TF Slack have been making shoes in London since the 1970s. They started off from a Nottinghill base and have since moved on to being stocked at a number of leading stores including the Natural Shoe Store. They have also maintained their Nottinghill location in a move that they have solidified by being involved with the upkeep of training and industry knowledge. Partnering with Cordwainers college they have made a significant effort in backing English manufacturing of footwear. All of their shoes are made in their Nottinghill factory as of 2009 and they have some old specialist machinery which they've put to good use.
Beginning the brand near Glastonbury festival in 1976 the other theme that has been predominant for the brand is music. Getting their first start at the festival they made shoes for a range of musicians but most notably the great David Bowie. Check out this incredibly candid picture of him wearing the shoes in Japan at the end of the post.
I had the fortune to have a pair made for me in the colours of my choosing at an event at the Natural Shoe Store. I went for a natty pair of green suede and black ones. Having worn them out and about and on a trip to see my parents I can say that whilst I didn’t quite manage to capture my inner Bowie I did look, in my own opinion, really good. The trick for comfort with these derby shoes is a double knot as the lace is a little bit waxy to start off with. Walking around a local park in them they light, durable and comfortable which I will admit to not anticipating all that much.
The bespoke options are for the sole, leather trip on the upper and suede and whilst they take a while to make they're worth the time and the money; a modern classic. The store are continuing to offer the original David Bowie shoe in the black with blue trim that the thin white duke is wearing below.