In 1967, exactly half a century ago, in Ilica 33rd passage in Zagreb, the story of the Strugar shoes production began.
Shoemaking master Alojz Strugar, after ten years of apprenticeship and the acquisition of knowledge and master's exam, opened his own business for making men's shoes.
He knew from the start that he wanted to produce shoes in the style of the latest trends in the world, although it was a rare case in Croatia at that time. He wanted to produce shoes which would also attract very young people, instead only making an old-fashioned models which were suitable only for the middle-aged and older people. It was a brave decision because at that time all the other shoemakers were producing classic shoes which they were producing for decades.
In order to follow fashion, new materials and processes in handmade shoes at the time when there were no Internet, fashion magazines or specialized press, he had to travel to learn about new fashion.
In the late 60's, the center of world fashion for clothing and footwear was Italy: Milan, Bologna, Florence, Padua. So the founder of the Strugar craft, mr. Alojz, traveled by train to Italy to the fashion Fair and decided to stay there for 8 days. Everyone asked him, why was he going there, and what would he do there for 8 days?
But when he returned with new models and new ideas that were fresh trends and than made the first samples – everyone went silent.
He still had only one motto: Do only men's shoes, shoes for young people, and in accordance with the latest trends. And it worked. Very quickly Strugar shoes won the symphaties of almost the whole showbiz of former Yugoslavia, so many opera singers, politicians started to order shoes.
Strugar Shoes became the synonym of quality made to measure and trendy shoes, and they still are theese days.
The 70's were marked by even greater progress and Strugar craft participated in every Zagreb Fair which was then the main exposure for the manufacturers and the window to the world.
As it was almost impossible to buy quality materials in Croatia, Strugar traveled to Italy to get them, aiming to make higher quality shoes. Strugar craft always made first steps in any kind of new ideas and novelties as far as shoes manufacture in Zagreb is concerned. It never copied others in Zagreb, but due to it's great ideas and quality, was often copied by the others.
Except of the elegant black evening shoes, another popular style which made a boom, were the so-called. „špagerice“ - lightweight shoes made of natural string, and were produced in the way not only to suit for gentlemen but also for young people who liked casual and more relaxed style. In Zagreb in the end of the 60' and 70' domestic rock scene flourished, city halls were are filled with mega rock stars, Strugar craft has not forgotten the rockers. In the 70', leather boots with gently cut front part, with a metal buckle on the side were very popular. Almost every single rock bands wore them.
The 80' were marked by the growing number of orders so it became usual that customers stood outside in line in front of the salon. But it was unusual image by one, on a European scale small craft. Especially in the time of increasing imports and other global brands in our country. Despite that, the product remained high quality, instead of going for quantity, and oreders were rather refused if the shoes could not be made in the time deadline which some customers requested.
Despite years of war in Croatia in the first half of the 90' the craft was not in a crisis because loyal customers did not loose interest so easily, and an interesting fact is that Stugar made shoes for the guard of honor which were suitable with their ceremonial uniforms.
In the beginning of this century g. Neno Strugar continued to lead the craft, on the solid foundations of his father, with the same passion and quality craftsmanship where quality handmade prouduct is still a primary goal.
Today the trends are more complex and next to Italy's models, the guidelines are London, Paris and Vienna. Croatian capital city Zagreb is now full with foreign tourists and business people, and they are increasingly ordering shoes.
Although in these 50 years, a lot has changed seemingly - the essence remained the same:
"Fashion shoes custom-made, comfortable and durable, producted by top masters of shoe manufacture "