Red Wing Shoes and Levi’s Made & Crafted

Pre-Fashion's Night Out Interviews

  • September 6, 2012 |
  • Style

“You look at brands like Red Wing and Levi’s,” says Ayrun Dismuke of Red Wing Shoes, “And these are brands that have history behind them. They’re staples of American culture — and they’re a part of our heritage.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Levi’s Made & Crafted and Red Wing, the two brands we’ve partnered with for our Fashion’s Night Out 2012 event at Haberdash, have that perfect combination of heritage and timelessness that Haberdash is all about. Take a look at our Q&A with Ayrun Dismuke on Red Wing Shoes, followed by a Q&A with Ben Starmer from Levi’s Made & Crafted.


In 1905, Charles H. Beckman saw a growing need in the workforce: a need for durable, comfortable footwear for the mill workers, miners, engineers, and other hard-working individuals. “The whole brand comes from that American work ethic,” says Ayrun Dismuke, who’s been working with and representing Red Wing Shoes over the last few years, “It’s a product that captures the American worker. It preserves our culture, and it allows people to see where we came from, what our backbone was back then.”

where does the Heritage line come from?

“All of these boots really had a purpose in time. Our engineering boot, the Iron Ranger, was actually a boot that was worn by coal miners. When you look at the collection, when you look at these boots — you can kind of get that feel. The reinforced cap toe, the style of it… you can look at the Iron Ranger and tell that it must have been used in mining.”

where does Red Wing source its leather from?

“We use all of our own leather. Red Wing owns S.B. Foot Tanning Company, which was founded in 1872. The tannery is also in Red Wing, right down the road from the facility where we create all of our boots… The tannery is a really interesting place because you get to see really how leather is treated and changed, all those things that you never really think about when you’re wearing leather shoes. It’s a process, it really is.” Click here for a quick tour of S.B. Foot Tanning Co. in Red Wing.

so, everything’s made right there in Red Wing, MN?

“Everything that you see on the finished product, from start to finish, is all done in Red Wing, Minnesota. All the boots are made by hand, using a Goodyear welt stitch. It’s a process that has become a bit archaic, but it makes a boot that you know is not going to fall apart.”

final thoughts on Chicago style?

“I can honestly tell you that Chicago stands alone – it has this really sustainable culture… Chicago has its own thing going; either coast just really accentuates what we already have.”

Levi’s Made & Crafted

“Anyone can manufacture a pair of jeans, but only we have the 501,” says Ben Starmer of Levi’s, “This is the original, riveted jean, from which pretty much everything else has been derived.” Each pair of Levi’s Made & Crafted is a modern take on Levi’s extensive, 150-year history – a history that’s been meticulously cataloged in Levi’s infamous San Francisco archives. According to Ben, “With all of that heritage and history to build upon, we kind of hold a tension between the past and future with Made & Crafted.”

what is Made & Crafted all about?

“Made & Crafted is Levi’s pinnacle brand; these are really our most premium, elevated products. What sets it apart, first and foremost, is the denim. The denim we use is phenomenal, from Cone Denim’s White Oak factory in Greensboro, our sourced from Italy or Japan. The construction details are really where I see it standing apart. Each pair is individually hand-cut and hand-sewn on a single-needle machine and is hand-finished. And that just results in an elevated, refined, sophisticated silhouette.”

how did you end up at Levi’s?

“I’ve been obsessed with flea markets and vintage clothing for as long as I can remember, and it finally allowed me to get into working for my favorite brand, which is Levi’s, and working specifically with this type of product. It’s all about the details and the craftsmanship. These are inspired, classic looks, but with a modern touch.”

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