William Efe-Laborde

2024 QEST Emerging Maker - Shoemaking
London

William is an award-winning bespoke shoemaker based in London, specialising in the capital’s West End tradition. Offering boots and shoes under his name, he also supplies work to Savile Row companies and has trained under three senior shoemakers throughout his 10-year career, including James McCormack who made HM The King’s ceremonial shoes for the Coronation.

In 2023, William came first amongst British contestants at the World Shoemaking Championships, making a boot that is now conserved in the V&A Museum.

QEST training will allow William to master the skills of ‘closing’ shoes, the only stage left for him to learn in order to make shoes from start to finish. It will also enable him to assemble a wooden heeled shoe, offering women and men higher heeled shoes and boots.

He will embark on ‘closing’ tuition from master Lucy Smith in England and travel to France to learn wooden heel fitted shoe construction from Antoine Besnard at Massaro Paris. William’s long-term goal is to be recognised as a Master Bootmaker amongst his peers (a rare accolade recognising his proficiency in all aspects of the craft) and to pass on his skills to the next generation.

Profile image credit: Derry Moore

Traditional craft techniques are a means of relation with our predecessors. They provide a solid grounding for the soul, safe in the knowledge that the actions which we practice today and their pragmatic value, hold a truth which was as valid 400 years ago as it is today.

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