Solestruck just came out with one of its famous lookbooks, called "Stars from Mars," inspired by a certain quote from one Mr. Charlie Sheen. Fittingly, it features Solestruck's bold shoes with shiny, rubbery, space-y looks, shot by Harper Smith.
Although I'm also a proponent of the summer boot, a you've surely noticed we are now wading into boot season (literally—I was out jogging when that flash flood hit on Saturday, and the water flowing in the gutters came almost all the way up to my knees. Kind of awesome.). In honor of that transition, I've rounded up a quick selection of some of the nicest boots currently available at your local independents, but there are many, many more out there.
Aww, fall shopping is upon us. Arguably the most important season in the fashion calendar, don’t miss a step with a lesson in shoe styling from Imelda’s and Louie’s sweet new fall lookbook. Featuring their latest women’s and men’s collections, as well as stylish accessories from the likes of Will Leather Goods, Amano Trading, and Stoned and Beautiful they showcase the perfect blend of form and function with shoes practical but fashion forward. I especially love the new boots in by Frye, which seem to last forever and look even better with age. Scope the whole shopable lookbook here to get schooled.
By now you must know of, and have probably even walked through (maybe even engaged in an aesthetic debate over whether or not it's too plain?), the Union Way project that's essentially a hallway between the Ace Hotel and Powell's Books. If so, you may have noticed that one of the Burnside-facing tenants is none other than old school Portland boot company Danner, who have been riding the wave of heritage brand revivalism right on into the future.
Nonetheless, it feels a bit silly to file a brand like Danner, which built its name on work boots and the functional necessities of serious outdoorsmanship, under "fashion," even if the new location is quite stylish:
it all makes sense considering this is Danner's first foray into a "lifestyle concept" store (CAPS courtesy the press release), featuring the premium, Portland factory-made Stumptown line (they're launching the Vertigo 1022X in conjunction with the store, naming it after the new address) along with apparel from lines like Taylor Stitch. They're officially celebrating the new venture on September's First Thursday (the 5th) from 6-10 pm with live music and drinks, and a chance to peep that 10-foot living wall of Oregon-native plants up close. In the meanwhile, check out more photos of the store and the 1022X:
Solestruck just released their latest lookbook, "I Am the Teen Dream," a collaboration with Portland-born, New York-based photographer Miliken Gardner, a series that features model Kira King in various states of neo-Americana summertime repose—hanging off of a hitch trailer, using an inflatable as a lawn blanket, etc. I feel like the most recent moment for this low-fi photography style, in which the whole world looks like Vice, is about to sail into the sunset (I'm sure people more closely involved in the art world would argue that it already has, or never will), so bask in the grittiness now:
Last night I was chatting with Alicia Wood of the Ms. Wood clothing and accessories line, who just landed herself a new day job at start-up company Carson Footwear, who make—or will be making—running shoes down in Milwaukie, which is pretty amazing. If you're a person who makes an effort to support local, or at least domestic, manufacturing, athletic wear—especially shoes—is one of the most difficult departments in which to evade overseas mass production.
Info online is scarce at this point—their website is just a splash page, and they have all of four likes, including mine, on Facebook, and zero status updates, but I have an email out for more information, including an ETA of the launch. The most important thing to know, though, is encapsulated in the one line offered on their "about" page: "Making a better shoe in the US with all US materials and labor."
I just hope they agree with my knees.
The Frye Company is celebrating 150 years of making kick-ass boots, shoes, and accessories and they have just released their 150th Anniversary Collection to commemorate this awesome achievement. The Frye Company was founded in 1863 and is the oldest continuously operating footwear brand in America. They are rooted in American history, having been worn by pioneers and cowboys in the late 1800s as well as American soldiers at war. It takes more than 190 steps to make one pair of Frye boots, and a similar set of processes to make their shoes and accessories, which use the highest quality leathers and are tanned with natural oils.
Imelda's and Louie's Shoes is the exclusive local carrier of this collection, and it's up and on sale in their stores and online now. I suggest you save your pennies and snatch these beauties up quickly before they are gone.
Don't let the rain get you down. The streets could use a wash, and you could still use a nice Thursday evening outing. Of course, tonight is all about those First Thursday shenans, and don't forget to make a stop at Solestruck for their Melissa Shoes pop-up. As you surely know, Melissas are made entirely from recyclable plastic, but perhaps you didn't know that they also recycle 99.9% of the waste and water used in the production process, making them one of the most environmentally responsible companies in the world.
Party starts at 7!
Solestruck is having their next monthly pop-up shop with Melissa Shoes, known for being recyclable, sustainable, and all plastic. The Brazilian footwear company makes trendy shoes that are durable, stylish, and reasonably priced out of recycled materials and also recycle 99.9% of the waste and water used in the production process.
Solestruck pop-up shops always end up turning into a party, and this particular one is in conjunction with The Black Box First Thursday Event, the final one of the summer. The Solestruck event will offer giveaways, goodie bags, and a cocktail/candy bar, alongside the events at Yo Vintage!, Poler, and Mojave.
I'll admit it: With the exception of their holiday pop-up shop, I haven't been to Saturday Market in... gosh, many years (unless you count dodging attendees as the agility training portion of a jog). I mean, it's the Fisherman's Wharf of Portland, right? Strictly for tourists? That said, it's no surprise either that there are some diamonds tucked between the elephant ears and henna tattoos, it's just that getting to them is sort of exhausting.
One case in point is Orox Leather Co., a family business since 1969 that began with traditional Mexican leatherwork (their signature items are sandals) and has since branched into "more progressive designs" like leather tennis shoes and bags:
Recently they graduated from a garage workshop to a combination work studio/storefront at 450 NW Couch, and are celebrating with a grand opening on August 1st during First Thursday. They'll have discounts on all products, Ninkasi beer, and a surprise giveaway (if you have a pair of their sandals you can email owner Jose Martinez with your best story of an adventure you had while wearing them in order to be entered twice. They'll also have an installation of their products set up around the corner in the former Church of Elvis, because why not? He probably wouldn't mind.
In this week's Sold Out column, I found myself in the unexpected position of question the relevance of high heels, wondering if modern women were gradually rejecting the most uncomfortable iterations. Height, mind you, is not going to go anywhere; platforms (hidden or visible) and the popularity of thicker, more supportive heels have made it easy to go to extreme heights with far more comfort than a pinchy, thin-heeled stiletto. Fashion show producer and writer (and Merc contributor) Elizabeth Mollo agreed with the theory, declaring "I wouldn't ever, ever, wear stilettos again. Women are heading to a more functional place, and I think that includes great looking and comfortable footwear that one can actually walk and live in for extended periods of time."
"I do not see pointy high heels being phased out," says Christian, thereby blowing my fantasy out of the water. However, she acknowledged what prompted this topic in the first place, which was the editor in chief of this paper ranting out his scorn of stiletto'd and hobbled women on the Las Vegas Strip after returning from a recent trip. "It is unattractive when a woman is shuffling around in her heels. It is also unattractive when a woman decides to walk with her shoes in hand because they are uncomfortable. I do not think that it is the shoe that is unattractive. A high heel is sexy."
"Stilettos are for runway looks, important people, and sorority girls. That is solely my opinion," counters Dahlgreen. "I have never been a heel person until platforms became popular. I will and can only wear platforms. I think real fashion is being able to dress up a comfortable shoe and still look killer. For example, I saw this blogger and she was wearing a Nike sneaker with a leather tight skirt and an oversized tee shirt. AND SHE LOOKED AMAZING!! That, to me, is what's sexy. And I think many men would agree."
When asked about the variety of alternatives available for a woman today, Christian said, "Women are excited by their shoe options and comfort is something that I find to be on many women's minds when they are looking for a shoe. I have also experienced women who are expecting their shoe to meet all of their life's needs. That is a lot of pressure to put on a shoe! It also stifles one's ability to really enjoy the creativeness of shoes and what they offer to one's personal style." Says Dahlgreen, "There is a time and place for stilettos, but why torture yourself if you can make a Converse, a western style boot, or even a sneaker look just as fashionable? Also, working in a shoe store, I can't even tell you how many times I've heard, 'I love these, I just don't think I could walk in them!'"
Conclusions: "I do not see the end of the stiletto. They are needed in different aspects of our lives such as business formal work environments and holiday parties. A clog worn with a cocktail dress or evening dress doesn't convey the same level of sexuality as a stiletto," says Christian. "Personally I am a big fan of the stiletto. They are a very versatile shoe. The problem with them lies in making sure you have the right fit and that the shoe is well balanced."
As for Dahlgreen: "I don't think stilettos will ever be completely out, but I think they are no longer (were they ever?) considered high fashion.
Today Converse and Ace Hotel are unveiling a third style in their partnership with the limited-edition Converse x Ace Hotel Pro Leather. The high-top is constructed with a clean and white minimalistic design aesthetic and features premium materials of white leather with grey contrast and an allover Ace Hotel "A" pattern. The choice of either white leather or cotton laces is available, and it all comes in a fancy custom-packaged dust bag with box lid. These kicks will set you back $120, but in all honesty, I am not really a sneaker person and I would totally rock these all the time. The Converse x Ace Hotel Pro Leather is on sale now at the Portland Ace Hotel, along with the Seattle, New York, and Palm Spring locations, and online here.
I’d never thought I’d be saying this, but hang up your heels and grab a pair of sneakers for this summer’s must have statement shoe: Nike Air Maxes, Dunks, high-tops, any kind of athletic sporty vibe will do the trick (I’d however avoid the wedge-heeled sneaker; their moment is fleeting.) Look to the babes below for styling cues.
Remember those crazy platform sneakers from the '90s made famous by the Spice Girls and ravers? For some people that shoe never went out of style, and they have been rockin' them ever since—when they could find them, of course. Now it's easier than ever to look sporty, and at the same time tower over your friends, with the new Solestruck X Buffalo collaboration. The Buffalo brand enjoyed much of its success in the 1990s, but is still thriving as a fast fashion shoe company catering to a mostly European market. Solestruck has been carrying the brand since 2012, selling out of styles as quickly as they can be restocked. This inspired them to collaborate and design a collection with Buffalo, as they have done in the past with Jeffrey Campbell, Black Milk, and others. It pretty much screams '90s raver club kid with its neon and pop colors, and if this kind of shoe is your jam I would act fast, as the collection went live last week and is sure to sell out. See it the whole collection here.
Shot here in Portland, Solestruck’s latest lookbook makes Killingsworth Street look like an issue of Nylon. Featuring fresh spring looks by my personal faves Rachel Comey, Deandri, and Miista, this lookbook takes an unexpected darker side towards spring. Forget flowers and pastel shades—I’ll be rockin’ leather all spring long! Click here to see the entire spread.
With the vast majority being made in overseas factories, the art of custom shoe crafting has come very near to the brink of extinction in recent times. Thankfully, there's been a revival of sorts, just as there's been similar returns to tradition in everything from food production (hi home canning and kimchee and kombucha!) to local small-batch manufacturing (welcome back, Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker!).
Halo Shoes has long been Portland's ground zero for serious shoes, and in their current location they have the luxury of a workshop space to accommodate those who are ready to take their obsession to the next level and start getting their hands dirty. Enter Daniel McRorie, a Brooklyn shoemaker who Halo brought out to teach a workshop next weekend wherein participants will make their own pair of moccasins (from pre-drafted patterns, thankfully eliminating the suckiest part). Speaking of serious, the workshop is about as cheap as a pair of shoes from Halo (read: not cheap), but reading my Q&A with the guy in this week's Sold Out column? Totally free.
This isn't a new style, or a new color of an old style for the new season.
(Nor is it a cupcake.)
This Chie Mihara jam is the shoe of the day not just because I love it, but because it represents important, time sensitive news for penny pinching women's shoe lovers: For one week only, Lille Boutique is putting all of their current Chies on 50% off to make way for new arrivals.
The current selection has tons of covetable styles, and don't all scream "fall sale," such as the ones above. (A special note to brides, speaking of which: I got married last summer and found a pair of wedding-appropriate shoes I loved almost a year and a half prior to the actual event, and I didn't snatch them up because I figured I would love something from next year's season just as much. That didn't really happen, and now I can't even find them in any of the other non-bridal appropriate colors they had, and I still want them just to wear to whatever. Anyway, the point is, don't wait. I ended up scrambling, and it sucked (I lucked out with a pair of Dries Van Notens on sale at Halo, so all's well that ended well).)
Plenty of styles are fall-appropriate too, especially these bitchin', blinging oxfords:
There are many more, check 'em out now, and act fast. The week will go by quickly.
The mainstream popularity of moccasins that comes and goes is definitely in its "going" stage, but making your own pair is pretty baller, regardless of the trend forecast. Plus these are beautifully made—check out the crazy combination and real, durable sole at right especially:
Halo Shoes—which in addition to being one of the better shoe sources in town has taken up a commendable interest in teaching the public about various forms of leather crafting—is hosting two weekend workshops next month where you can sign up to make a pair of your very own, which is a pretty amazing accomplishment for one weekend and a roomful of n00bs. Leading the process is Daniel McRorie:
Daniel McRorie is the founder of Rickard Guy New York, an artist/craftsman workshop with a focus on making footwear from design to finish. Thirteen years ago Daniel began his shoe making career as a cobbler repairing shoes. Part of the journey aside from in shop work involved working as an orthic technician at an orthotic and prosthetic clinic, a wholesale picker at a shoe findings warehouse, and various positions along the line at a factory making cowboy boots and ropers. Daniel's education has come almost entirely on the job and he has been fortunate to work with and learn from some very talented craftsmen beginning with a cobbler named Ross Mcwiggin. Believing that learning never ends, he has recently taken cemented construction and hand sewn welt construction from Hungarian master shoemaker Marcell Mrsan.
Express lane to shoe making this may be, it is not for the casual: It costs $525 to attend, on either March 16 & 17 or 23 & 24 (10 am-6 pm). But think about it this way: That's about what a really nice pair of shoes costs.
Solestruck recently started a blog series called In My Shoes, which chronicles staff members and their favorite spots around town. With such national and international outreach, I love the fact that they feature small local independent shops and business here in Portland. Most recently Ms. Anna Branch, the Creative Lead (and one of my besties!) at Solestruck took us on a tour of her favorite vintage spots in town. Topping the list is Eden, Rock N’ Rose, Yo Vintage!, and Julia Barbee’s 811 E. Burnside storefront. Check out the super cute photos below, and stay tuned for more In My Shoes on Solestruck’s blog.
Solestruck never disappoints when it comes to their lookbooks, and the newly released Imelda 13 is the most ambitious yet. Shot just after Christmas in Manila, this lookbook features shoes and clothing from Philippine based brand Gold Dot, and the shoes will be available on the Solestruck website in February. Here are some shots from the lookbook, and you can view the entire thing here.
Movember is now in full swing, and that means we will see many moustaches sprouting in order to raise awareness about men's health issues this month. TOMS has taken the initiative to collaborate with the Movember organization by creating a limited edition TOMS Movember shoe and launching them with parties around the world. In Portland the party will be at Blake and will feature a barber for a clean shave & start to the month, DJ Nature, food, a whiskey bar, and the opportunity to preview and purchase the Movember TOMS shoe. It's all happening tonight from 7-10 pm.
Solestruck’s f/w 2012 lookbook is fresh! Seriously loving the Grimes lookalike model, showcasing their latest kicks mixed in with clothing from independent designer Esque by Leslie Pennel (as seen at their Deju Vu presentation) and big names like Stolen Girlfriends Club. Check out the whole spread and shop the looks here.
In a town known for an abundance of beards, I am pleased to announce an event focused on moustaches. Movember & Sons is an organization that aims to raise awareness and funds for men's health, specifically prostrate and testicular initiatives and, frankly, they make this issue sexy. Whether rugged or well-groomed, "generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts."
Backed by TOMS, the collaboration launches at Portland retailer Blake Nov. 6. You can sip on some fine bourbon in the whiskey lounge and tame any wild moustaches at the shave station. Tunes provided by DJ Nature, moustache eye candy provided by the handsome folks of Portland.
Festivities begin at 7.
Just in time for Fall, thanks to another boot collaboration your feet will stay warm and dry in style when, inevitably, the rain returns and doesn't let up until July. Oregon staple Pendleton has teamed up with British icon Dr. Martens to create two signature boots that have all the sturdiness and comfort you expect from Dr. Martens paired with the iconic Pendleton jacquard we just can't seem to get enough of. There are also two satchels in the collection, so your shoes can match your bag! Check out the video below to get a peek at how the boots are made. (Fun fact: Pendleton and Dr. Martens are actually neighbors—Martens' U.S. headquarters are here in Portland, just up the street from the Pendleton headquarters.)
If that was not enough Pendleton to get you through your day, check out this awesome behind the scenes video by Seattle boutique Horseshoe featuring pieces from the Fall 2012 Pendleton Portland Collection, starring longtime Portland model Adazoe:
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!