While living in the UK, chef founder Phoenix Fu had the opportunity to witness the prestigious shoe workshops of Northampton. There, he was so impressed with the pedigree and craftsmanship of their products that he vowed to discover what made their shoemakers so distinguished. After years of studying the craft, Phoenix became convinced that it was passion and taste, not necessarily skill with their hands, that set the artisans of Northampton apart from their peers around the world. Upon returning home, Phoenix vowed to create a domestic shoe brand that could highlight China’s own superior traditions and techniques working within the field of handcrafted shoemaking, but with more elegant designs fit for a contemporary gentleman. After searching high and low for partners equally as passionate about this vision as he was, Phoneix eventually discovered Jie Zeng, one of the most skilled traditional artisans in all of Sichuan with over 25 years' experience in handcrafted shoemaking, as well as Tim Liu, a former customer with an eye for style as sharp as his own.Together, these three partners established the small workshop of Yearn in Chengdu with the goal of creating a domestic brand that could rival the international standards of excellence that shoe-lovers have come to expect in recent years, without sacrificing the traditional methods and processes that have come to define Chinese artisans throughout the centuries.
Passion for the Process
Whether it’s made-to-order or ready-to-wear, all shoes at Yearn are 100% handmade. This means that from start to finish, each shoe we create is personally handlasted and hand-welted with hand-stitched outsoles at our small workshop in Chengdu, China, where we can give them the special attention they deserve. And while it’s true that this process is certainly more time consuming and definitely more challenging than mass-production, we believe the final product is worth the extra effort. At Yearn, we are as passionate about the process as we are about the product, and it shows.
Shoes Actually Made to be Worn
In the last 10 years, the traditional men’s footwear industry of Asia has been thriving. This increased demand has led a number of talented shoemakers to distinguish themselves within the international community through their craftsmanship and attention to detail. Inspired by this increased awareness and appreciation for quality, we set out to establish Yearn based on our own artisanal understanding of what traditional handcrafted shoemaking means to us. At Yearn, we continue to insist on only using the finest quality European leather and materials, and unlike many other brands, each pair of shoes Yearn creates is made entirely by hand, not in a factory. Previously, this was a luxury reserved for more high-end lines, but by doing away with impractical details and focusing instead on the fundamentals, we have perfected a process that places a premium on what matters most: Affordability, durability, and above all else- functionality. At Yearn, we believe shoes are actually made to be worn, and that every modern gentleman deserves a pair of high-quality shoes that he can actually afford. Through our traditional handcrafted methods, our goal is to provide more men with shoes durable enough for every-day use, without sacrificing comfort or style.