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August 30

The Craft of Miista: Getting down to production

By Miista Blogs

We are - as you may have noticed - rather proud to have our shoes made in Spain. To give you a behind the scenes look we asked Alice to document our factory process, from pattern cutting, to the action on the factory floor.

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THE CRAFT OF MIISTA: THE FACTORY TRIP

Some of you may know already but Miista now produces all of our beauties in Spain. Spain has for decades been hot on the heels of Italy in terms of the quality of shoe craftsmanship. But before the financial crisis, it was difficult to produce in Spain AND keep selling at Miista prices.

That's all changed. Miista now is made in a number of top notch Spanish factories.

So recently, we sent our resident photoblogger - Alice of Alicepoint - who brings you great street style and inspirations from the eyes of a true Miista, to Spain. The brief: To visit our factories and document their processes doing what she does best..taking beautiful photos!

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Skins waiting to be graded

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THE LEATHER FACTORY

Here, leathers are processed. There are four stages here: preparatory stages, tanning, crusting, and finishing - a lot of stuff happens in order to make leathers of excellent quality.

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Skins waiting to be graded

Tanning Barrels of spinning dooooom

Leather is made from..

Pressing the skins for equal weights

Rolly rolly roll

Rainbow please

All measured out for consistency

Spray finishing

Swatches card

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THE SHOE LAST FACTORY

All shoes are made on a Last. This is a form of the style of the shoe and will determine the shape, comfortability and the silhouette of the shoe. Traditionally, shoe last were made form hardwoods such as Maple or Beech, but the modern day shoe lasts are made from high density plastics. Every size and style of shoe needs it own last - one won't cover all sizes! So one style made in a standard size run will have 6 pairs of lasts, and then of course more lasts so many of the same shoe can be made in one batch.

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Worms!

Shaving the worm!

Making it into a pair of beautiful lasts.

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It starts off its life as a big chunk of plastic, which is put in a machine and turned and carved and sanded down slowly. Before it is called a Last it is called a Worm - after many painstaking measurements and hand adjustments, the 'tail' of the worm can be sanded off, and it becomes a Last, ready to be used in production!

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worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm ..worm

worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm worm ..worm

Goodbye wormtails!

Bloke.. or brogue

Sanding it down just right!

Sanding it down just right!

Like a sweet shop!

I'll have a mixed bag please!

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THE PATTERN CUTTER

The pattern cutter will take Laura's designs, apply them to the Last, and then apply that in turn onto paper. It's not as simple as it looks - footwear is all about taking measurements off here, adding them there, and then applying it to the foot and avoiding all those places that hurt! Any errors in pattern cutting can seriously effect how the design comes out and can make a shoe either like resting ones feet in a velvet lined cloud or like clomping round on razorblades.

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This guy!

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Did you know the seam allowance for footwear is 1mm? That doesn't leave a lot of room for mistakes. Pattern cutters are extremely skilled at what they do and it takes years to learn this incredible art. When the samples are created, they come to the office in London and are then assessed on our fit model, Johanna, who is a perfect size 4. Johanna will tell us where she feels uncomfortable, what needs to be a little different, and also what feels good and doesn't need to change. All this infomation is then sent to our Technical team to go back to the pattern cutter if needed. Some times shoes can have alterations 2 or 3 times before they are perfect - that's what we are all about. We work extremely hard to make our shoes comfortable as well as looking great!

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Alot of hard pattern cutting work went into these beauties.

Sooo easy to cut your fingers off. But he doesn't, because he is a PRO.

Spec! Nothing like the ones they taught you to do at Shoe school? I know. This is the right way!

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THE CLICKER

As soon as thats sorted, and all the leathers have arrived from the factory, the next step is called Clicking. This is an extremely important job and involves a high amount of skill. It is called clicking because of the sound of the special knives used for cutting leather - clicking knives - made a 'clicking' sound when they would touch the metal pattern pieces. Not many factories use metal pattern pieces these days as they are bulky and heavy and take up alot of room, but instead they are laser cut by computer. It varies from factory to factory.

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The art of the clicking knife!

Delicate hands for precise movements!

The leather pieces are then checked and given to a Skiver, which is the person in charge of changing the weights of the pieces so that they are suitable for the part of the shoe.

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THE CLOSER

When all those things are done - we are ready for the closer. The Closer is the person who assembles the pieces and stitches and glues them all together (1mm allowance remember! Some serious skill!) so they are ready for the next process - Lasting.

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Fixing up the uppers

Getting rid of glue, pressing seams etc

Don't they look lovely?

No more hanging threads for you, mr shoe.

Beauty!

Off she goes...

Nom nom nom!

Best!

We promise this floor was clean.

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THE LASTER

The lasting process is very precise - remember they have to do everything the same twice for a pair of shoes! The upper is stretched over the last, and the sole is added. The heel goes on last. The shoes move down the production line and are heat moulded, glued, and polished.

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now the real fun starts!

Getting ready for those insole boards...

A perfect fit!

Pick me pick me!

Or me! me!

Perfection

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FINISHING AND QUALITY CONTROL

The finished shoes! Each pair will be examined thoroughly and given a polish and a clean. They will be controlled for quality and then approved for dispatch.

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Yay!

Making those Miista's perfect

Towers of joy

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