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April 08

Behind The Scenes: Miista Production In Spain SS14

By Ella Miista
Carrying on from the previous post, we've now collected the videos from our SS14 collection. You guys weren't after just the beautiful footwear but also the craft behind it. As we grew more familiar with the Instagram video feature, we were showing much more of what happened in the factories as we readied ourselves for the launch of our Aquascapism collection. Now your interest, enthusiasm and questions have pushed us to give a more in depth overview of shoemaking. For the past few hours we've been sat together with Una as she goes into detail about the production processes. On a day to day basis Una spends her time in Spain - she's the one making sure things run smoothly in the factories we work with. At the moment in London, she took time to explain what happens in each of these videos. In this video you can see the June in Black Speckle being lasted. The vinyl upper and leather lining are stitched together for this sandal as no extra moulding or reinforcement is required for this style. Using a pincer, the straps are hand lasted into the slots of a skeleton board. It’s an insole board with specific slots carved out to give a smooth surface for sole attachment. It also acts as a place marker for the straps. As the Rachel style is a mule sandal, it doesn’t require a skeleton board. At a later stage the leather at the base of the shoe will be sanded down do reduce bulk. The key factor in lasting a mule is ensuring the lasting margin is equal on both sides. Lasting margin is the term used for the extra material used to pull over the edge of the shoe onto the insole. Here you can see the straps lasted into the skeleton board again. What’s different here is that while in the previous videos the shoe was lasted on post, here Juan is lasting the shoe in his lap. It’s a more traditional technique but nowadays it really comes down to preference. Here is the back part of the style Emma lasted. Emma has quite a substantial back part for a sandal and has a thermoplastic stiffener between the lining and the upper. Due to this, machine lasting is preferable for this style. This is the machine lasting of the Zoe Aqua Marina Mint. Before a style goes into lasting, the machine is set to work with the specific last and upper. We put through a lot of test uppers to make sure the settings are right for the style. Because Zoe is a full shoe, machine lasting is preferable for timing and quality. You’ll notice the red twine that ties the shoe together - they are there to ensure the shoe is lasted as they are meant to be worn. At the end of the production line they will be replaced with laces. Here is the lasting of the back part of Zoe. The clawed arms of the machine pull in each side of the upper to make sure it’s taut. The side walls hold the upper in place while the claws robotically line the insole board with a hot bonding agent. They then fold over the upper to bond the upper to the insole board. Once the process is done the shoe is removed from the last by hand. This is the Isabella in Lavender sanded. It's important for two reasons. Sanding the base of the shoe reduces the bulk of the leather straps, but a sanded leather is also better at absorbing the adhesive. This means it will create a better bond and fit between the sole unit and the upper. Once the sole is attached, the sanding gives it a smoother line. The Lily style shoe in Black/Lavender has its seat ground which creates a flatter surface to attach the heel to. Ava in Clear Speckle having her sole and heel unit lined up and attached. Once this is done it goes into a sole press where pressure is applied to create a strong bond between the upper and sole unit. The technician lines up the heel in position and then attaches it to the sandal. Once that is done, he removes the shoe from the machine. As the style Sarah has an intricate wood and lucite heel as well as a concealed platform in the front, the technician slightly twists the shoe to adjust the balance. Finally he places it on a flat surface to check the balance. The same process happens here for the Emma shoe. At Miista we love to develop new ideas and constructions, such as our lucite and wood heel. Juxtaposing different materials in the heel means attaching it requires more time and expertise. This is Shona in Oxi Mint. The leather used for this style was specially developed by Miista. The leather used is white with layers of bronze and mint. At first the shoe appears mint coloured but as it is brushed with the cotton roller and natural wax, the bronze tones come through. This results in the oxidised finish. Here is the Oxi Pink version of the Shona. As the two colours are more similar in tone it results in a softer finish. For some leathers brushing with the cotton roller can be too abrasive. This means achieving the desired finish is easier by hand. In this case Miguel uses a light solvent to remove the top layer of the material. It’s a very time intensive but necessary process to get the right look. Generally stitching is done before the upper goes on the production line. However in this style, the Megan, the front panel with the sequins was attached after the production process. The material used is incredibly delicate - to avoid damaging it during production, it’s the final detail to be added. At this stage stitching becomes very tricky as it’s harder to manoeuvre the shoe. You can see in the video how Esperanza works the shoe with utmost care. It’s a labour intensive process requiring a very specific skill set to attach the sequins. Well worth the effort, we think. This is it for now! All of the images and videos from our production line are tagged with #miistaproductionspain - if you're interested, you can search the tag on Instagram to see more. We'll continue uploading the videos on our Instagram account that you can follow here, meanwhile if you have any questions, just leave us a comment!
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