When I founded this magazine, I wanted to write and share stories, not just articles. Sometimes the stories come easy, sometimes not. Sometimes the stories just write themselves as is the case with British cordwainer LANX, specifically its founder and creative director, Marco Vaghetti, better known as ‘Marv’. His is a peculiar history involving seemingly disparate subjects; Michelangelo, Cambodian monks, sumo wrestling, and of course, shoemaking. In fact, it is these very same dissimilar elements that led to the creation of LANX. Marv and company are the reason I’ve promised myself to never again purchase popular commercial brands.
Prior to my discovery of LANX, I had weeks before purchased a Kenneth Cole boot, and a Stacy Adams monk strap shoe. They’re not horrible, mind you, but situated on my shoe rack between shoes I’ve since purchased from other shoemakers, they look a little disappointing. LANX opened up a whole new world previously unknown to me, and I’ve come to realize how badly I’ve been treating my feet for so long. Their Park boot was my first experience, and I’ve just received their Kenyon leather and suede brogue, just days before writing this article. Both are designed and manufactured for comfort, and feel great on my feet. They also draw a lot of attention, which I hadn’t expected, especially on the busy streets of New York City. It made me self-conscious, but at the end of the day, I felt like a million bucks.
Seeing as Marv is responsible for the awesomeness that has become my shoe rack during the past two months, it only made sense that he would be the first shoemaker I ever interview for Kingdomz X Magazine.
It’s one thing to have a desire to do a thing, and quite another to do that thing and do it well on your first go. How confident were you that you would be successful upon launching your company?
Not at all to be honest. Had many a sleepless nights in the 12 months leading up to the launch. Think I threw in the towel about three times. I did believe in the brand, I felt I’d done a very good job with the creative work and tone of voice, but developing the shoes was very tough. Thankfully it all came together!
Within the span of six months, you traveled to ten Asian countries, in search of inspiration. Could you have not traveled elsewhere for this inspiration?
Yes 100%, I still plan to. Since getting back from Asia we’ve been to Berlin and Stockholm looking for inspiration. In March we plan to visit Portugal. I chose Asia for a few reasons; it’s a beautiful place, the beer’s cheap, plenty of sunny beaches, and people in the footwear industry are keen to meet western people/brands. Trying to get a UK factory to stop and teach you the ins and outs for a few days is almost impossible, in Asia they’re very welcoming and want to help.
Before LANX became a reality, what were you wearing on your feet? What did you look for in footwear?
Very good questions! Mostly hand-me-downs from my father, he is much more fashionable than I am. I like casual footwear, I’ve got plenty of Adidas trainers and I’ve just started wearing Palladium shoes, very comfy. We’ve started developing LANX sneakers and trainers, and we’re hoping to launch them later this year.
From what I understand, the designs you currently produce are items that will no longer remain available after awhile (you’ve already sold out of many of your styles, in fact). I’m assuming your plan is to produce only so many styles at one time, then move on to the next. Is this correct?
That is correct. So we keep pushing ourselves to come up with new designs, and we decided to only make Limited Release products, so once they’ve sold out that’s it, never seen again! I like being creative and testing new concepts, so having to create two new ranges each year is an exciting challenge.
Posts at your social accounts imply something to do with New York. What’s that about, if I may ask?
I visited New York in 2017 when I was still learning about shoes and developing the LANX brand. My five days in the Big Smoke generated the creativity and inspiration for our SS19 collection, which we are currently designing, sampling and testing. As you can see from the photos via the link below, I don't always look at existing footwear or fashion to inspire LANX, it is usually the places, people and nights out that inspire my creativity the most. New York was great fun, and I’m really pleased with the SS19 designs, which we can't wait to show you.
One question I must ask before wrapping up: How do you wrestle a sumo? They weigh like 40 Stone, do they not?
I play rugby, so I’m used to wrestling with big men!
Short interview, you say? Yes. The reason being, there’s a marvelous (no pun intended) book that chronicles Marv’s adventures in Asia, and his founding of LANX. I suggest you head to their site ASAP, before they’ve completely sold out of their current collection. They also make socks, which seem to sell out fast as well.
Follow this link for a peek at Marv’s adventures in New York City, which inspired his forthcoming SS19 collection.