The Shoemaker Extraordinaire

On Josefines gate, between Bislett and Frogner, lies a strip of stores and businesses. Amongst these, the store of renowned shoemaker, Asbjørn Dagestad, who has been repairing and selling shoes here for the past twenty-five years. Dagestad is known for his quality craftsmanship and exclusive merchandise, but maybe even more so, his extraordinary social being. In Norwegian: Skomaker Dagestad.

Published by Guest on 15/01/2015

The shoe shop has a distinct feel of authenticity. The smell of leather, coffee and beeswax, and simple, but beautiful displays of high quality footwear, handmade Italian gloves, bowties, hats, scarves and bags. Even though this is luxury goods for thousands of Norwegian kroner, the atmosphere is laid-back and friendly. Dagestad, himself, greets all the customers with a contagious beard-encircled smile and an endless amount of stories. It feels as though everybody in the area is a regular. CT_Shoemaker_8 Dropping by modestly dressed, or just on the way to the gym to check on an order. “I grew up in Sandvika, and I remember how alienating it sometimes could feel walking in to the high-end shops in Oslo. I didn't want people to feel that way in my store”, Dagestad explains. But not to be fooled, you can quickly be rubbing shoulders with a lot of well-known public figures; “these are wolves in sheeps clothing”, Dagestad laughs. CT_Shoemaker_2 No ordinary businessman The store carries some of the most exclusive brands in shoe-business, and some products aren't sold anywhere else in the country. All shoes come directly from the shoe makers factories, and no hyped up designer brand is compromising the quality of the handicraft. This is a place dedicated to keeping the shoe maker traditions alive. “I've never been much of a businessman, and I have never wanted to be known as one. Instead I have strived to be recognised for the quality of my work, and the way in which I provide it.” CT_Shoemaker_9 CT_Shoemaker_3 Business, however, is better than ever. As well as the increasing economy, Dagestad also credits the internet for creating a more conscious marked that values high quality products. A noticeable shift in trends, resulting in a lot of young customers. He is now considering opening a second store in Oslo to deal with the request for repairs, a service he currently only offers on shoes bought at the store, due to the massive demand. CT_Shoemaker_6 CT_Shoemaker_5 Good quality in all aspects The employees are young, a mix of passionate shoe-lovers and children of friends wanting to earn some money after high-school. Dagestad says this helps keep the spirit high, and really contributes to the atmosphere of the store. In addition to the employees, Dagestad also works full-time, and then some. “I like working Saturdays. There are always a lot of people stopping by”, he says and estimates that he has worked around a thousand Saturdays since he started. CT_Shoemaker_4 In the small kitchen in the back of the store you find cookies, in case some children come by on the weekends. There's even a box of dog treats. “I bet you won't find this in other high-end stores”, Dagestad chuckles. CT_Shoemaker_1 Dagestad recently opened an online store, selling bags, footwear, gloves and shoe-care products. But if you are in the neighbourhood, you really should stop by the shoemaker, as the wonderful customer service from the man behind this store is half of the experience itself. Linking the posh neighbourhoods of Frogner to the more casual Bislett and St. Hanshaugen, one could argue that Dagestads shoe shop, in many ways embodies the spirit of Oslo. In this small city it is never far between people of all backgrounds, and although money is rarely shown-off or paraded, good quality never goes out of style. - Ragnhild -

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