Torrential rain pounds on the stained glass windows, howling winds grapple the wooden roof. The building sways but does not succumb. As winter grabs ahold of the atelier, its creator continues his work, meticulously without hesitation. Roald Nore is a man of few words, he speaks through his craft, the dissection of artisanal footwear. Each piece carries his profound signature and invites wearers to explore irreverently. We sat down with the man to explore his mindset, his urge to create and the power of a Norse heritage. His focussed conspiracy theory might very well be THE LAST CONSPIRACY.
Roald, we are surrounded by so much history today. How do you approach modernity with craftsmanship?
To me, these are extremely intertwined. We must look at the past and explore history, before we can look forward. When it comes to footwear, I prefer to work with techniques that secure quality and understated expression. Crafting shoes has to be done with the right machinery, tools and mindset. For me construction comes first. Naturally, it is relevant to add contemporary elements too. By experimenting with leather treatments, zippers, shoe lasts, textures and closures, you can achieve a lot of variation in expression.
That makes sense. However, how do you approach this concept of seasonal collections?
Well, the seasons are more founded on the Nordic elements. For winter you will see more heavy welted constructions that are functional and relevant for colder times. When it comes to the lighter seasons, as an example, you can see we work with specially developed Vibram soles that allow for flexibility and add some lightness. The Last Conspiracy does work with seasonal collections, but we shall always leave room for exploration in our atelier, no matter what the weather dictates.
The North indeed symbolizes this powerful bound. It has to do with a connection of history, nature and perseverance. Especially in our atelier line, ASGAARD, (ed. named after the Nordic realm of the gods), I aim to express this. It is about a return to what works, a return to utility, without compromising on quality and construction. ASGAARD allows me to dig deeper into this unique sense of Norse history. Each pair is constructed from handpicked reversed culatta leather, individually matched and incorporated. These pieces are about turning back the clock and re-focussing on what footwear actually means.
Do you think that this dialogue between Nordic values and your atelier in Porto, also fosters this different way THE LAST CONSPIRACY feels?
Absolutely. When it comes to our craftsmen, there is such a richness of knowledge amongst them. I spend most of my creative time in Porto, exploring new techniques, re-inventing historic lasts and simply connecting to my team over there. Our conversations are filled with technicalities, new ideas and mutual understanding.
This is something very dear to me.
In this process, we can see you work with a particularly dark palette. Can you tell me what this symbolizes for you?
Darkness and in specific black, allows me to stand still. It is a perfect way to direct focus to texture, details and construction as it does not distract you in any way. For me, it works as a foundation from where I can develop footwear concepts. This darkness also underlines the fact that we work with natural materials that age accordingly and only get richer over time. I wish to give room to these processes, to make the shoes age together with their respective wearers.