Made In Cameroon: The Brand Shoes By Vidal Produces Hand-made Luxury Shoes.

The VIDAL boot factory was established in Douala in September 2016, offering hand grade shoes for men.
The VIDAL manufacturer keeps the original case that guarantees the durability of its know-how. Combining style, comfort and durability, the specificity of these shoes’ Goodyear fittings dates back to 19th century technology.

Special expertise is required to perform over 100 manual tasks that take about two weeks of work.
As a local Cameroonian company run by young entrepreneurs, VIDAL is committed to maintaining the highest standards of traditional craftsmanship, quality and service that our customers have enjoyed over the years.

We reach out to designer Vidal Kenmoe again to discuss his bespoke high-end shoe line based in Douala. Former British Royal Army soldier Vidal Kenmor has switched his military expertise to his soles.
He continues to advise the military, but now spends most of his time in Douala, Cameroon, making, cutting and polishing sophisticated shoes. In 2016, Kenmoe founded He Shoes by Vidal and insisted on making each pair with the highest level of craftsmanship possible. The overall style of his business makes it clear why these sneakers are in such high demand. Kenmoe thrives in a fashion market where citizens look elsewhere for luxury goods.

Reconnect to learn more about Kenmoe’s motivations, creative process, and other topics.

René Kahn: Where did your desire and passion to make shoes come from?

Vidal Kenmor: My passion for shoes stems mainly from two things. My mother’s love of shoes and fashion, and her time spent in the British Army, where dress was given special attention.

RK: How long have you been making shoes?

VK: I have been making shoes since 2015. She learned the craft of shoes in 2013 and still perfects them today.

RK: What does using local artisans mean to you?

VK: I am happy to contribute in that sense and share my experience with them and vice versa.

RK: It takes 2-4 weeks and over 100 steps to make one shoe. Is this true?

VK: Yes, it takes an average of several weeks to design and manufacture a pair of shoes, but with experience you can cut that time in half.

RK: Where are the majority of your customers based?

VK: My customers are spread all over the world but mostly based in Douala, Cameroon.

Please tell us about the manufacturing process of shoes that boasts high standards of craftsmanship.

It all starts with forming a shoe last suitable for the required design. Once the last is complete, the next step is pattern cutting, clicking the leather (upper), sewing the upper and underside, shaping (also called lasting), and finishing.

RK: Do you partner with raw material distributors to access genuine leather, suede, velvet calfskin and different fabrics?

VK: No, just buy what you need.

AgA by Vidal seems to have appeared after that. Please tell me about the line.

AgA is a line of sandals and accessories. AgA does both men’s and women’s sandals and wants to move to belts, watch straps, wallets, key chains and many other leather goods. It means that you need to meet your customer’s demands at an affordable price.

RK: In 2017 you made a pair of shoes for Samuel Eto’o. Have you worked with other prominent figures?

VK: Yes, we have provided shoes for several diplomats, professional athletes, doctors, artists and politicians.

RK: Other than power outages, what are some issues that stop you from using your sewing machine or finishing band?

VK: Not much these days. I bought a generator so blackouts are no longer an issue. My biggest challenge is the lack of education people have about handmade shoe making.

RK: You live in a country known for the 1% of people who travel abroad for luxury goods, and you make luxury shoes. How is it going? What are the characteristics of your shoes?

My designs are unique and material combinations include leather, suede, denim and African fabrics. The discipline, attention to detail, and primarily comfort and durability that I put into making them are key features.

RK: What else do you hope to accomplish as a young entrepreneur?

VK: As a young entrepreneur, I am looking forward to expanding my brand across borders and becoming the standard for shoemaking around the world.

Kenmoe recently celebrated the second anniversary of Shoes by Vidal in Paris with a greeting and launch of a new suede collection.

Find out more about his new collection, his lines, ShoesbyVidal and AgAbyVidal on Instagram and on his website.

Content courtesy of D fashion magazine & NFH

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