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Ask around, the greatest stories travel far and wide, often speaking of character, grit and a journey. So when we happened upon the fine work of legendary boot maker Mr Reginald Murray Williams, we couldn’t help but ponder this near-century-spanning contribution to the craft of boot making.
Better known as RM Williams, the Native Australian bushman established his business in 1932 after learning the skill of leatherwork from a passing horseman named Dollar Mick. It took much convincing on RM's part but Mick, a professional cobbler finally gave in, and shared his trade secrets with a young RM. Much trial and error followed but under Mick's watch, RM perfected his technique and soon fashioned his first pair of boots using just one single piece of leather. A method that enhanced their durability and instilled a clean and timeless aesthetic, meaning the boots would age evenly and boast a robust yet refined style. Today, this is a cornerstone of the RM Williams ethos, as is William’s own mantra, “If you make something good, people will make a track to your door”. A statement proven today by DJs, bushman and rockstars the world over donning the RM's footwear.
After RM’s passing in 2003, his longtime collaborator Ken Cowley took the brand forward into 50 stores and diversified the product range into men’s and women’s belts, accessories and clothing. It soon became time for the world to learn of the RM Williams story, and in 2013, a private equity fund sponsored by LVMH purchased a share in Australia’s only heritage brand.
The legend of the bushman boot maker quickly made its way around the world. With their staple product, a Chelsea boot named the ‘Craftsman’, and the newly launched ‘Adelaide’ boot, RM Williams continue to remain true to their vision. Retaining their core values, they’ve kept production within their native Australia, while exporting to over 15 countries. With stores in London, New York, Auckland’s and a further expansion into Europe, this remarkable story continues to be told, because put simply, it is worthy of remark.
Image courtesy of RM Williams