Vancouver-Based John Fluevog Launches 1st Collaboration with Iconic UK Designer Zandra Rhodes: Feature Q&A

With the tagline “unique soles for one of a kind souls given that 1970”, independent Canadian footwear designer and retailer John Fluevog is recognised globally for pondering effectively outside the house the shoebox. His very long-time devoted admirers, identified as Fluevogers, furthermore movie star shoppers that include things like Madonna and of system Dr. Bonnie Henry, all share an appreciation that John unapologetically layouts what he loves.

No cost-spirited Mr. Fluevog kicked off his vocation in the 60s at Vancouver’s Sheppard’s Sneakers, and by 1970 he and fellow co-employee Peter Fox opened Fox and Fluevog in historic Gastown. 10 several years later on the two parted methods and John went solo. The 80s brought us his landmark Angel Soles, created from 100% organic latex harvested from the Hevea Tree, and that even now have the well-known concept on the sole: “Resists alkali, drinking water, acid, tiredness and Satan”. His retail business enterprise grew by opening boutiques about the globe and a thriving e-commerce web site.

British textiles and vogue designer Dame Zandra Rhodes celebrated her 50th yr in style in 2019 with a retrospective exhibition at the Manner and Textile Museum, which she started in London, and a e book revealed by Yale. With her signature sizzling pink bob, bold design and style and really like of vivid color, Ms. Rhodes has dressed Freddie Mercury, Diana Ross, and Princess Diana furthermore collaborated with models like Valentino, Topshop, and M•A•C Cosmetics, such as a selection for IKEA in 2021.  

The Fluevog x Zandra Rhodes collection unveiled in June 2022, and author Catherine Dunwoody experienced the prospect to sit down with equally designers to chat.

John Fluevog & Zandra Rhodes (Picture courtesy of John Fluevog Footwear)

Zandra, were being you acquainted with John Fluevog shoes, prior to doing work jointly?

Zandra: Numerous many years ago, I was initially released to the magical title Fluevog when I was in New York executing an visual appeal at Henri Bendel, and one of my pretty clients said, “you ought to occur into this shop in Soho.” I went in and purchased a pair with a buckle, in inexperienced suede, and I experienced this environmentally friendly accommodate to go with it that I experienced manufactured. The sneakers were being like nothing I had ever seen ahead of. They ended up fantastic. And snug. I had them in my London flat, and a person Christmas I was absent for a week. I have double locks, but another person experienced burgled and entered from the roof. The only matter they took ended up the eco-friendly footwear, simply because they couldn’t get out the front door to just take the tv and other massive issues down. But my footwear went. (laughs)

How did you two meet up with and when?

John: We are two birds of a feather, two soul mates, mainly because we…

Zandra: Lived thru the 60s! (laughs)

John: (laughs) And 70s, and 80s and 90s. We lived via all these many years. So, there is a person: if you lived by means of it. And 2: if you lived by way of it in the manner organization. And 3: we are both of those independents. It is a exceptional point. My wife and I went around to London previous calendar year and fulfilled Zandra in her wonderful setting up and went to her beautiful studio which is completely ‘Zanderized’ with stuff she enjoys. Her workspace is ample. 

John Fluevog & Zandra Rhodes (Photo courtesy of John Fluevog Shoes)

Like a sweet box, I am sure.

John: Absolutely. So, an agent bought in touch with us about collaborating, and we thought ok…but I consider for both equally of us when we are approached with an strategy it’s not something you soar into quickly, it has to work for both events. The procedure has to be fun. There are a large amount of bits and parts that go into this. Specific buckles and molds are manufactured, all the prints have to be the suitable sizing, the trims, we have to seriously be on the same site. We both have to permit it go a little bit and view what happens.

Zandra:  Moreover, we are equally surrounded by thrilling staff members.

John:  Yes, we do have great staff. And I feel very privileged that a person from Vancouver can hook up …

Zandra: With a female from London (laughs)

John:  I suggest, Zandra was just with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, she was driving with 7 other Dames of reputation.

What arrived very first, the shoe kinds or the colors and fabrics?

John: We begun with a handful of of the legendary styles I experienced finished that are recognizable as Fluevog. Then 

Zandra additional her twist – her prints, her wiggles. I am pretty pleased to honour her in her operate that she expended a life time doing. 

John Fluevog and Zandra Rhodes collaborate on Spring/Summer season ’22 capsule collection (Picture: Dustin Fuhs)

It sounds like you have some shared sensibilities, yes?

Zandra: I feel we are both prepared to stick our neck out and consider factors, that are not heading to seem like any one else’s.

John: And we are however related following all these several years, which is abnormal, and I feel it desires to be claimed that we both work tough. 

Zandra: I think both equally of us are on a unique wavelength than other individuals. I would by no means set us in ‘fast fashion’ for instance. I consider we are generating an unusual product or service that men and women either like, or really do not like. 

John: If I was in quickly manner, I possibly wouldn’t be in enterprise nowadays. If I tried to observe every single craze like a madman, I would be tremendous stressed years back, and out of small business. It is locating your possess voice, your very own sensibility which is extremely distinct from just following tendencies. I’m not bragging when I say this but it’s not effortless to have your possess strength that is picked up about the planet and recognized like ‘that’s a Zandra Rhodes, and that is a Fluevog’. If you follow what is inside of of you and what offers you vitality, it functions. I nonetheless like looking at footwear since they continue to give me a thrill. 

Zandra: I feel fashion is heading to improve. I do not assume the environment with its means, can hold thinking we’ve bought to deliver a little something and then 6 months later on it’s out of manner. I really don’t feel the means can cope with that anyway. I just cannot cope with that possibly. 

John: With Zandra’s parts you can pull out one thing that you bought thirty several years ago, and they seem great dependent on what you blend and match together. I am with Zandra in that I really do not like producing footwear that you are going to toss away or feel odd in a year from now, like ‘that’s so previous year’. I want to deliver factors that glimpse wonderful, that individuals say ‘those are great, the place did you get individuals?’ and that are distinctive. Shoes you preserve and that are not disposable.

John Fluevog & Zandra Rhodes (Photo courtesy of John Fluevog Shoes)

John, how many stores are you at are now globally?

John: 24. We shrunk marginally throughout Covid, but I’m nevertheless in company.

Any fascinating strategies with the new 4th Avenue shop in Vancouver?

John: We made that keep to do situations, we planned it for that. We like to do charity occasions, it is aways enjoyable for us as a organization and for my spouse and I both of those. In some cases organization is business enterprise, and you can get all ‘whatever’ about it but at the end of the working day if you are supplying back to the local community and there are issues we can do to share and to give. There is that human pleasure in just residing, that you did anything great. That signifies a little something to me. 

Any programs for new retailers or initiatives?

John: We are generally looking and thinking. Our New York retail outlet moved a several blocks absent throughout Covid because of rent cases, and pointless to say the web is much achieving.  We have this factor identified as International Fluevog Day each May well 15th. It’s our working day of random acts of kindness. Each and every calendar year we have a celebration, and all our products and solutions are 15% off. Then we randomly give away a cost-free pair of sneakers to just about every 51st consumer who shops on the web. I ring the the greater part of them, and say one thing like “hi Mary, this is John Fluevog” and most of the time they consider the retail store is contacting them (laughs) and “did you know its IFD nowadays? Perfectly, your footwear are absolutely free.” It’s enjoyment suitable? 

Any presence in film or television these days?

John:  We did a boot for the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds collection, everyone in the forged wears it as part of their uniform. We’ll make it readily available to the general public later as section of the drop/winter ’22 selection.  

The John Fluevog x Zandra Rhodes Collection is out there in stores and on-line.