VIDEO| Matoshi: I made shoes in the style of Al Capone and Bonnie Clyde for the son-in-law and the bride

Kazim Matoshi-cobbler/ Photo: Metodi Zdraev/"Sloboden Pechat"

Free Press in support of the old crafts from the Skopje bazaar. Through interviews with the artisans, he will try to save them from oblivion, to acquaint the young generations with the tradition that has been maintained in the Bazaar for centuries. Perhaps the contributions will be an incentive for a young man to choose a trade as his future profession and thus continue the tradition. This will save the shops from permanent closure.

Photo: Kazim Matoshi Metodi Zdravev/"Sloboden Pechat""

Qazim Matoshi is a shoemaker. He has been working in the Old Skopje bazaar for more than 50 years. He decided on the shoemaking trade because of his younger brothers, who worked elsewhere. He says that instead of workers, he made them owners of his shop. For "Free Press " says that hand-made shoes are difficult and time-consuming, they are made to measure just for your foot. There is no successor, he says that those who want handmade shoes do not buy from them but in Italy.

- The craft is difficult and slowly being lost. It is slowly collapsing due to the low prices of what is imported, but also due to the lack of people, no one wants to work, imports are large, China is a problem, it is worn cheaply, no one sees quality - says Matoshi.

His beginnings in this trade were after high school.

- I had two brothers who worked as shoemakers elsewhere. They were younger than me and that's why I went back to working for myself. Then I enrolled in design in Istanbul, got a certificate after one year. From 1976 to 2000 was a golden time for the Bazaar, for shoe production. We have produced various types of shoes, you can't count, everything we have seen we have copied and made. There is no number - says Matoshi.

The production process says that it is very difficult at the beginning, first the shoe is drawn, a pattern is made. Then the leather is selected, the leather is cut, the lining is cut, sewn, mounted. Kazim explains that shoemaking is a science, an art.

- There are no new generations, there is no reason why there should be. A pair of shoes to make myself will cost me 25 to 30 euros. I should sell them for 40 or 50 euros. If I say 50 euros, the customer tells me that he will buy 10 pairs at the market. But there are those who understand what quality is. But they don't order either. He who knows what quality is goes to Greece and Italy and buys there.

Matoshi says that the leather they work with is of high quality and lasts a long time. Due to the lack of interest, she no longer follows trends, does not produce, only sells leather.

- I am old, I am 73 years old. I have heirs, but they do not work as shoemakers, I have a son, the fifth child, but he is a student and does not want to work. Brides and grooms used to come to make shoes. Everyone was looking for something special. A couple came, they were looking for wedding shoes. They were having a wedding in Ohrid, she wants shoes in the style of Al Capone and Bonnie Clyde. We did them of course. My favorite period in my career is the eighties, from 1980 to 2000. There was a lot of work, all you needed was a desire to have it. It was a golden time for all trades - says Matoshi.

Matoshi says that he would not change his life or his profession for anything.

- If I were 30 to 40 years old again, I would be a shoemaker again, and if I could turn my life back, I would be who I am again - says Qazim.

Watch the process of making handmade shoes and the interview of our colleague Agnesa Chavoli here: 

On Friday, expect a video about the latest men's suit tailor Celaidin Mani.  

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