More Than a Shoemaker. A Friend.
In Memory Of
Mauricio Osorio, Western Costume Company’s esteemed Head Shoemaker, dedicated more than four decades of his life to Western Costume Company, leaving an enduring legacy of unparalleled craftsmanship. Born in El Salvador, Mauricio's journey in the art of shoemaking began in his early years as the son and grandson of skilled shoemakers. “The shoe line is like tailoring, some make only pants, some make jackets. Everyone was working on shoes in my home, so I had the fortune to learn every part of the process from scratch… that helped me a lot when I started at Western Costume,” Mauricio said. His passion and talent blossomed while working in his family's shoe factory alongside his brothers until he embarked on a new chapter by immigrating to America at the age of 22. In 1978, Mauricio began at Western Costume Company and became an integral part of the Western family. He credited costume designer Wayne Finkelman for taking him under his wing to learn the ins and outs of the costume industry. Mauricio worked closely with Wayne on several films, and during the production of “The Golden Child” (1986) for which Mauricio crafted 150 pairs of boots. “You have to consider the purpose of each shoe,” Mauricio said; whether the actor is running, standing, sitting, or dancing could change the way Mauricio built the shoe. Mauricio's craftsmanship is deeply interwoven into the fabric of our world-class shoe department. His artistry graced the screens of numerous films and television shows, contributing to the visual storytelling of iconic productions such as "Overboard" (1987), "Masters of the Universe" (1987), "Cinderella Man" (2005), “Master and Commander" (2003), “Black Panther” (2018), “Call of the Wild” (2020), and countless others. Whether crafting shoes for leading actors or performing routine repairs for stock, Mauricio approached each piece of work with unwavering pride and dedication. Beyond the realm of film and television, Mauricio's talent extended to crafting specialty shoes for notable figures like Michael Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal. Teaching his craft was also important to Mauricio; he taught shoemaking to students at Woodbury University in Burbank. “Many people drive a car, but they don’t know how the car is made. The same thing happens when a student is learning how to design shoes or boots; they realize how many things are involved,” Mauricio said. In 1986, Mauricio advocated for the hiring of his brother-in-law, Victor Funes, and personally taught him the art of shoe repair. The two worked side-by-side at Western for 33 years until Victor’s retirement in 2019. While he may be best remembered for the shoes and leatherwork he created, Mauricio was a man of many facets. His infectious humor, love of world travel, and captivating stories endeared him to colleagues, friends, and costume designers. His kindness, a quality that radiated to everyone he encountered, created a warmth that will be fondly remembered by all who had the privilege of knowing him. “I was very young when I started at Western, and it was a good opportunity. To work for motion pictures is such a challenge. Every movie, every job with a designer is something new that I haven’t done before. That is the reason I am very happy in this industry.”