We still know how to make shoes in France" declares the Made in Romans label from the Archer group, strongly attached to the historical know-how of the Drôme region of the country.
The footwear label “Made in Romans” was created in 2010 by Christophe Chevalier, the head of the Archer group. He felt that there was no longer any generalist shoe brand that was made in France, and decided to fill the gap, as a fervent defender of localised production and reinvigorated craftsmanship.
“We bought an assembly line that had belonged to the former Charles Jourdan company”, he explains. At the time the industry model was typically heavily dependent on machines. The Dauphiné high school sent us young students to whom we taught the skills of the shoemaker. Today the workshop boasts seven multi-skilled people working on cutting out, sewing, assembly and finishing.”
With the business growing and an annual production of 4,500 shoes, the Romans-based workshop has proved to be a success. “Brands want us to be responsive”, the entrepreneur explains; the company meets a variety of needs including those of creative labels in need of small production runs. This is the case of Dessine-moi Un Soulier (Design Me A Shoe), for whom 200 pairs are produced to order each month, and Mil&Mil, behind the first football boot sewn and assembled in Romans.
By creating its own label “Made in Romans” the Archer group has opted for a “project of resistance”. Timeless style, solid and lasting materials are deliberately and proudly outside of fashion. The range, producing men’s and women’s models, is sold in around 15 outlets in France but also in Japan, Australia, and Bali.
All the classics of the shoe family are present from the ballerina slipper – whether flat or heeled, lined or not, available in 10 colours, to the riding boot via the moccasin, the Oxford, the Louis XV pump...
The company makes a point of using local products, from its laces to the leather from the Tanneries Roux, made from the skins of calves raised in France. This ethical and mid-range concept has quite rightly received a number of awards. The director of Archer would like to think that Made in Romans is just the first step towards a label that is capable of securing the future of shoemaking in the town.