Old School Ilica


Ilica 69

Shoe Making and Repairs

Stipan Josić – owner
+385 (01) 4846-930

Working hours: 08:00 – 12:00 (Mon – Fri), 08:00 – 13:00 (Sat)

"There have always been tricks but no master will ever reveal theirs."

Oaza: What makes a good shoemaker?
Stipan Josić: A shoemaker has to know everything about a shoe. If he does not know the model, then he can hardly be a good shoemaker. He could maybe be a worker. You have to be able to make the patterns from scratch, tailor them, make them by hand.

Oaza: What are the primary services that you offer in your shop? What models are the most popular?
Stipan Josić: I make custom shoes by hand and we also do shoe repair and maintenance. If I were to tell you which ones get the most orders, you would laugh. The classics! The ones that were worn 40 years ago. I mostly get regular customers. Once they buy shoes from me, they keep coming back.

Oaza: When did you start your trade and have you influenced younger trainees?
Stipan Josić: I had worked as an apprentice and a master's assistant since 1966 and independently since 1984. The apprentice program meant apprentices had three days of classes and three days of practical work where they would sit and learn, here next to me, for three full years.

Oaza: What is the process of classic shoemaking?
Stipan Josić: I make and tailor parts of the upper according to my own molds, but usually I tweak each one, depending on the need. First I make the pattern, I reinforce it (with two-ply paper) for easier molding, before cutting. The upper can be made out of different materials. When the pattern is fully tailored, I pass it along for sewing. Then I put in the lining and prepare the insole, I hem the leather of the outsole. After putting all the parts together, the final details are readied, like tidying the edges, lacing, etc.
(Wife, tailor: If the shoes are being custom made, first the measurements are taken, then the pattern is made and tailored. Next it goes to the upper maker. When he is done and sends it back to our shop, the cut is put on the mold, cut out and covered in glue to harden. Next the sole and heel are made and added, which is followed by dyeing and polishing. The shoe is laced and is then finished.)

Oaza: Why are handmade shoes of especially high quality?
Stipan Josić: A good shoe has to be 100% leather, meaning sole, insole, upper, lining – quality leather means a good shoe. Seasonal shoes are most often light while the winter ones are made out of box calf.

Oaza: Are there any additional tricks that you use?
Stipan Josić: There have always been tricks but no master will ever reveal theirs. Everything you see here is my design. Even as an apprentice I made shoes for myself. That is the secret to everything.

Oaza: Do you notice any changes in the number of existing and active trades in Ilica?
Stipan Josić: In 1990 in Zagreb, there were around 200 shoemakers. That tells you what capacity that was. And now they are gone. There is, maybe, 20 of us, maybe not even that many, who are engaged in manufacturing. And every day there are fewer. In about a year I might be gone, too.

Oaza: Do you collaborate with designers?
Stipan Josić: Students from the Faculty of Textile Technology often come here and I help them as much as I can, as an expert mentor.

Oaza: How would you describe the shoemaking workshop held as part of the Old School project?
Stipan Josić: In collaboration with the designers, we made a shoe that is a blend of two of my models/cuts from my product line – a classic men's shoe combined with a women's loafer.

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