Once in a blue, you wake up, roll out of bed and have a massive opportunity afforded to you. Yes, this actually does happen; the most difficult part about the whole situation is usually simply understanding what that opportunity is.
A few months ago while searching for a signature hard-bottom, Goodyear-welted shoe for the shop, Carson Street ran into a friend at a random trade show. When asked how our SS ’13 inventory was shaping up, we off-the-cuff replied something along the lines of “great, but we really wish we could find a quality mid-range shoe that’s not overly saturating the US market.” At the time, the Aldens and Crocketts of the world were shutting us out due to capacity issues caused by private label manufacturing for big boxes like J. Crew and Ralph Lauren. We were exhausted.
“Funny that you should say that,” our friend replied. “I have a lead on a Spanish company that has been around in one form or another since 1890 that is looking to break back into the North American market. You interested?”
He was speaking about Yanko. And we were listening.
The current incarnation of Yanko is the result of a gnarly bankruptcy of its former parent company which was owned by the Catalan Albaladejo family, current operators of Carmina (of Armoury fame). Internet-based direct-to-customer made in China brand Meermin is also a result of such bankruptcy. Re-launched by then-27-year-old Antonio Llobera in 2007, the Mallorcan shoemaker is now operated as a new entity with renewed verve and interest in producing beautiful, quality bench-made shoes.
While the contemporary history of the post-bankruptcy is fuzzy, a few things are clear: (1) the three companies are completely separate entities with absolutely zero connection to the others; (2) the Albaladejo family has zero interest in the Yanko brand; and (3) Carson Street Clothiers is the exclusive provider of Yanko footwear in the United States.
So come on by and check these puppies out. We are opening with five models, each branded on the insole with a “Yanko for Carson Street Clothiers” gold stamp on two different lasts (one which we casually refer to as the “Nadal,” which holds a sleek, more decidedly Catalan shape, the other the “Silva,” a more muscular, English-inspired (but not so chunky) last), each priced at $550. And while you try to figure out the significance of those nicknames, we’ll fill you in on what’s available:
1. Captoe (no broguing) Oxford in Moro Chocolate with leather sole
2. Semi-Brogue Boxcalf Captoe Oxford in Negro Black with leather sole
1. Long Wing Blucher in Cuero Brown with leather sole
2. Semi-Brogue Boxcalf Captoe Oxford in Cuero Brown with “York” rubber sole
3. Plain Toe Grained Calf in Niger Brown with “Trekker” Vibram sole