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West Coast Shoe Co. is giving ladies the boot.
After nearly a century of creating rough-and-tumble workboots, the Scappoose, Ore.-based family business is going a bit more feminine with the spring debut of
Van Spijker, an artisan collection of women’s footwear.
“I wanted to play on the old way of cobbling, such as the brass nails on the soles, and show what shoemaking can be,” said Roberta Shoemaker, CEO of West Coast Shoe (also known as Wesco). “This line will be very fashionable, but won’t wear out easily and will carry over year after year.”
Styles include boots in varying heights and one shootie, all priced between $1,200 and $1,800. They will highlight trends from decades of shoemaking, using leather-covered buttons, brass tackle, functioning buckles and thick cowhide dyed in neutral tones and embellished with pops of color. Aimed at high-end boutiques and shops, the collection also will be available on a custom basis.
“This is for a customer who really appreciates art, tradition and beautifully made objects that are unique,” Shoemaker said. “But it’s also about function. The buckles buckle, the buttons button and the materials are substantial.”
Tapping into her family’s heritage, Shoemaker named the six-style line Van Spijker — aptly meaning “with nails” — after her great-grandmother. And the styles — called Jentje, Klaasje, Harmina, Fenna, Johanna — are named for relatives from five generations.
“I didn’t want to give just any old name to the boots,” said Shoemaker, whose grandfather founded the company in 1918. “This is a family business, and I wanted to have that connection and tie the Van Spijker [name] to the Wesco heritage.”
The Design Team
Shoemaker, who began working for her grandfather’s company 37 years ago, tapped Wesco cobbler Carrie Wilson to help her design and build the collection.
Built in Wesco’s Oregon factory by artisan bootmakers, the Van Spijker collection features leathers, hardware and buckles sourced throughout the U.S.
Van Spijker debuts at WSA this week, but a few retailers got an early look. “Stores that carry [the line] will have a little treasure,” said Jane Adams, owner of Jane’s Vanity in Portland, Ore. “The detail is amazing; the leathers are sumptuous; and it’s something you could wear all your lifetime. It seems old world, but is still very contemporary.”