If you’ve never heard of John Fluevog then perhaps you will recognise some of his shoe designs on some of the world’s most famous performers like Lady Gaga and Beyonce. He is the master of shoe design, having spent 50 years in the business from his start as an independent Canadian designer and retailer of forward-thinking footwear, creating ‘unique soles for unique souls’ since 1970. His earliest customers included The Beach Boys, Alice Cooper, filmmaker Robert Altman and a slew of slightly less famous Fluevogers. Recently he came to Australia to celebrate his first Australian flagship store in Melbourne. We caught up with this shoe maestro to find a bit more about John Fluevog and his love of shoes.
You’ve had such an interesting career, but for those that don’t know you, why and how did you start in this business? Was it something you always knew you wanted to do?
Those questions are in the book I wrote. But the short answer is I never really wanted to do it not did I have a big passion to design shoes. I just happen at the young age of 21-22 start working in a shoe store then shortly after I went in partnership with the manager of the store Peter Fox and 10 years later I went bought him out and really started on my won and designing shoes made sense to me as I wanted my own identity.. even thought at that point I would have never considered myself a designer.
What inspires your designs?
I love that question. My inspiration started to “roll over” me! I have spend my career s learning to trust myself. Learning that I was OK and to directly answer the question I would say I get inspiration when I Amy forced to come up with switch new product each season. I find when’s I let go images and ideas just pop into my head and I take the boldness to go do them. One could say I am just a conduit.
Your shoes are revered by so many celebrities and people around the world. Do you have a favourite pair you’ve designed?
All my shoes are my babies and i love them all the same. However I am bringing back a shoe called the “grand nationals” later this year and I think they maybe my favourites .. they are so primally sexy.
50 years on I still like the way shoes make me feel. And even more so how they make others feel. I’m a big fan of us all walking in stories.. walking in not so much the world we live in but another world.. one that’s more to our own liking and imagination. I think we all need to walk out of our own sometimes dreary lives.. Watching and seeing all kinds of different people walk in my shoes is still fun but I suppose the biggest thing is that I still get images and lines and drawings that just come to me. I’m such a lucky man!
Find some of John Fluevog’s designs at his Australian store at 1 Degreaves Street, Melbourne or visit the website www.fluevog.com where you can also purchase his book Fluevog: 50 Years of Unique Soles for Unique Souls