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Losing sleep over the legacy of Only Fools and Horses

It’s expected that different independent stockists will choose to stock different Yuketen styles. What I find difficult to grasp is that frequently they’re styles unavailable on Yuketen’s own webstore. Take these leopard print loafers. Recently dropped over at San Francisco’s Union Made, yet, based on my Google prowess, unavailable anywhere else – including Yuketen direct. I guess that’s the game. If such garmentry was easy to find, some of the allure would be lost. As a side point: it’ll be interesting to see if interest in Nepenthes depreciates once their London outpost in Euston opens in the new year.

I have a pair of Yuketen’s in this print. They’re lace ups with a (apparently uncleanable) gum sole. The Vibram 2021 sole on these loafers is much more appealing. But be advised (and speaking from some experience) if you have leopard print shoes poking from beneath your salvage denim, uninvited wisecracks will be forthcoming.

Like so much interesting menswear, the effectiveness of these loafers is about context. Just like certain music genres leave some crowds cold, while blowing up the dancefloor for others, the right audience will get these. To the wrong audience you’re probably an Essex chancer trying to blag the door at Annabels. I mean, animal print shoes… It’s difficult to ignore that in the UK there’s years of cultural baggage tying them to Corrie barmaids, Del Boy’s associates and Peter Stringfellow. But then in fairness, I doubt Japanese fancy shoe evangelists Yuki Matsuda (Yuketen) and Keizo Shimizu (Needles) lose much sleep over the legacy of Only Fools and Horses. Frankly you either buy into their baggy trousered mix of denims, olives, bandanas and jungle cat footwear or you don’t.

Yes they’re expensive and yes, if you’re in the UK, ordering from the US is a costly undertaking – you’ve got to take postage and import duty into account. But these are professional savagery. Not for everyday, but when you bring them into battle, you’ve own the scenario. The first time I wore my leopard print Yuketens I stepped in a puddle of oil. If you want some practical advice; definitely buy these shoes, maybe don’t step in a puddle of oil.

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