An Interview with Rezso Kuti

In an interview with Tom Brone, Tom mentioned that his mentor in dress shoe industry and best friend is Rezso Kuti.

Rezso Kuti (left) and Justin FitzPatrick (right)

He is best known as Vass’s sales manager. The fame of Vass nowadays is attributed to Rezso.


In 2020, he launched his own brand, Passus, a very high-end handmade brand.

Passus Roger

It is a great pleasure talking with him.

When talking about Vass, almost everyone knows your name, did you have any memorable experiences there?

Yes, I must thank Jesper (Jesper Ingevaldsson, Shoegazing’s blogger) for Vass’s rapid growth, because his Super Trunk Show made more people aware of Vass.

Jesper Ingevaldsson,Credit to Claymoor’s List

The first Super Trunk Show held in Stockholm let Vass come into everyone’s sight.

Rezso Kuti was introducing Vass to audience in 2016 Super Trunk Show Stockholm

The Super Trunk Show in London gave Vass the widest reputation, and we immediately opened up the market in Western Europe and even the world.

Vass on 2017 London Super Trunk Show

You are so important to Vass, why did you choose to leave?

Good question. Frankly, because Vass is a family business, opportunities are very limited for people who are not part of the family.

Rezso Kuti and Vass family

But I have to say, it was a very good learning experience there.

Besides I wanted to own my own brand, so I chose to move forward.

After leaving Vass, you joined Heinrich Dinkelacker, a German brand that is produced in Vass’s hometown, Budapest, Hungary, so why did you join the company?

Heinrich Dinkelacker

I wanted to build my own brand, and at Vass I had enough experience in marketing, and I wanted to gain experience in production, so I joined Heinrich Dinkelacker as the production manager in the factory.

Rezso Kuti working in Heinrich Dinkelacker

Although not my job role, I also help expand into international markets, especially Asia and the United States.

Your experience and reputation should make many shoe factories want to recruit you, why did you choose to establish your own brand?

On the one hand, this is what I have always dreamed of, and now that I have experience in both marketing and production, I feel that it is time to be able to stand alone.

On the other hand, after Vass and Heinrich Dinkelacker, there was nothing world-renowned and top-quality companies that made me interested in joining.


You know everything about the footwear industry in Budapest, why did your own brand Passus go to Romania?

Actually, Passus is made by Hungarians! Because there is a considerable Hungarian minority in Transylvania. Our shoemakers are familiar with traditional shoemaking techniques.

Image result for Transylvania hugarian
In fact, Transylvania was part of Hungary and only after 1918 it belonged to Romania

Our philosophy is to pursue the ultimate tradition, using the oldest technologies and tools. Some of our tools are even over a hundred years old.

Very fine and neat stitches on welt

We use wooden pegs around the waist.

Classic outsole

Budapest also has a lot of shoemakers, but not many know these techniques, so this is one of our strengths.

Fiddle back waist and wood pegging

Even though my partner is American, we see ourselves as a European company that pursues heritage. (The partner is Gabor Halmos, an American of Hungarian descent, who runs online boutique Sartoriale, in the United States.)

Cofounder of Passus, Gabor Halmos, owner of Sartoriale

How is Passus positioned in the market?

Our price is $1,000, but the quality of our shoes, especially the workmanship, far exceeds those produced in the UK, Italy, Portugal and France at the same price.


I don’t think we have many competitors at this price point.

Who developed Passus lasts?

We developed the shoe last with an Italian company, and then our own shoemaker made some improvements.

I think Passus is more like Saint Crispin’s than Vass, do you agree?

Saint Crsipin’s 305

You’re so right!

Passus Winston

Another brand, Petru & Claymoor, is also produced in Transyvania, have you heard of them?

Of course, and I’m very familiar with Mircea Claymoor, when I worked for Vass and Heinrich Dinkelacker, he wrote a lot about us on his blog.

Mircea Cioponea

Good luck to him.

Which country is your primary target?

The United States, then Asia.

Passus Andre

If people could only describe Passus in one sentence, what would you expect them to say?

Unique shoes, exquisite details, great workmanship.

A few words to Chinese shoe lovers.

Your love of dress shoes has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, keep it up! I hope you enjoy my shoes and will enjoy wearing them in the future.

Passus Andrew