Taiwan is not famous for its dress shoe industry, and no shoemakers have been heard of internationally. When it comes to buying shoes, Oakroom is the destination that focuses on selling high-end men’s shoes, and Edward Green is most sought after.
The most recognized shoemaker globally is Graziat, which will be introduced today.
I had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with founder Wilbur Tu.
Could you tell us about yourself?
I studied art, and my hobby of creation began at a young age, I liked to draw with an atom pen on desks, walls, and in the classroom, which added a lot of trouble. Only after entering the Academy of Fine Arts did I formally receive art education of watercolor, oil painting, drawing, graphic and commercial design.
What was the reason why you became fond of dress shoes?
I am often asked by the media, but I can’t answer accurately, and I don’t want to answer indiscriminately. So the answer in the past was always to say I just like dress shoes.
Now I will answer that for the feeling of shoes, like first love, there is no reason, just I like it.
I love all the products that have been carefully designed, the beauty of the proportions, and the shoes are the first products in my collection.
Graziat is the brand where I materialize the ideal in my heart.
How did you start the Graziat brand?
I want to turn the beauty of my heart into reality, and that’s how it begins.
Where does the name Graziat come from? If you want others to remember the brand, what is it?
Graziat means “grace”, and it contains the first letter of my last name, T.
Being grateful and humble is my valued outlook on life. The metaphor of grace is to cherish nature, the treasure that the world gives to creators, to use with gratitude and respect.
I didn’t think about what I hoped others would remember, but I wanted everyone at Graziat to be happy and enjoyable.
Could you tell us about your team?
Graziat currently has only me and another employee, we cover routine design, production, meetings with Italy, meetings with workshops, serving VIPs and many chores, etc., one neurotic and the other with neuropathy.
Justin FitzPatrick has a great respect of Graziat. How is Graziat developing internationally?
Thank you so much for your love of Graziat, it was my pleasure.
Graziat is always evolving, and I’ve always thought it could be better.
Now there are many customers in Europe, the United States and Japan, and I gradually feel that Graziat’s potential is higher than I expected, but I do not particularly pursue performance, and I am satisfied with the creative sense in my heart.
Seeing that in your introduction, only 7% leather is selected to make your shoes, which is a very high cost. What is the reason for setting such high standards?
I think it has something to do with my art education and personality.
In the creation of artistic painting, 100% emotional investment in the creation, sincerely hope for perfection, so paper and tools are quite important.
However, perfection is built on imperfection, Patina is a process that magnifies the strengths and weaknesses of leather.
I have purchased Crust Calf from Italy, Germany, and France, and I have pursued the ultimate in surface pores, fibers, and usage to achieve the smoothness of a jade bracelet when I created Patina.
The 7% figure comes from the tannery, and the current figure has reached 20%, which will fluctuate with the seasons and the process of the tannery.
Mainland customers know very little about Taiwanese brands, can you introduce them on your behalf?
There are not many footwear brands in Taiwan, and there are many factors that influence the birth of new brands.
Beginning in 1988, Taiwan’s manufacturing industry moved to China Mainland, and in 2000 to Southeast Asia.
The market for domestic demand in Taiwan is not large. In recent years, new designer brands have been born one after another, but it is difficult, and I think it will be more complete to introduce it after a few years of maturity.
Who are your mentors and friends in this industry?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a mentor, and all the details of craftsmanship and leather expertise are self-employed.
I have always wanted to close the store temporarily for further study, and maybe one day I feel it, and it is not necessary to close the store.
Thank you to everyone who loves and appreciates Graziat, you are all my friends.
Are you interested in developing the mainland market? A few words for shoe lovers on the mainland.
I love the guests of Graziat, my heart is full of gratitude, no matter wherever they are from, as long as I can serve the guests, it is a gift from God, thank you for your love, it is my honor.
I hope this can make more leather shoe lovers know about Graziat, and also let us become friends and have more frequent communication in the future.
No problem, thanks, and wish you and I will be all the best, peacelove.
Wilbur is truly an artist. Although I think to a certain extent that a shoemaker is also an artist, it is not as pure as him. Not only whether there are more economic considerations, but his only motivation is in creation.
I look forward to him bringing more beautiful experiences to everyone.