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Tourists who discover Sydney on foot will often follow their feet into the Grand lady of Sydney shopping, The Strand Arcade in George Street. This majestic (and sadly last) great shopping arcade originated in the 19th century. The arcade today is must for all visitors to Sydney, but many do not venture into the upper levels of this landmark. If you do, then you will discover some of Sydney’s most inspiring craftsmen and women, plying their trades and producing some incredible products.

And since you will be walking, then we suggest you visit A. McDonald Shoemaker. Established in 1990, he continues to design and handcraft bespoke footwear from his intimate workshop. His shoes for men and women are worlds apart from the high-street retail machine where products are developed with an expiry date, Andrew McDonald continues to create footwear and accessories in small quantities, to survive many lifetimes.

In 1996 Andrew was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, to study traditional hand shoe making techniques in the United Kingdom and France. Studying under master craftsmen, John Lobb and Paul Harnden Shoemakers, Andrew has developed a complex and considered practice.

They use only the finest calf, Cordovan, Bison and Yak leathers from the leading tanneries of Europe, A.McDonald’s boots and shoes are individually crafted on lasts designed to produce the best possible fit.

Not just a creator for everyday wear, A. McDonald Shoemaker frequently collaborates with Hollywood productions shot in Sydney, and has created boots for films such as the Star Wars trilogy, Superman Returns and Ghost in the Shell.

So, next time you are in the Strand Arcade, take the stairs up and discover a whole new world of Sydney style and craftsmanship.


IMAGE CREDIT: Glenyss Barnham and Ringo Mok

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