Our magazine interviewed G.Yeruult who was success in the 2018 Shoemaking World Championships representing Mongolia. He won a contest in shoemaking in the classical category. His achievement was quite surprising for Mongolians because shoemaking in Mongolia mostly focuses on the production of traditional shoes.
- First of all, we would like to congratulate you on your brilliant success achieved in the World Championships in Shoemaking in London. Let’s start by talking about that competition. How many countries and contestants participated in it?
- Thank you very much. I took part in the shoemaking World Championships and became the very first Mongolia to compete in this annual contest. I am thrilled to make such an achievement. It is traditionally attended by shoe masters from England, Italy, France, Sweden and Germany. Among Asian countries, four contestants from Japan and I were at the competition.
Shoes made by a German master, who won the competition this year, were truly special. He made the shoe in the Victorian style which is well-known around the globe. This style was a trend in the Victorian era in the 19th century, and it represents a whole fashion era of style for not only shoes, but also clothes from that century. However, the first place holder German guy made the shoe not for wearing, but for exhibiting. Meanwhile, I made my shoe for wearing. As I was triumphant in the World Championships, a path has been opened for Mongolians to succeed in future competitions.
- Did all of the contestants compete with same style?
- Yes. They did. According to the competition format, each contestant shall make a black polished left shoe in the Victorian style. I made my shoes, mainly focusing on technique, while contestants from some countries crafted their shoes in a more stylish and unorthodox way against the given rules. For instance, they dyed the shoe soles, painted a whale on it and attached a horseshoe. The accessories they used are totally banned by the rules.
Before the start of the contest, I had planned to decorate my shoe with an image made of nails, but I dropped this idea because of the rules. Maybe, I was lacking experience such competitions.
- How about the competition’s status? Contestants at the World Championships have probably got to have lots of experience in shoemaking from generation to generation or perhaps they are well known across the world?
- That’s true. Most of the shoemakers inherited this profession from their ancestors down many centuries. The competition’s status is very high. Most of the shoe masters were from the world’s largest and oldest shoe factories dated back to the 1800s.
My factory’s name is “euGo 1934”. This is very meaningful name for us because I still have a Singer sewing machine that was used in 1934 and other tools for shoemaking, which were inherited from my grandfather. Some of the tools are very old, but I still use them. I made the shoe at the World Championships with these tools.
My grandfather was a shoemaker, and he made shoes for Marshal Kh.Choibalsan and Russian military advisers. I also inherited my grandfather’s techniques, technologies and style and I submitted a video to the organiser so as to prove my inherited skills. Through this video, I just wanted to say that Mongolians have a tradition and history of making their own shoes. Unlike me, no one else offered such a video, so I think I was able to give them a vivid understanding about Mongolian tradition and culture.
- What are your thoughts on future style trends for western shoes? A specific trend or style always returns. Is it true?
- It is commonly said that one kind of style spans about 20-25 years. But it always maintains its image. As I said earlier, the German shoemaker made his shoe in the Victorian style that includes pieces of fine art, beauty and even architecture. There is also the Gothic era style. Sharp-roofed buildings in Czech and Spain were reflected in the styles of shoes, but the style of the Victorian era is the most classical one. This style is coming back into fashion today.
- There are probably shoemakers and designers whom you respect. Do you idolise any of them?
- Of course, I do. I respect Karl Lagerfeld, a German designer and photographer. He had been working at the fashion houses of Chanel, Fendi and Chloe, and he is still loyal to his style. Besides him, I adore Jimmy Choo, a Malaysian fashion designer, who is best known for co-founding Jimmy Choo Ltd, which became known for its handmade women’s shoes, and 72 year-old Manolo Blahnik, a Spanish fashion designer.
- Famous designers have usually gained popularity through the specific features in their styles which have differentiated them from others. Likewise, what is the difference and the characteristics of your shoe design?
- I love the classical style. I think the classical genre is an endless source of style to learn from. Moreover, I make shoes with the Good Year British technology. There is no factory in Mongolia yet to make shoes with that technology, so I have an ambitious goal to open the very first such factory in Mongolia.
- I have just found your working table quite unique. Is that a typical design?
- This table was made for use during the World Championships, and I made its design.
I graduated from a school in the former Soviet Union, majoring in shoe shape designing, and then I started to be taught by D.Ariunkhuu from 1989. My teacher had a table given to him by Ganbaatar and Nasmrai. It looks very simple, but it is very ergonomically assembled, and it my idea to make a similar table. My table was made in just a week, after including extra ideas from English designers.
- Thank you for the interview.
Source: Invest Pro Mongolia #2 (2018)