Vidal Kenmoe is the former British Royal Army officer who traded in his military khakis for shoe soles. Despite still consulting for the army, he spends most of his time in Douala Cameroon making, cutting and polishing beautiful footwear.
He founded Shoes by Vidal in 2016, boasting high standards of craftsmanship with each pair he produced. One look at his brand’s overall aesthetic confirms just why these shoes have been in high-demand. He happens to thrive in a fashion market where its people seek out luxury products abroad.
Kenmoe’s passion for shoes comes from two things mainly—his mother’s love for shoes and fashion, as well as his time spent in the Royal Army, where he took a special interest towards dressing. He’s been making shoes since 2015. A craft he learned in 2013 and is perfecting.
With a plethora of customers spread out around the world but majority based in Douala, Cameroon; Vidal Kenmoe hires local artisans to assist in the creation of these shoes which often takes weeks to sew. He says it all starts with forming the right shoe last for the design required. “Once the last is done, the next step is pattern cutting followed by clicking the leather (upper), followed by the sewing of the upper with the under and then molding (also called lasting) and lastly, the finishing.”
He also has a second line called AgA , which is the sandals and accessories line. “AgA does both male and female sandals and we’re hoping to move into belts, watch straps, wallets, key rings holders and many other leather products.” Kenmoe says. The motivation for AgA is the need to satisfy customers’ demands for leather accessories (other than shoes) at an affordable price.
Shoes by Vidal have provided shoes to several diplomats, professional athletes, MDs, artists and politicians. With clients within the High Network Income bracket, he has in the past designed shoes for Samuel Etoo; football legend from Cameroon.
The major challenges they face include Power cuts and people’s lack of education on handmade shoemaking. Kenmoe believes his designs are unique, the mix of materials—that include leather, suede, denim and African fabric—the discipline he puts in the making, his attention for details, his focus on functionality which are mainly comfort and durability are his major strengths.
As a young entrepreneur, he hopes to see his brand spread across borders and become a standard for shoemaking worldwide.
Source: Okay Africa