’m going to be collaborating with Kavat, a footwear brand with Ecolabel certification. While continuing with my blog, of course.

Tell us how you came across Heschung.

The first time I heard about you was on the StyleForum website. Someone had talked about a pair of boots of yours that I found to be robust and durable. When I saw and wore them for the first time, it confirmed my initial impression regarding the hard-wearing quality and stylish elegance of your products (like the Crocus Anilcalf Café model, which I now own).

These are qualities that you admire?

Absolutely! And the fact that, in addition to being very robust, your shoes are really comfortable, which is quite rare.

What does Heschung symbolise for you?

It has a very consistent brand identity. Heschung has significant historical roots while at the same time being contemporary and in tune with the times. The presence of nature and the location in Alsace are very inspiring.

What is your favourite pair of Heschung shoes?

My pair of Crocus Anilcalf Café. The fact that they are reverse-welted gives me the feeling of having all the brand’s know-how literally at my feet! I know how much work and mastery is involved in this technique. I appreciate the true worth of these shoes’ hard-wearing quality.

Which stage of the shoemaking process do you find most interesting?

The finishing stage.