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:
Add another layer onto your scheduling options for Design Week (Oct 9-3) and FASHIONxt (Oct 10-13): The purveyors of exciting shoes and makers of parties over at Solestruck are joining the flurry of design-related activity with "No Sleep Til...," a three-day series of carousal, fashion, and music, capped off with a mother of a sample sale, set for Oct 11-14.
Thing will start off early on Thursday with "No Sleep Til... Hard to Swallow," a Design Week reception hosted at the flagship store (designed by Skylab Architecture) from noon-3 pm, with cocktails for all the day-drinkers in the house. Saturday's "No Sleep Til... Deja Vu" will be a blowout: It's a fashion and music presentation featuring Hello Eliza, Esque by Leslie Pennel, Degen, Stolen Girlfriends Club, and Bess, and music from DJ Tah Rei, White Rainbow, and Yacht. It'll go down at The Spot (2401 N. Harding), with doors at 6 and presentations starting at 7 (I don't know all the nitty gritties, but don't expect a traditional runway show).
And, then, on Sunday, we have "No Sleep Til... The Shit Show," Solestruck's first-ever sample sale, with all shoes priced between $20-100! Doors at the store will open at noon, and it will no doubt be a madhouse, so go early and be nice! All of this is in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the flagship store, so don't forget to high five 'em when you see 'em.
Danner Boots and Tanner Goods are hosting an event this evening to launch their collaboration boot, the Mountain Trail Left Bank. This boot was built as part of Danner Stumptown's Fall Collection and materials include Horween Chromexel leather, gunmetal hardware, a contrast midsole, a Vibram® Gumlite outsole, and leather lining. Like all Danner Stumptown boots it is 100% crafted in their Portland factory and each boot will ship with a Tanner Goods key fob.
The event will take place from 7:00pm to 10:00pm in the Black Box Building next to Tanner Goods and will feature live music by The Parson Red Heads as well as food and drinks. Those who purchase at least $50 worth of goods will receive a limited edition Horween wristband. Bend, Oregon based artist Adam Haynes has also created a custom illustration that will be on display at the event, and anyone that purchases boots before October 19th will be placed in a raffle to win the illustration. Check out the video which features the making of the illustration as well as an adorable dog, all to the soundtrack of one of my favorite Nuggets songs.
At long last, the new extension of the block-dominating Imelda's and Louie's shoe store is open, boasting more room for a grander selection of men's shoes, in addition to roomier digs for their online operations. In the past few days the weather has taken on a distinctly autumnal pallor, so if you're still in the market for a fresh pair of fall boots, or you just like that new-store smell, they're having a grand opening party this evening from 5-8 pm with Whiffies Pies, live music from Just Lions, plus giveaways and raffles.
As posted about here, Solestruck just came out with a new loobook for their Fall and Winter 2012 stock, and man it's a doozy. As you know I am no stranger to the vision quest, and this lookbook is full of all sorts of great ideas about what to wear to my next one. Shot by Erika Bates and featuring new styles by Jeffrey Campbell, Matiko, Cheap Monday, ACNE, and Dolce Vita paired with clothing from the likes of Yo Vintage! and Rad Summer, MALHUER is dreamy, culty, and definitely out of this world. Check out my favorite shots and see the complete lookbook here.
The people over at Solestruck have been talking about their new lookbook, MALHEUR, for what seems like forever, posting inspiration photos and the like on their blog. I have pretty much been dying to see the thing, and they finally dropped a sneak peak video yesterday. The full lookbook comes out tomorrow, which I will be posting here (duh), but for now tide yourself over with the video, and just try not to run away to the desert to embark on your own vision quest.
As mentioned, and as you've surely discovered if you ambled down SE Hawthorne sometime this summer in search of some heat-quenching Cold Stone Creamery, Imelda's and Louie's has turned its former neighbor into an expansion of the "Louie's" end as well as space for their online sales operations, meaning an expanded range for everyone. After a couple months of remodeling, which they faithfully documented on their Facebook page, the door to the new shop swung open on Friday.
I've always felt like Portland has a serious dearth of cool and interesting men's shoes (as in not Nikes or Adidas), so I was exited to find out that Manifeso is expanding their selection with three new sneaker styles from Tsubo, Camper and Tretorn. All three of these styles are timeless and super versatile. My personal favorites are the Camper K3's, a low-top suede style (love suede) that can be dressed down or dressed up (a little), and can be worn any season. Check them out:
Solestruck has been slowly upping their men's selection for a while, and now that they have a men's buyer they have a wide array of styles for the guys to choose from. Obviously the next step was to make a lookbook devoted just to them and Home Boy, photographed by Lavenda Memory, shows looks that are totally wearable by any guy, no matter what his style may be. Below are my favorite shots, and to view the Home Boy Lookbook in it's entirety go here.
It's been a while since we heard from Donovan Skirvin, one of the few people in this town full of makers who makes handmade shoes. He's back on the scene now, though, with the Elske Project, a Kickstarter campaign in which he's pledging to make 10 pairs of shoes using only non-mechanized tools. The tagline for the campaign is "Proof That High Quality Goods Can Be Produced By Hand Here."
Donors of $75 or more will get shoes! But the point is bigger than that.
By combining traditional practices with new ones, Elske has found a way to produce beautiful shoes that do not require machines to be produced in an extremely efficient way. This is important because it shows that it is possible to create a production system that employs humans in a way that engages mind and body in a manner that modern humans seem to want in the work place. The process also demonstrates the feasibility of producing quality goods in the United States. The process will be documented from start to finish with writing and photography. At the completion of the production phase of this project, a final exhibit will take place. This exhibit will show all tools used in the process, all design notes, detailed explanation of the process, photographs of production, ten pairs of shoes, and interactivity with the shoemaker.
If you have not gazed upon the beauty that is a Finsk shoe I suggest that you immediately do so. Online images are great, but to truly appreciate their amazingness I highly recommend seeing them in person, and luckily that is not too hard in Portland as our very own Solestruck Flagship store often carries them when they come out with new styles, as is currently the case, and they have told me they will have a Finsk display up this week.
The crazy and awesome designs of Finsk come from the mind of Finnish born and London based designer Julia Lundsten:
With an architect father and interior designer mother, Lundsten has cultivated an eye for design, clearly reflected in her work. Some of her biggest inspirations have derived from architecture, including buildings and furniture details as well as structures found in nature. Likening a shoe to a chair, Lundsten views the heel and sole as the chair legs, with the upper, the seat.
Lundsten's unique, modern designs are avant-garde yet supremely wearable. She cleverly uses contrasting leathers and wooden sculptured heels to create design masterpieces. The natural beauty of locally sourced materials is a significant component of each collection, each pair of shoes being handcrafted in an atelier in Brazil. The production process is as ethical as possible and all leathers used in Lundsten's designs are by-products of other industries.
To look at these shoes, you might say to yourself, "Yes they are amazing, but how the fuck do you walk in them?" Well it is possible, and I have first hand experience as I was able to try on a pair at the Solestruck grand opening party. I was even slightly tipsy and was able to navigate myself just fine.
Like most artful things, Finsk shoes will set you back quite a bit (they go up to $999,) but maybe if you just came into some money, or if you don't give a shit about your credit and charge them (I don't condone this) or if you save up for a while, you can own a pair all to yourself. Think of it as an investment. Also think about how fucking awesome you will look while wearing them.
Tonight during the East Burnside First Friday shenans, Portland author Jon Raymond (books: The Half Life, Livability, Rain Dragon, films: Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff, miniseries: Mildred Pierce, but you probably knew that) will be revealing his selection of recommended items at Nationale, which should probably win an award for Best Fusion of Art and Retail Space. The concept, instituted by Ty Ennis, is simple: selections from Nationale's fascinatingly eclectic merchandise—French apothecary, art, literature, music, curios, accessories, espadrilles—are selected by a rotating cast of notable creatives, creating a kind of self-portrait in retail form, which admirers can, if they so choose, pluck from. Stop by from 6-8 pm for the unveiling.
I just got a chance to check out The Shoe Store, one of the spots previously mentioned on this blog as part of a new crop of retailers that has popped up in recent months. Located on 16th and Alberta, the space is small but carries a wide variety of shoes from a range of brands including footwear staples like Keds and Puma, as well as some smaller labels like MOVMT, Gola and Unstitched Utilities—which has these crinkly shoes in a paper-like material that I really, really want.
Owners Allan Fish and Kelly Dorius were inspired to open the store after wandering into a shoe store in San Francisco, and realizing how much we're missing out on here in Portland. Fish notes that while "there is a wealth of sneakers here," they mostly come from those local industry giants Nike and Adidas.The pair wanted to create a store that carries "a wide variety of shoes that you're not gonna find anywhere else." That is why most of the Shoe Store's merchandise is exclusive, and when they run out of one style, they move onto something new, rather than restocking.
Here are some of my favorite styles:
As mentioned, SE Hawthorne's Imelda's and Louie's shoe store has acquired the former Cold Stone Creamery space next door, which they are going to dedicate to expanding the Louie's/men's half of the enterprise. I never set foot in the Cold Stone, and so never realized the size of it until seeing the photos being taken of the remodel. The current location is already about three times the average size of a boutique, so when the project is completed, Imelda's and Louie's will qualify as massive, surely the largest square footage in the city dedicated to shoes outside of corporate entities like Nordstrom and Macy's. At this point it's still looking quite raw, but you can monitor the progress as it unfolds by following their documentation of it on Facebook.
The latest dust-up in the sneaker world comes courtesy of Adidas, who recently posted photos of their latest collaboration with Jeremy Scott, the JS Roundhouse Mids:
The internet responded in immediate uproar, accusing the sneakers of riffing on the shackles used on African American slaves (which seems overly specific, since they also look like the shackles seen in depictions of Native American slaves, Shanghaied sailors, and pretty much every other kind of slave or prisoner ever, from the Renaissance, to the Spanish Inquisition, to Game of Thrones). Adidas responded, saying, "Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted and his previous shoe designs for Adidas Originals have, for example, included panda heads and Mickey Mouse. Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful.” However, soon after they decided to cancel the shoe, planned to debut in August, altogether.
Join the Black Box crew this Saturday for a Spring Break you won’t forget. Just because you’re not bopping off to somewhere sunny doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. First mentioned here, these are all the deets you need to know: Isaac Hers will host a “Make My Break” sale and party from 3-9 pm, boasting 20% off apparel plus an extra 5% off when you check-in on FB. Drinks, DJ, and lots of fun. Blackbird is having a kissing booth benefitting the Pixie Project: $5 for a peck on the cheek and a buck buys a hug. Blackbird will also be uploading their fave pictures of party-goers dressed in their best Blackbird spring break get-up. Tanner Goods & The Woodlands are serving up beer from Ninkasi, and staying open late to host their end of season sale. Pop by Dunderdon for a brew and to shop their sale, too. Solestruck is going all out college-kid style, complete with jello shots, PBRs, a DJ, and swag bags for the first 100 people through the door—this party is going to be their biggest and craziest yet, celebrating their latest pop-up shop with two very sought-after labels: Saltwater Gypsy Vintage and Tnemnroda Jewelry, the goods are bound to go quickly. Oh, did I also mention they are gifting five pairs of Litas in a giveaway contest? Yep. Shin-dig kicks off at 7 pm. Party on, Wayne? Party on, Garth. See ya there, kiddos.
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