Grenson + Chivas Regal: Tim Little Interview

Grenson + Chivas Regal: Tim Little Interview

‘Made for Gentlemen’ in so far as every brogue that has been handcrafted in times past has been made for men that, at the very least, aspire to be gents. Chivas Regal understand gentlemen, and have chosen the craftsmanship of Grenson owner and lauded shoemaker Tim Little to interpret his art form in the guise of a Limited edition collectible Chivas 12 ‘Made for Gentleman’ tin. A modern day polymath, Chivas 12 couldn’t be in better hands. We took time to speak with Tim at his King’s Rd store to find out more about the brand, the collaboration, and the man behind both.

For those new to the world of Tim Little what was it that drove you to start making shoes?

I think its in my blood, I’ve loved shoes since I was a small boy going to get school shoes.  [Thoughtful] When I bought my first pair of Northampton shoes, I fell in love with the way they were so solid and the leather was like polished wood.


What was it about Grenson that appealed to you and made you decide to take over the brand?

I had Grensons in my teen when they made “Royals” for mods and Northern Soul boys.  Grenson was always the brand with an edge, always a little more adventurous than its rivals and always seemed to have a twinkle in its eye.


What would you highlight as the hallmark of a Grenson shoe?

Every Grenson shoe is Goodyear Welted which is the old English technique, so everything we do comes from our heritage. Then we add a contemporary design eye and end up with the right mix of old and new.  That’s the plan anyway.


Chivas Regal chose Grenson to partner them on this year’s ‘Made for Gentleman’ project. What is it about the two aspirational brands that makes this collaboration work so well?

Lots of things. [Pause] We have a similar heritage, we make quality products, the products are a result of ingredients and craftsmanship and hence we share similar customers


What do you think it is about the idea of a British gent that aligns him so well with the brogue?

I think the British Gent should be sturdy, dependable, a little quirky or eccentric and around for a long time.  These qualities mirror those of the brogue. The man and his shoes are synonymous. [Smiles]


Tell us a little about your thinking behind the design for the 12 Year Old ‘Made for Gentlemen’ limited edition Chivas Regal container?

Chivas and Grenson are all about their ingredients. Chivas is a blend of whiskys, blended by their Master Blender to create the perfect drink.  Grenson is the same, so I wanted to visualise the elements that go together to make a classic brogue and to tie the two together I used the colours of the Chivas Crest.

What does the future hold for Grenson? Are you looking to involve Grenson in other industries? (For example making golf shoes, like in the 70’s)

Grenson is always evolving but we need to make sure we don’t do things that don’t fit. If you ever see a Grenson flip flop, you can shoot me. [Laughs]  However we are launching a leather bag range as we are leather craftsmen and it totally fits within our DNA.



Are you looking to bring back any of the old style Grenson shoes? One style in particular springs to mind – the Grenson Jodhpur boots

I always have an eye on the archive to make sure we are true to the brand but I don’t really want to just keep bringing back old shoes as I belive we have to take the brand forwards.


The JOSHUA’s concept is based on featuring aspirational brands, brands like Chivas Regal and Grenson. In your opinion, what is it about the Grenson brand that makes it one to aspire to?

I think we should all aspire to buy well made products. [Pause] You get more from them, both physically and mentally. Wearing quality is good for the sole – excuse the pun – its make you feel more confident.


Finally Tim, you have made a vast number of shoes, for an almost infinitely varied clientele – is there any one pair of shoes you have made that stand out in your memory? Why? Were they for anyone in particular?

Im a big Blues fan and my favourite Bluesman is John Lee Hooker.  I contacted him 15 years ago and asked him if I could make some shoes for him.  All my shoes are named after Blues Songs and by chance he chose a loafer that is called “Whisky and Women” which made him laugh. I guess I’ve had Whisky on my mind for a long time now [Laughter]. + 


Comments (0)
Join the discussion
Read them all


Hide Comments

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!