Japanese designer Rei Tanaka has studied in London College of Fashion where he got infatuated with British tailoring. Coupled with his long-term fixation on leather, this interest led to the creation of one of the world’s most unique artisanal leather brands, Ierib.

Based in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, Tanaka hand crafts bags, shoes and jackets from various materials (including mud-dyed linen, Japanese paper and cotton), but primarily from his favourite culatta, a cut of horse leather that comprises the rear, the belly middles and the hind shanks and has an aged quality, natural scarring and a characterful matte texture. His sculptural pieces look uncannily “alive” even when they are not worn but simply resting on the floor; this is key to Ierib’s aesthetic. Perhaps this animate quality is due to the amount of handwork that goes into each piece: the inner soles of the shoes, for instance, are hand-dyed to prevent the colour from “bleeding” onto the wearer’s socks.

Ierib shoes might be especially interesting for customers interested in buying Guidi shoes, a1923 boots, or Layer-0 derbies and boots. 

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€ 828