Jens Bonde-Poulsen, CEO of The Last Conspiracy, meets us at the shoe company’s showroom in the center of Copenhagen. It’s an almost eyebrow-raisingly low-key affair, especially given the brand’s popularity internationally. Shoes line a low shelf that crosses one half of the room, a cobbled path of black (and very occasionally grey or white) leather boots, sneakers and high heeled shoes accompanied by a stuffed raven on a piece of wood. You know, a normal showroom.
Before sitting down, we take a look at the footwear. “What’s your most popular pair?” I ask. Jens picks up a black leather woven boot, turning it over in his hands, “The Audley,” he says, “it’s one of our first boots and still popular. It’s classic but has a little bit of an edge with the weaving, or the variety of other styles it comes in.” He puts the boot down and we walk to the opposite end of the room. “Right now, sneakers are incredibly popular. They’ve had a huge comeback!” With these ones, I can see why. Buttery leather in perfectly tailored
I wave my hand at the shoes (and yes, dear readers, there was lust in my heart. For shoes, obviously) and ask, “so how did this all start? Where did The Last Conspiracy come from?”
Jens begins, “The company opened three and a half years ago. The founders saw a gap in the market; they wanted to make a better shoe for a more accessible price. So we’re talking about a well-designed, beautifully-made shoe that, when you buy it, you’re paying for the quality and craftsmanship but not the brand name.”
Then, I have to admit, I may have started to lead the witness. “Do you think that passion for quality comes from the company’s Danish or Scandinavian roots?” I ask, nodding my head in anticipated agreement.
Jens laughs. “I know what you want me to say! We benefit in a lot of ways from being Danish, of course, because people associate us with that tradition. But it’s not important; that’s really not where we were coming when we started up or the perspective we design from now. In fact, when we’re out at fashion weeks around the world, quite a few people think that we’re Italian.”
And being mistaken for Italian is like reaching nirvana for shoemakers, I assume. Jens continues, “What we’re really trying to do is capture the essence of the ‘shoe shop.’ You know, the specialty shops that used to be in every neighborhood; they could make your shoes and repair them too. Those exist in much lower number these days. It’s just not how people shop anymore. But we love that level of commitment and skill. That’s what we’re really about.”
I ask Jens about the most important point to get across for The Last Conspiracy. He takes a sip of coffee and looks behind him at the lines of shoes. “We don’t have a target market. We don’t really market at all. For us, that accessibility extends past pricing and into the actual DNA of the shoes. The shoes will fit to your foot if you take the time to wear them.”
There may not be a lengthy Danish heritage story here. What you get is so much more personal that that: a shoe that, once worn, can only tell your story. The look is a mix of modern off-beat and classic silhouettes, but each pair of shoes is unique for the wearer. They’re a blank canvas that is not blank; a shoe waiting to be filled.
Shop the collection here