Winnipeg women can consider themselves lucky when it comes to fashionable footwear boutiques. I can count plenty of fabulous places to purchase the hottest heels, sexiest stilettos, perfect pumps, fantastic flats and everything in between.
The same, unfortunately, is not true for Winnipeg men. I get questions all the time from guys I know -- and many I don't -- wondering where they can get stylish shoes. There are a few places where you can get fashionable men's shoes -- Soul, Hanford Drewitt, Brown's -- but a locally owned shop entirely dedicated to men's shoes? None that I knew of, at least not until now.
Located just off the beaten path in the Exchange District is Jose & Markham -- a unique boutique specializing in a custom line of fine leather men's footwear and accessories crafted in Mexico.
The Jose & Markham brand is the brain child of Cesar Baez -- a new immigrant to Winnipeg who arrived in 2009 with little more than $500 in his pocket and a dream to create a shoe company.
For the next year-and-a-half, Baez -- along with business partners Wade Salchert and David Lewis -- worked with manufacturers and designers to create more than 50 different styles that would ultimately become Jose & Markham's inaugural collection.
"It's been a lot of fun and a really exciting project to be part of," says Lewis. "I love shoes and the beauty of being part of this was the artistic opportunity to create the shoes."
The Jose & Markham line is ideal for the man who is looking for a shoe that is sleek and stylish but still trendy at the same time. Not just limited to the office -- the line of footwear ranges from dress to boots to urban kicks with class.
One thing I find interesting about the shoes -- other than their obvious style -- is the fact that they are all available online. In fact, Jose & Markham is primarily an online store with a storefront retail shop to complement it.
"The customer response has been excellent. People have responded well to the brand and selling online has allowed us to really reach a global market," says Lewis.
The complete collection of Jose & Markham men's footwear can be found online at www.jose-markham.com or you can pop by the boutique at 73 Princess St., which is open Saturdays from 10-6.
Got a suggestion for a future column or a fashion trend worth following? Email Connie Tamoto at firstname.lastname@example.org