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Somewhere between the Fashion District and USC in Los Angeles lies Role Club. A hand made, 70+ year old boot store plucked out of something from another age. The exterior is unassuming and harks back to its hispanic roots with a handwritten ‘Jalisco’ painted in green above the store front. Picture a bent cardboard open sign slotted between the weathered painted steel barred door. A fresh faced train driver greets me behind an old wooden counter complete with an ancient typewriter style register. Meet Brian the bootmaker. Self titled on Instagram.
Brian who is half Vietnamese, half El Salvadorian and 100% American was originally a sneaker freaker who went on to print tee shirts and then took an interest in the shoe shop in the neighbourhood. He would come in on sundays to watch the boot master (a ‘role model’ hence half the name) make boots. Fascinated, he went on to doing repairs at home and finally took over the store at the ripe old age of 18. Working with the old master til releasing his own range in 2014, this was the year he finally bought the store and the boot master retired. I’m still bamboozled by this.
This fella has energy. And vision. And evidently style with so many cool boots about. The interior is reminiscent of a local american suburban shoe store. From the 60’s. No electronics to be seen. Not a single screen anywhere. Every item has a story to tell. Time dedicated. Patina.
These things made here have depth. Built to last. They mean something. Just like they used to.
Check out Role Club in Los Angeles or online. Certainly worth a visit. I assume the work is grand in usage but i'll find out for sure in November when Brian will work on my own Wolverine boots. Can't wait!