INTERVIEW: Carlos Santos, to put shoes on an artisanal luxury

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INTERVIEW: Carlos Santos, to put shoes on an artisanal luxury

Founded in 1942, the house to which Carlos Santos gave his name in 2000 strives to produce shoes around a high and precise craftsmanship. A craftsmanship that is worth at home to be known for its exquisite shoes to wear!

Carlos Santos: Meeting with a Leather specialist

Carlos Santos had an extraordinary destiny At 14, he entered the offices of the Zarco factory to work as an apprentice. At 21, he becomes, for Zarco always, a seasoned buyer who travels to Europe in search of leathers and traditional techniques to make Portuguese crafts shine… In 2000, Carlos Santos bought Zarco and gave it his name — Carlos Santos Shoes was born!

Specializing in the artisanal manufacture of luxury shoes, it is for men that Carlos Santosmakes use of nearly 70 years of history and know-how!

This impeccable luxury is the result of Portuguese craftsmanship, revered by Carlos Santos — a craftsmanship that goes to the limit of perfection, sometimes requiring nearly 200 operations to produce a pair of shoes.

The icon of Carlos Santos’ directory? These may be Sacchetto shoes, always handmade, also known as Bologna shoes. And the beauty of the shoes signed CS revolves around an exquisite leather, true signature of the house of Carlos Santos.

The work around the very anatomy of the shoe, here is another expertise that the house seeks to share with its customers in a site specially dedicated to the art of shoes. A site visible here.

Icon-Icon has thus met the maestro of the masculine shoe, beautiful and timeless!

Hello Carlos Santos, it is a pleasure for Icon-Icon to be able to interview you and share your background and vision with our readers. The first question that comes up is this: what fascinates a 14-year-old child in the world of footwear, until he ends up giving his very name to the company he joined?

I was very young and, at the very beginning of this adventure, my ambition was to provide for my family. We had a lot of difficulties, and I always kept in mind that I will work very hard to support us. Then I wanted my future family not to have a life as difficult as mine. So I chose the shoe world, and the rest is fate.

I gave my name to the brand (editor’s note: Zarco) in order to anchor my person around the history of this brand that gave me and taught me a lot.

How does Portuguese craftsmanship nourish your creation?

In many ways, since I was young. Several years ago, I wanted to pass this legacy on to the younger generations. We created a school, and we decided to hire people with no knowledge of footwear, in order to train them according to our specialization. And this training still exists today.

It takes us about four to five years to train a person. And this makes it possible, in addition to disseminating crafts to young people, to preserve this desire to go further in the field of craft work, since we train our own specialized workforce.

What is the signature of the Carlos Santos expertise?

If there is one thing I have never understood, it is the quality of the leather. I have never authorized the use of lower quality materials. On the outside as on the inside of a Carlos Santos shoe, the focus is on the material—a high-end material that aims less at quantity than the best quality!

A luxury shoe in 3 words…

Fun, memorable and unique.

What is for you the icon of your eponymous house?

There is not a specific model that represents the know-how and style of Carlos Santos, but I think that the Handcrafted line is perhaps the most emblematic.
It is a very high-end line worked around a “handmade” production—a truly exquisiteline as the English say…

Is there an iconic object (not necessarily a shoe!) that set you off on the stirrup?

Not Really. But I can tell you one thing: I try all the shoes we make, just to make sure they fit. I think that’s why our return rate is almost zero!

How do you see the future of your house dedicated to the very beautiful male shoe?

The future of my house, I don’t know. But there’s one thing I’m sure of: I’m sure no one will ever leave our shop without getting a shoe. Because they are timeless, and in this sense we are making the future! To follow on the house’s Instagram…

Interview made by Sassia Blanc