October 2019 Melbourne Trip

In my last visit to Melbourne mid this year, I didn’t have much time to explore the city as it was for a school PD related trip. This time, I came back with my parents to go at our own pace at checking out the place. Here are some highlights in the journey!

Melody Chia

Melody plays the Double Bass professionally and is also a handwelted shoe maker. In fact, I believe she and Theo Hasset are the only ones in Australia doing this! I visited her workshop at her home and was warmly welcomed in. We had a look at the workshop and had a lovely time chatting over some tea.

This is where the magic happens!

We discussed things like the Welted Shoes Australia (WSA) group, the shoe scene in Australia, how her journey in shoemaking began, and how her husband is still waiting on his pair to be made haha! I think my dad was very chuffed that she complimented his leather working skills when he showed her my mum’s wallet that he made.

Some unlasted uppers. Look how cute they are.

She’ll be making me a semi-brogue shoe in dark brown kangaroo leather that I cannot wait for! Every part is literally made by hand: the insole has no gemming, i.e. there is no glue used to make a holdfast – it’s entirely carved out by hand, the leather is pulled over the last by hand, the welt is handstitched (hence the handwelt name of construction). She also uses JR soles for maximum durability. Who needs a Goodyear Welt machine when you have these skills!

In the process of being made! She still has to trim the welt edge.

Prices start at $3000 for French d’Annonay calf leather, handwelted and crafted by Melody. She’s actually currently making some ready to wear pairs for Nathan Baxter’s shop in Sydney!

Thomas George Collection

The second day of my trip was entirely spent with the boys Ben Atkinson and James Seaford at the Trimly / Thomas George Collection offices.

Those are my Barossa oxfords

We shined shoes, talked about the WSA group, shined more shoes, enjoyed a visit by Ben Watson of WSA, drank beer, ate lunch, learned how to tie the Berluti knot, ate dinner, talked about the shoe scene in Australia and had a bloody good time.

So many shoes in one room!

We also had a unique chance to see some samples of new models for the Thomas George Collection!

Black boots be wildin’

It was an epic day. The office lobby also had nice concierge staff and a beautiful flower bouquet. They auction it every Friday.

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for shoes…

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child

Visiting Melbourne means you have to watch the Harry Potter & The Cursed Child play. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. I’m so glad that I didn’t finish reading the script but instead saw the play without any of the plot spoiled for me.

The show was absolutely magical and I was convinced that I was in that world. The special effects and surprises kept coming in each act. I would highly recommend watching this show for one of the best days out in your life! (Avoid seat R14)


My dad wanted to check out this leather warehouse. It had so much stuff he went kinda crazy buying leather from the scrap bins like a child during Christmas.

It’s got everything

I’m looking forward to what my dad will make from these new leather purchases! He’s made my mum a couple of wallets and me a NATO strap.

That’s huge!

Manfred’s Shoe Lounge

A highly recommended spot in North Melbourne, Manfred’s is home to a hair salon, shoe shop and shoe repairer. It’s literally a Shoe Lounge.

Oooohhh shiny

I had the pleasure of meeting Manfred and Jared Acquaro there!

There’s me, Manfred and Jared


Incredibly cool shop front

My last stop was at the leatherworker/cordwainer Wootten. The shoes are all either Blake stitched or rapid Blake stitched. If you’re someone like me who prefers the Goodyear Welt construction, the rapid Blake Stitch is something you can consider for its similar style and durability.

They have a bag that I am eyeing called the Weekender. It’s so beautiful! You can see the smaller version called the Overnighter in my first photo above on display in the window.

Many shoes
Clean workshop

Honourable Mentions


Caught up with my friend who moved to Melbourne here. I was so tired and I was also with my parents, so we didn’t kick on to more alcohol fuelled fun afterwards unfortunately. Next time…

A bit expensive for small portions though

Nihonshu Shochu & Sake Bar

Legitimate and authentic Japanese Izakaya. I didn’t take any photos but it was awesome. Try the plum wine.

Grossi Florentino

Squid ink & cuttlefish fettuccine 😋
Cannot say no to Tiramisu

Section 8

Day drinking and shooting hoops. Best combination.

James Seaford sporting his Goodyear Welted Edward Green suede monkstraps going for the shot

Chilli Pepper

Wholesome dinner with James, his wife and my parents here in Moonee Ponds. Excellent Vietnamese food! I want to go to Vietnam now to experience their food and culture!



They sell Berwick 1707, Loakes and Carlos Santos here as well as some other brands that appear Blake stitched. Some cool shoes with beautiful patina on display here. Didn’t have much time to poke around though.

Double Monk

Had to say hi to the boys Ben and Charles in the main store in Melbourne. My mum really liked the petite ladies Crockett & Jones shoes!

Can’t wait til I’m back in Melbourne for more!

My Melbourne Trip

Can’t believe my conference trip to Melbourne was already over a week ago as of the time of writing this post, as I am already on holiday in Hong Kong – watch out for my post about that!

The Boys

Over in Melbourne, I met the other Admins of Welted Shoes Australia Facebook group; James and Ben. We enjoyed several beers and an Espresso Martini at various locations around the Melbourne city!

At State of Grace with the boys. You have to pull a book from a shelf to reveal a hidden entrance! Felt like Harry Potter!
Hi Chloe!

I also had the opportunity to shine one of James’ Crockett and Jones shoes on another day while filming for a short, fun interview. Hopefully that’s coming soon!

Culture and Food

The National Gallery of Victoria also had an exhibition showcasing the Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo Qiang’s masterpieces. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Kneeling archer for deadly tactics
Ash from pyrotechnics on white porcelain birds, just one of Cai’s works.

I only had one chance to visit a nice cafe in Melbourne as the other days were spent in a conference. I went to Hardware Societe which was recommended to me many years ago. Pretty good food and interesting coffee art.

Pork belly and 🍳
Up the Roosters! (Irony: I’m in Melbourne where it storms a lot)

Menswear Shops

I stopped by briefly at American Tailors and checked out some of their Francesco Maglia umbrellas. They’re so thicc that a Fox Umbrella would look like a skinny boy next to them. Although their products and services are of the best quality, I found it difficult and on the verge of impossible to establish a rapport with the staff who were considerably older than me and the Double Monk staff. Maybe it’s just me.

Of course, my visit to Melbourne was not complete without checking out the flagship store of Double Monk. I had a friendly and very educative chat about shoes with Charles and Ben from there, topics ranging from why they don’t stock Carmina and George Cleverley (anymore), why certain leather choices are more economical than others and managed to convince me why buying a Stefano Bemer replica Russian reindeer shoe is a bad idea. A lot of food for thought. Interesting perspectives.

Ben hard at work shining some shoes
Some shoes and boxes on their shelves
Trying on some John Lobbs
I love their over the counter wall design

Melbourne is such a great city for all it has to offer and it’s such a shame I couldn’t stay for longer.

I’ll be back for some more exploration in October, during which I will be watching the Harry Potter plays too!

On my list to see next:

  • Harry Potter plays
  • Manfred’s Shoe Lounge
  • Wootten
  • Melody Chia