Sole-Searching in John Fluevog Shoes
Written by: Lainie Towell
The Mexican painter Frida Kahlo once said: “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” Surely Frida never had her heels wrapped in John’s brilliance and style.
Yes, it is true. It is hard to imagine my life before John. Because of him I learned soles could have soul.
They say your first time marks you for the rest of your life. I think this is true. My first encounter with John was when I wore a pair of his black Mini Babycake leather boots. Their decorative buttons and rubber F-sole helped to define what I now consider ‘my perfect type.’ In his leather boots, John dared me as he did with hundreds of others before–to fall in love with his inimitable style. Like the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, I was blind to the fact that, until this moment, I had been walking through life barefoot. John gave me a glimpse of his imagination when his Mini Babycakes became mine. He would have me wrapped around his pinky toe for life.
Over the years, whenever I traveled outside of Ottawa, I hoped I would be lucky enough to see John again. I wanted more of him. I wanted to add another notch in my Fluevog belt.
I made a point of visiting places where I knew I could find him: Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago and New York. Regardless of the city, the unique desire that I felt the first time was always burning inside of me. I had become a Fluevoger and as a result, my shoe collection grew bigger.
My Mini Babycakes will always remain my first love. However, with each new Fluevog experience, I become more sure-footed. My personality echoes with each step forward that I take in John’s shoes.
My sweet and sassy side bloomed when I skipped in my Beatles orange Operetta Fiorenza’s. My inner ‘bohemian-chic’ child felt free, click-clacking through Ottawa’s ByWard Market courtyards in my wooden Ask Answer Clogs. The heavy metal zipper on my Cece Boots mirrored my determination and strength on dark winter days when I trudged through the snow. My Cheetah Print Arch Boots were a perfect fit when I wanted to shout out the wild in me–the artist and the activist–that couldn’t be tamed. Not surprisingly, I grew to admire my Prepare Volunteer Boots as much as my old vinyl record collection. They express my passion for all that is groovy in an everyday people sort of way.
In case you haven’t noticed, I am head over heels for John Fluevog Shoes. My adoration for Fluevog’s wearable art is so strong that I was fully prepared to remain in an intercity affair for the rest of my existence (or at least until I turned 100 and could no longer fit my bunions into his boots.) In all honesty, I never dreamed John would be interested in a commitment and want to settle down in Ottawa, Canada’s Capital.
I first heard the news while trying on a pair of chunky blue Guide shoes in Minneapolis. Initially, I was taken aback by the thought of having to share John with everybody at home, especially after our long history together. But then a realization struck me, like the one that struck John Fluevog when he designed the Guide shoe–my desire for exclusivity could result in my own personal, “Great-Fluevog Massacre.”
You see the Guide was inspired after John purchased several boxes of Girl Guide cookies to share with his fabulous employees. As he headed back to work, hunger struck hard and he ate every last one. The story goes that John disposed of the cookie boxes. He was found out in the end after the staff noticed crumbs all over his tie. John dubbed this event that led to the design of his Guide shoes as “the Great-Cookie Massacre.”
After July 1st, I will have to learn to share John Fluevog with my Ottawa brothers, sisters and tourists alike. The good news though is because there are actually two designers at John Fluevog Shoes, John and God, (says me AND fluevog.com), there should never be a shortage of unique soles to lift our souls.
John Fluevog is a Canadian shoe designer from Vancouver with footwear fans all over the world. (Even Madonna wore his shoes in her famous flick, Truth or Dare.) Ottawa Fluevoger’s are pumped to welcome John Fluevog Shoes to the ByWard Market. We can’t wait to leave our footprints in John’s signature soles all over O-Town. We also hope that John Fluevog staff prefers Beavertails to Girl Guide Cookies since they will be next door neighbours.