People: Julian Imrie, Bootmaker

People: Julian Imrie, Bootmaker

By Raan Parton & Luke Warner

Photos by Imrie Family

Bootmaker Julian Imrie was born in the 1970s in the old wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. A true renaissance man, he was born into a creative family and grew up influenced by his mother, an Italian contessa, his father, a fashion photographer, his artist grandfather and an Aunt who is still a shirtmaker in London.

At the age of 7, Julian moved from London to the West Indies, after his Father bought a sailboat, where his brother Max, now a photographer, was born. After a year on the boat he was sent to an English boarding school and then a day school in London, where he would spend much of his time riding on the top deck of the double decker buses. At 14, his family moved to Long Island so his father could work as a fashion photographer. Throughout school, Julian studied art, helping him earn a scholarship to a NYC art school where he studied anatomy, sculpture, color, pigment and painting, skills which helped him later as he learned how to carve lasts for boots and to tan leather.

After 2 years of art school, he started assisting fashion photographers in New York including Bruce Weber. During this time he began to recognize the inequity in the value we place on the skills it takes to build a house, for example, and the skills it takes to sell a photograph to hang on someone’s wall. So, with that fire behind him, Julian learned to work with his hands, building wood framed houses, working on a horse ranch and living with the Amish in Pennslyvania. It was while he was living on a farm in Kentucky that he first started making boots and it was only after he had bicycled down to Brazil, after the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that he committed to a simpler life, doing as little harm as possible, making boots. Today he spends his time crafting boots in Los Angeles, an old world lost art form that he has honed very well. We have been honored to get to know Julian over the past few years and are inspired by the attention to detail that he builds into his product with heart and soul.

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