INTERVIEW: Tsuyoshi Ohno of TYE Shoemaker.

TYE shoemaker follows in the tradition of exceptional handmade Japanese shoes. Founded by alums of the Japanese Guild shoe company, the company's shoes are currently only available in Japan. We recently had the chance to speak with Tsuyoshi Ohno, the T in TYE shoemaker. In our experience, TYE represents the best of handmade Japanese shoe making.  Our interview follows below. 

LC: How many individuals founded TYE?
TS: Mr. Tsuyoshi Ohno started with Mr. Yohei Shimamura.

LC: Currently, is still run by the original team?
TS: Yes, but only when they produce some small leather items or bags, Mrs. Ohno (wife of Mr. Ohno) helps.   

LC: When did you decide to become a shoe maker?
TS: Mr. Ohno started to dream about being a shoemaker since the age of the teens.
In his late 20’s, he entered a special school of shoemaking by hand and he was thinking to be a shoemaker after graduation only if he could graduate at the top of his class, otherwise give up the dream and back to be an office worker.

LC: In Japan there appears to be a rich tradition of shoe making. Where does this come from? 
TS: Concerning shoemaking, unfortunately Japanese shoemakers still continue imitating others from outside of Japan.  Only the precision has been raised, but still Japanese may not produce more beautiful ones than Japanese sandals, wooden clogs, or socks.   

LC: Who did you apprentice with and learn your craft?
TS: Mr. Ohno had worked as an apprentice with Mr. Chihiro Yamaguchi, from ‘GUILD’ Tokyo for 5 years.

LC: When did you decide to start your own brand TYE?
TS: It was when Mr. Ohno produced one pair of shoes with Mr. Shimamura, who was a classmate in the shoemaking school and now is his partner. At that time, he could come up with many new ideas as breathing.


LC: In your collection, what is your favorite shoe?
TS: His own simple pair made with whale leather.He has been wearing it more than ten years.

LC: How do customers find you?
TS: Now they only take orders at ICHO.  Customers may find some information and news from their web site or facebook.

LC: Where in the US and Europe can customer find your shoes?
TS: Nowhere so far. Since they receive many contacts from the US and Europe, they are now strongly dreaming about a trunk show abroad in near future.
LC: Which brands and products do you admire? 
TS: Hermes. MOYNAT