John Fluevog

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Store sign on Newbury Street in Boston

John Fluevog is a Canadian shoe designer. His shoes are noted for their progressive, art deco inspired styles. His shoes often include messages—for instance, "Resists alkali, water, acid, fatigue and Satan" -- engraved into the soles.

Career[edit]

Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Fluevog spent much of his youth at his father's drive-in ice cream parlour. During this time, he developed a passion for cars, which in turn has provided inspiration for many of his shoe designs. As his company's website declares, "When he's drawing a shoe, he's thinking about a car and, when he's drawing a car, he's thinking about a shoe".

After spending a summer hitchhiking the west coast, Fluevog returned to Vancouver and began working for Sheppard's Shoes. In 1970, he joined forces with fellow co-worker Peter Fox to start their own shoestore in Vancouver's Gastown. The partnership, known as "Fox and Fluevog", lasted over ten years before the two split amicably in 1981. In 1985, Fluevog opened his own store in Seattle, financed in part by the sale of his car.

During the 1980s, Fluevog was the first to import Dr. Marten shoes into North America. By the 1990s, Fluevog had opened five privately owned and operated stores in Seattle, Vancouver, Boston, Toronto, and New York. His shoes began to appear in magazines such as Vogue, in fashion shows for Anna Sui and Betsey Johnson, and upon the feet of celebrities such as Madonna and Lady Miss Kier. In her movie, "Truth Or Dare", Madonna opens a box of hot pink platform Fluevogs, slips them on, walks toward the camera and says, "Ya like 'em?". Fluevog shoes also were popular in the fashion of the Seattle Grunge movement, particularly his "Angel" boots that included the inscription "Resists alkali, water, acid, fatigue and Satan" on their soles. By the end of the 1990s, Fluevog had stores in San Francisco and Chicago. These were followed in the 2000s by stores in Los Angeles, Montreal, and a new flagship store in Gastown. As of August, 2010 there were 11 Fluevog stores.[1]

"Green philosophy"[edit]

As part of Fluevog's green philosophy, when he opened his new Gastown store he moved his design office into the store location where customers can watch the design team in action from the first floor showroom. By creating desks out of scaffolding, tables out of fallen old growth oak trees and pipes salvaged from the Alaskan Pipeline, and using recycled carpets and other various cast-off items, John designed an eco-friendly workspace. Fluevog "Angel" soles are resoleable and made from hevea tree latex, a natural latex harvested in Vietnam. Some styles have been made using vegetable tanned leathers. Fluevog has also released remakes of successful styles using hemp instead of leather, making the shoes vegan.

Design collaborations[edit]

In 2002, John created Open Source Footwear, an online site where anyone can submit shoe designs. If a submission is selected, the shoe is named after its creator. So far, there have been twelve open source submissions manufactured. Other Fluevog collaboration designs have been a snowboarding boot with Ride Snowboards, a bicycling shoe with Race Face Bikes, a shoe with the Danielson Family, and more recently a Riding boot designed with Courtney Taylor-Taylor of the The Dandy Warhols. In 2007 after a spontaneous performance in the Vancouver storefront, Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction, gravitated towards the women's heels. Inspired by the performance, Fluevog designed a 2.5" men's high heeled boot named "Perry," which was manufactured in blue faux-crocodile, black snake, and mirror silver leathers for Fluevog's Fall '08 line.

Famous Fluevogers[edit]

John has gained fans all over the world, known as "Fluevogers". Some notable fans include Whoopi Goldberg, who wore a pair of John's Mini "Lover boots" on her first day as co-host on The View, Woody Harrelson, Scarlett Johansson, Robin Williams, Paula Abdul, comedy writer/voice actor Doc Hammer,[2] Neil Patrick Harris, and actor Masi Oka who was seen wearing Fluevogs on many episodes of NBC's Heroes. The White Stripes own custom red and white Fluevogs. Amanda Palmer has said that she admires his designs, and wears his shoes to advertise his merchandise. Krista Iverson (actress Pascale Hutton), a bush pilot from the TV series Arctic Air, in episode 7, travels to Vancouver and plans to buy a pair of Fluevogs.

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