June 3, 2023


The art of Fashion

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

7 min read

With the tagline “unique soles for special souls because 1970”, independent Canadian footwear designer and retailer John Fluevog is regarded globally for considering nicely outdoors the shoebox. His prolonged-time faithful fans, recognised as Fluevogers, furthermore celebrity consumers that incorporate Madonna and of study course Dr. Bonnie Henry, all share an appreciation that John unapologetically styles what he loves.

Absolutely free-spirited Mr. Fluevog kicked off his vocation in the 60s at Vancouver’s Sheppard’s Shoes, and by 1970 he and fellow co-worker Peter Fox opened Fox and Fluevog in historic Gastown. Ten years later the two parted approaches and John went solo. The 80s introduced us his landmark Angel Soles, produced from 100% all-natural latex harvested from the Hevea Tree, and that nevertheless have the renowned concept on the sole: “Resists alkali, h2o, acid, exhaustion and Satan”. His retail company grew by opening boutiques around the world and a flourishing e-commerce site.

British textiles and manner designer Dame Zandra Rhodes celebrated her 50th 12 months in style in 2019 with a retrospective exhibition at the Vogue and Textile Museum, which she established in London, and a book released by Yale. With her signature warm pink bob, bold design and love of vivid colour, Ms. Rhodes has dressed Freddie Mercury, Diana Ross, and Princess Diana additionally collaborated with makes like Valentino, Topshop, and M•A•C Cosmetics, like a collection for IKEA in 2021.  

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

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

Zandra, were being you familiar with John Fluevog footwear, prior to doing the job collectively?

Zandra: A lot of many years back, I was to start with launched to the magical identify Fluevog when I was in New York accomplishing an appearance at Henri Bendel, and 1 of my charming buyers claimed, “you have to occur into this shop in Soho.” I went in and purchased a pair with a buckle, in green suede, and I had this inexperienced match to go with it that I experienced produced. The footwear have been like very little I experienced ever noticed before. They had been incredible. And cozy. I experienced them in my London flat, and a single Christmas I was absent for a week. I have double locks, but a person had burgled and entered from the roof. The only issue they took were the green sneakers, since they couldn’t get out the front door to acquire the tv and other massive matters down. But my sneakers 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 through all these a long time. So, there’s a single: if you lived as a result of it. And 2: if you lived by way of it in the manner enterprise. And 3: we are both independents. It’s a uncommon factor. My spouse and I went about to London previous 12 months and satisfied Zandra in her wonderful setting up and went to her attractive studio which is completely ‘Zanderized’ with stuff she enjoys. Her workspace is plentiful. 

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

Like a candy box, I am guaranteed.

John: Definitely. So, an agent got in touch with us about collaborating, and we assumed ok…but I imagine for the two of us when we are approached with an notion it’s not anything you leap into immediately, it has to work for the two events. The process has to be exciting. There are a lot of bits and parts that go into this. Special buckles and molds are designed, all the prints have to be the ideal sizing, the trims, we have to genuinely be on the same web site. We equally have to enable it go a little bit and look at what happens.

Zandra:  Moreover, we are the two surrounded by remarkable team.

John:  Indeed, we do have good personnel. And I really feel really privileged that a man from Vancouver can join …

Zandra: With a girl from London (laughs)

John:  I indicate, Zandra was just with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, she was using with 7 other Dames of repute.

What came first, the shoe styles or the colors and fabrics?

John: We started with a several of the legendary styles I had finished that are recognizable as Fluevog. Then 

Zandra added her twist – her prints, her wiggles. I am very pleased to honour her in her work that she invested a life span performing. 

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

It sounds like you have some shared sensibilities, of course?

Zandra: I assume we are the two well prepared to stick our neck out and try factors, that are not heading to appear like any person else’s.

John: And we are still applicable following all these decades, which is abnormal, and I imagine it needs to be stated that we each do the job tricky. 

Zandra: I believe each of us are on a different wavelength than other individuals. I would hardly ever place us in ‘fast fashion’ for occasion. I feel we are generating an strange solution that persons either like, or never like. 

John: If I was in quickly style, I possibly wouldn’t be in company these days. If I tried to stick to each individual development like a madman, I would be tremendous stressed yrs in the past, and out of business enterprise. It’s discovering your personal voice, your very own sensibility which is incredibly distinct from just adhering to traits. I’m not bragging when I say this but it is not quick to have your possess power that is picked up all-around the planet and regarded like ‘that’s a Zandra Rhodes, and which is a Fluevog’. If you stick to what’s inside of of you and what offers you strength, it works. I even now like hunting at footwear simply because they even now give me a thrill. 

Zandra: I imagine fashion is going to alter. I never believe the planet with its means, can retain pondering we’ve bought to develop a little something and then 6 months afterwards it is out of trend. I don’t imagine the resources can cope with that anyway. I can not cope with that either. 

John: With Zandra’s parts you can pull out something that you bought 30 a long time ago, and they glance terrific relying on what you blend and match jointly. I am with Zandra in that I really do not like generating footwear that you’re going to throw away or sense odd in a year from now, like ‘that’s so previous year’. I want to deliver issues that look gorgeous, that people say ‘those are wonderful, where did you get those people?’ and that are specific. Sneakers you preserve and that are not disposable.

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

John, how lots of suppliers are you at are now globally?

John: 24. We shrunk marginally during Covid, but I’m continue to in company.

Any fascinating plans with the new 4th Avenue retailer in Vancouver?

John: We created that keep to do functions, we prepared it for that. We like to do charity functions, it is aways enjoyment for us as a corporation and for my wife and I both equally. Sometimes business is business enterprise, and you can get all ‘whatever’ about it but at the finish of the working day if you are providing back to the community and there are items we can do to share and to give. There is that human pleasure in just residing, that you did a thing great. That means something to me. 

Any plans for new stores or initiatives?

John: We are usually searching and pondering. Our New York retail outlet moved a couple blocks absent for the duration of Covid since of rent circumstances, and pointless to say the internet is significantly reaching.  We have this issue named Intercontinental Fluevog Day every single May possibly 15th. It’s our working day of random acts of kindness. Every 12 months we have a celebration, and all our products are 15% off. Then we randomly give absent a free of charge pair of sneakers to each individual 51st shopper who stores on the net. I ring the bulk of them, and say a little something like “hi Mary, this is John Fluevog” and most of the time they assume the retail store is contacting them (laughs) and “did you know its IFD right now? Perfectly, your footwear are totally free.” It’s enjoyable appropriate? 

Any existence in film or tv currently?

John:  We did a boot for the Star Trek: Odd New Worlds series, anyone in the solid wears it as aspect of their uniform. We’ll make it offered to the community later on as portion of the slide/wintertime ’22 assortment.  

The John Fluevog x Zandra Rhodes Assortment is offered in merchants and on line.