Sandals may be something you've got in your closet year round depending on your place of residence, but nevertheless, you'll need some new sandals to get you through spring break and summertime! If you're sick of wearing flip flops or just your basic leather sandal, there are so many new styles out right now to try. Here are the sandals I'm feelin' right now that will definitely make for some fancy feet. - Maddie
We really like these videos for the new About Arianne collection, A Swedish Love Story. The second is a little NSFW, but the videos are simple, beautiful, and have awesome music. Also, how cool are both of these apartments? We wouldn't mind waking up in either one.
We are in love with the Solmate Socks over at Hickoree's. Every pair is designed after a rural Vermont landscape and each sock is a little different from its partner. They look so comfortable and warm, and are the perfect socks to wear under fall boots.
Our Urban Renewal team recently purchased thousands of pairs of vintage shoes from a dead-stock warehouse just in time for summer.Here, Heather and Aaron give us a peek into the One of a Kind Vintage shoe collection and share their favorite finds.
There are so many shoes here! Where did they come from?
Heather: Ten years ago these two guys bought out a dead-stock assortment from Joseph LaRose in Miami, a really popular designer back in the day. A lot of modern designers use him for inspiration. Our old buyer came across them and purchased almost their whole warehouse. Thousands of shoes, probably five to ten thousand pairs. They are all original designs from the ‘50s through the ‘80s, authentic and dead-stock, which means none of them have ever been worn. We basically bought out an old shoe store.
What are some of your favorite styles?
Heather: I’m obsessed with the whole platform clog trend. We had a few with the wooden platforms from the ‘70s and a cool assortment of neon, metallic platforms. We also had a bunch of the original gladiators. We send most of these to the Urban stores and the ones left over we put online.
Aaron: As you can imagine, it’s hard to get large quantities of things. Most of the time, shoes are given away when they already have scuffs and holes. If platforms are in right now, they are harder to find.
Heather: That’s why this huge buy is such a great find– it’s so rare to find a company that is selling all never-worn shoes in full size runs. It’s almost impossible to come across!
Explain the difference between One Of a Kind Vintage and Renewal.
Heather: All of our shoes are One of A Kind vintage except our cowboy boots. This summer we’re taking all of our bulk cowboy boots and cutting off the tops, so hopefully that will do well. Renewal pieces are new designs we make from vintage materials. We try to go out and look for things and in the process we’ll stumble across awesome pieces we can get in bulk.
Is thrifting something you’ve always enjoyed?
Heather: Always! I have five generations of women in my immediate family, so I have clothes passed down to me from my great, great grandmom, which is basically where I get all my inspiration. Last summer the Renewal team went to the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which started in Alabama and went up to Connecticut. We drove the whole way and found a ton of amazing pieces for five bucks.
So when you aren't out searching, what’s a typical day here in the warehouse like?
Aaron: We only come here on Tuesdays. We touch base on where orders are. We try on new samples and talk about how much we need to buy of something. After that we come to the warehouse and pull from our one-of-a-kind vintage racks to make two sets of forty pieces for the website.
Heather: Most of what we make is based on vintage samples, so if we find something we love we keep it here and try to recreate it or keep it for inspiration.
What do you guys listen to when you’re here?
Heather: I like classic rock, but the boys make me listen to screaming music and dance music.
Aaron: I usually have on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Johnny Cash, The Shins.
Heather: You like good music. We like to have fun around here. We take work seriously, but they tease me all the time. All the time! I’m the only girl. We act like brother and sister.
Aaron: Heather has to be our fit model sometimes, so she’ll come out in these little bandeau tops and we’ll be like, “Woo, yeah Heather!” We like to get out of the home office for the day.
What’s the strangest thing that’s come through here so far?
Aaron: I get excited when we get old designer pieces. We have an ‘80s Gucci tracksuit that’s amazing. It’s in great condition and will go online soon.
Heather: Aaron! I know what the craziest thing is. The baby shirt!
Heather: It’s a tank top that says Junior Gaultier on the front, and it has the belly cut out of it for a pregnant woman, so it shows her belly. It’s kind of gross, it skeeves me out!
Aaron: We keep passing it around to everyone. I’ll put it in the knit girl’s samples so when she’s going through her rack of samples she’ll be like, “What is this doing in here, ew!”
What’s the hardest thing to come by when you’re trying to find vintage shoes to sell? Heather: Larger sizes! I feel like peoples’ feet used to be smaller, honestly! A lot of these are five and half and I’ve seen a three and half. I’m a size eight so it’s hard to find anything over a seven. Even when you do find a larger size, it’s super narrow.
Aaron: Sneakers are even harder to find because those you definitely don’t get rid of until there are holes in them. We thought it’d be cool to get a bunch of old Nike and Adidas styles, old boat shoes and sell them in Men’s, but they are almost impossible to find.
What’s different about vintage shoes and those produced today?
Heather: I’d say the quality. Today everything is made to be disposed of. Nothing lasts anymore. It’s hard to find something new that’s not based off of a vintage design as well.
What are your tips for finding quality vintage shoes?
Heather: Make sure the sole isn't peeling up. I notice on vintage heels that the bottom wears off and there’s a nail that pops out. Make sure that the heel is sturdy and intact, and there’s not a lot of wear and tear on the shoe. We've had to get rid of a lot of shoes because they were moldy and the glue melted out of the shoe.
So what’s the next big shoe trend?
Heather: Just looking at upcoming trends for fall, at some point ladies’ shoes will be popular. In our trend books, a lot of pictures are very proper and lady-like, so it might not happen immediately but I can see it being bigger next fall or winter. A lot of these shoes here came with matching bags! Too bad girls don’t wear that right now.
Rachel Beagley is the designer of New Kid shoes. Here, we go behind-the-scenes of her latest lookbook (shot in Cinque Terre) and find out which shoes made Rachel hip for an entire year.
Where are you from?
Originally, from all over Australia. Now I live in San Casciano, just outside of Firenze, Italy. I am moving into Firenze in the next couple of weeks– a new office-slash-studio that's a lot more professional than the converted barn I've been living in up until now.
What makes your shoes special?
They are a bit dorky, but they bring cliques together. You can wear them anytime with everything, they are just so damn handy.
What changed about your shoes when you moved to Italy?
The entire aesthetic– New Kid grew up. I also became a lot more involved in the entire process.
Rachel and her dog Marty.
What's inspiring you right now?
I am in the middle of summer 2012, so I'm thinking "tomboy glam": Bridgette Bardot lazing about but ultra casual. I'm moving on a bit from the pop '60s slippers and deconstructed styles of this summer, but sticking with a familiar feel. In general though, I'm inspired by shades of peach, forests, textiles, embroidery, Nordic ceramics and the Italian countryside.
Tell us about the best shoes you've ever owned.
Red Reebok Hi-Tops circa 1990. They made me–the perpetual new kid– hip for one entire year. They left a big impression– they gave me a bit of confidence and helped me kick arse when I was 11. Hoping to make shoes that leave an impression, I founded New Kid, so the "new kid" is always noticed.
The books that inspired the Summer 2011 collection.
What music do you like to listen to in your studio?
I listen to the usual newish things like Slow Club, Summer Camp, Avi Buffalo, Beach House, Harlem and older things like Pulp, Jens Lekman, Depeche Mode, Jesus and Mary Chain, T. Rex, Bauhaus, Kate Bush and Felt. I really enjoy drawing and listening to epic apocalyptic audio books like The Passage and The Fall.
What kind of shoes did you love as a kid?
I didn't really wear shoes. I grew up in Darwin– I was lucky to be in clothes. However, I was a pony club kid, so I found I was in riding boots a lot.
Marty behind-the-scenes during the Summer 2011 lookbook shoot.
Who would you love to see in your shoes?
I like to see really devoted followers in them. The ones who truly love them.
If you could make a pair of magic shoes, what power would they have?
Shoes of coordination. I fall a lot, so they would save a fair amount of humiliation. Maybe I could hover an inch or so from the ground.
What adventures do you want your shoes to have next?
I saw this place on the news here in Italy the other night. I think it was in New York City, a bar where you take your dogs and try on shoes (even dog shoes) and dance the night away. Seemed quite hilarious and I wouldn't mind taking a bunch of pals, a pile of New Kids and some canine friends there to see what mischief we could get into.
At just 15-years-old, The Stylish Wanderer is a mainstay among blogging royalty– she's already starred in an international clothing campaign, been invited to Fashion Week and inspired a piece of jewelry. Still, somewhere between scouring L.A. for vintage boots and finishing her homework, Minnie made time to tell us about her favorite spring shoes– and the one outfit she doesn't want you to know about.
Where are you from?
I live in Los Angeles. I was born here and then moved away to Oregon for five years but returned to L.A. a year and a half ago. Right now I am working on trying to define the fashion that the majority of L.A. teens follow– it's kind of messy with lots of simple chains and piled-up bracelets, plaid, leather boots, and florals. Really, I want to write a whole paper on it; the feel of the style here is so interesting. It's not like Portland, it's not like New York– it's L.A.!
What’s a typical outfit for you at the moment?
I am really into pretty florals and white dreamy breezy cotton right now. Really romantic. Think the sirens in Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
Describe a moment blogging you’ve felt most inspired?
One company emailed me last spring to do a campaign which ran for two months in the fall, across the world, and when I got the email a huge smile spread across my face. Blogging is an incredible vehicle for doing things and meeting people and working with clothes, and of course, giving your opinion to the world.
How do you avoid feeling like blogging is just another job you have to do?
I went through a period of time when I felt like I just had to blog all the time, but now I blog when I want to, and when I feel like I have something to say.
If we came to your home and looked in your room, what would we find?
I know its cliché, but clothes dominate most of my room. I also have these beautiful pastel paintings—a set of five, actually—that are these different roses. Roses are so beautiful, and I love these paintings, I bought them at the Fairfax Flea Market. Mountains of jewlery, some cheap, some expensive.
What are your favorite ways to spend a day?
I love reading and I love writing fiction, both things which I never seem to have the time for anymore.
Who was your style hero as a kid? What about now?
I loved Audrey Hepburn when I was little, I still do. When I was little, my justification was that she had bangs and I had bangs (my mom used to cut them short like Audrey's). Now I just admire her classic dressing and impeccable taste, as well as her lifelong collaboration with Givenchy.
What designer would you write a song for, and what would you name it?
I wrote an ode to the geniuses Jack and Lazaro at Proenza Schouler, or more specifically, to a shoe they designed. So I guess it would be to those guys. I'd call it something like "You Two Make Me Blue Because I Can't Own You"or something cheesy like that– I love the designs but the prices are out of my range.
What would you say to someone who tells you fashion is trivial?
I'd tell them they wouldn't know what they were talking about... at all. That's one of the subjects that I can get really mad about, when someone says fashion is "superficial" or "stupid" or "vain." The fashion world is a billion dollar industry inspiring millions world-wide, creating jobs. More than that, it's an outlet of expression for so many people. When I first started blogging I didnt agree with what I'm about to say, but now I have come to realize that fashion is an art, just like music or pottery.
Describe your favorite pair of shoes.
My first pair of real heels I bought two years ago at a sale at Macys. I still own them, they are these Marc by Marc Jacobs navy and cream oxfords with a two inch heel, which seemed huge at the time. I wear them today, and they're still as beautiful as the day I bought them, they are so classic.
Would you ever be on a reality TV show?
I have actually gotten several offers to be a part of a show, but I've turned them down. I think reality TV is ruining the entertainment industry–I mean, the Kardashians? Really? Come on, America. However, if I had to choose, it would either be Project Runway or America's Next Top Model, the former because it would be interesting to design clothes and the latter because I love all the situations and settings they put the models in.
The worst thing I’ve gotten away with was _____.
Wearing a pair of acid wash shorts, red tights, bronze Doc Martens and an ill-fitting cream shirt that was see-through. This was a couple years ago. The photos are on my blog somewhere but I don't want to see those ever again.
What are your favorite shoe trends for spring?
1. Wooden wedges and platforms with leather straps
Celine sent a pair of wooden wedges down the runway that took the Internet street style world by storm. I have a pair of Joe's Jeans platforms that are black and studded and beautiful.
2. Neon heels
Neon is such a fresh color for spring and Teen Vogue had an editorial recently that featured neon wedges. Neon can be so fun.
3. Two-tone leather lace-up roper boots
These are just a staple. I have several pairs of roper boots, I actually just bought a white pair from the flea market. They're classic and go with everything and they're a favorite among L.A. teens.
4. Strappy heels
Straps on heels allows for more wiggle room in a shoe, and your foot doesn't sweat, which is perfect for the spring sun!
While helping his father run one of the largest orphanages in Guatemala, Aaron Osborn never expected his chance encounter with an out-of-work cobbler would lead to a full-blown business venture. Less than two years later, and Osborn shoes are gaining a reputation for their ethical construction—handmade by a team of artisans who sign their name every pair they make—and eye-catching prints and graphics. We caught up with Aaron and his co-founder Carla to talk business– and walking in Obama's shoes.
How did you end up working with your dad in Guatemala?
My father moved there when I was 15, and I visited once, then went to school. After I finished, I decided to go down and visit my pop and that’s when I just ended up staying there for, like, five years.
What made you decide to stay?
I really loved it. The type of work that was going on there, it felt really good. I liked working with the kids and creating activities using my skill in art and knowledge of painting and silk-screening, and taking that to the kids was satisfying.
What types of crafts did you do with the kids?
During the school year, I did an afterschool art class twice a week and whoever wanted to come could come. We did a lot of painting; I taught them how to mix colors and we did a lot of silk-screening work too. We used the film, where you hand cut the silk-screen out and then eventually started buying fluorescent lights and burning the screens. Our final product was a shirt, but they ended up printing everything. One kid brought in his Nike sneakers and printed his design on them.
How did the transition from working at the orphanage to manufacturing shoes happen?
I’d always been interested in fashion and have done sewing and designing on my own. I went to the Rhode Island School of Design, so I have an art and design background. I wanted to do something like that, but wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it. Well, actually, I knew I wanted to do it well so all my practices were ethical. Living in Guatemala, I learned a lot about the manufacturing business because there are so many sweatshops there. I got to know the workers from the other side, as our neighbors. Then when hurricanes Wilma and Katrina hit, we went and did a lot of aid–I was translating for doctors. My translators from Spanish into the local dialect were always cobblers or tailors. That’s where I met these skilled guys in their mid-to-late 30s who just wanted work, so we bought the fabric and just had little foot pedal sewing machines.
How many craftsmen did you start with and what has the growth been like?
Just one. Now we have 34. For a few years it was just the cobbler and I, but we weren’t focusing on that project full time. We were doing a lot of design work in the States as well to fund the whole thing. About a year and four months ago, we went down to Guatemala with the one guy and two women. A month later we had 25 people, quit everything else and just focused our energies.
How did that happen so quickly?
We’d been working in markets around New York and the shoes were getting more and more attention. Our studio is in Greenpoint, and Oak was our first inquiry into wholesale. So that was our whole “Oh, do we wholesale?” moment.
What materials do you use?
We weave our own material now, but we used to use old flannel shirts, corduroy dresses and blankets. We used the traditional women’s shirt along with the corte (the skirt). Then we started using used fabrics, sometimes carrying back suitcases full of fabric we bought in New York.
What’s your favorite style to wear?
I just started making tire-sole bottoms for our shoes, and I really like those in an oxford. I rotate through what I like. I try to wear stuff I’m experimenting with to see if I like it, so that would be my favorite–the one I’m not sure about.
Is there a certain type of person who wears Osborn?
It would be that person who is bubbly and exuberant, full of life. An independent who is setting a trend. That person does something for them, not for anyone else. We get emails from people who are hestitant, who don’t know if they can wear the shoes and we encourage them to give it a try. We’ll hear back from them saying, “People stopped me in the streets to compliment me!”
Do you think people are starting to care more about where their clothing is coming from?
Aaron: I’m going to relay to my partner Carla!
Carla: There is a duality. People want a good product, but also to know where their shoes are coming from. We’re trying to marry making good shoes with good practices.
Aaron: We started the whole thing with the goal of having a product that speaks for itself, and we’ve found that the more we make stuff for ourselves and not for the market, the more people relate to Osborn. There’s been this ambiguity of manufacturing for the past 40 years, and now there’s a movement of people wanting to know about it. Look at the underside and it will still be beautiful–no ugly side to our business.
Since you split most of your time between New York and Guatemala, where would you like to vacation if you ever get the chance?
Aaron: When we’re in the states, we love going to Martha’s Vineyard. Internationally, we want to go everywhere! Carla?
Carla: I really want to go to Ireland.
If you could walk in someone’s shoes for a day, whose would they be?
Aaron: I can’t tell if I want to be some playboy or some die-hard, like Obama. What the hell is it like for Obama, man? Or [Richard Branson] the president of Virgin?
Aaron: Yes! Him or Obama. This is a tough question.
Carla: Somebody who does things I would never do. Not politically, but more like a monk.
Aaron: A Chinese peasant?
Carla: No, I didn’t say that!
Aaron: So a monk? Someone who’s given their life to something spiritual.
Carla: More like the opposite of the fast track. How about the Dalai Lama?
When college student Cat Khan began archiving her favorite fashion spreads on the internet, she never anticipated her blog, Knight Cat, would become daily inspiration for thousands of readers. Unlike many bloggers of equal fame, Cat is a private person who has never posted a picture of herself on the web, leaving her fans wondering just who the "girl behind the curtain" is. We caught up the elusive Cat to talk fashion, fall shoes and loving Jim Morrison's pants.
Why did you start Knight Cat?
I started my blog as a way to keep track of images I found inspiring, sort of like a visual diary.
How much time do you devote to the blog each week?
I try to blog whenever I have free time. This means squeezing in time between classes and lunch breaks, which is actually much more practical than it sounds!
How do you think bloggers have influenced the way the fashion industry functions?
Fashion is a trend driven industry, and fashion blogs definitely give people a direction on how to follow and interpret those runway trends.
Where are you from?
Who are your style icons?
I think Jim Morrison is one of my biggest style inspirations. That man could rock leather pants like no one else.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
My favorite designers would have to be Phillip Lim, Oliver Theyskens, Alexander Wang, Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of Rag and Bone. I like designers that create pieces that can be easily integrated into your closet, and most of them do.
What movie would you love to have been in?
I recently watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and was really inspired by their wardrobe. I'm talking serious corduroy blazers, wide brim hats, plenty of tan and khaki. They really were outlaws with mad style. I was the Sundance Kid for Halloween!
What blogs do you follow?
Fashion Squad, Bleach Black, Fashion Toast and Le Fashion Image.
What's your favorite Youtube video at the moment?
The Gucci fragrance commercial directed by Chris Cunningham.
Guilty pleasure TV show?
What would you do if the internet were outlawed tomorrow?
I would start a band.
What's your biggest fear?
I don't want to be one of those people who are afraid to try something because of the fear of failure.
How do you spend your time when you aren't blogging?
I like to paint, skateboard, ride my bike, collect music, read and annoy my friends...and that's about it.
Tell us about a recent dream you've had.
Last week I had a dream that I was best friends with Kelly Kapoor from The Office. It was kind of awesome.
Which pair of shoes in your closet is your favorite?
These Sam Edelman shoes I got from Urban Outfitters.
What are you favorite shoe trends for fall?
Lace-up, flat, ankle, thigh-high and heeled. They are the perfect way to get ready for fall. The best thing about them is that they can easily make the simplest outfits look really cool, like skinny jeans and a t-shirt.
They come in so many forms, so there are a lot of choices. I really love sandal wedges with socks right now. Burberry Prorsum combined the two beautifully and proved that sandals can be worn into fall.
I feel like these will never go away; they will always be cool. You can wear them all year round, with almost anything. They look especially good with skinny ankle jeans and socks.
Lauren Mahoney, our Director of Visual Merchandising, has a footwear collection that invokes some serious shoe envy around the office. One day she's walking down the hall in rich leather oxfords and the next she's sporting shiny metallic wedges, so of course we were dying to know her favorite fall shoe trends (and just how many pairs she really owns).
What does your job at Urban entail?
I oversee the website's photo studio, so I work with a team which makes sure product gets styled, modeled, shot, uploaded and emailed to our customers. I also work with a team to collect and arrange visual information to produce trend-forecasting books for the company.
When did you become interested in fashion?
Not sure when it happened. My mom was a big influence–she dressed my older sister in unisex clothing because she didn't want to define her gender through clothing. But by the time I came around, it was the '80s and she was dressing me in frilly dresses with matching bloomers and hats. When I was four I was allowed to pick out my own clothes, and I would only wear dresses, not pants. When I turned five I decided pants were the thing, and I rejected all dresses. By the time I was eight I had a bowl cut with a shaved underside and was wearing geo-printed MC Hammer pants and crop tops with patent leather oxfords. I never thought of it as fashion, though.
How would you describe your personal style?
I wear classic pieces that fit well and are made from quality materials and wear special vintage or design pieces from any and everywhere to top them off–a lot of boots, vintage Levi's, silk button-downs, vintage sweaters and blazers in off-colors and geometric patterns. I was once asked, "If you made more money, would you still buy clothes from thrift stores and K-Mart?" Of course I would, I love little boys' Hanes tees! I just bought this book, called Cheap Chic by Caterine Millinaire and Carol Troy, and it's based on the idea that you should invest in classic pieces and then use one-of-a-kind vintage and "world" pieces to define your look. This was written in the early '70s before buying "second-hand" was widely acceptable. Anyhow, my motto would be: Wear what you like regardless of where it came from and how cheap it is.
Who are your favorite style icons?
This is like asking my favorite type of music or favorite food! I have a degree in history and my entrance essay was based on my interested of the photos by Lewis Hine documenting Ellis Island immigrant children. The idea of varied cultures coming together in one meeting place–the clothes they were wearing had so much more weight and connotation than most style in the 21st century. Getting back to the question though, I would have to say that youth and art movements are my inspiration, not any particular person. Surrealism, Dada, the Black Panthers, the Blitz Kids, New Wave and the New Romantics, Feminism, Neo-impressionism and my mom. There are key people within each who were the trailblazers, but it was only possible because we needed a change and the clothing was a function of that need–this is inspiring.
What movie character's wardrobe would you love to steal?
Jean Seberg in Breathless, Bridget Fonda in Single White Female, Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, Natja Brunckhorst in Christian F, Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel in The Dreamers.
What shoe trends are you loving for Fall?
Massive wedges, pony hair, squared-toed platforms, elastic side details, oxbloods and red shoes, hunter and olive green shoes, tread-bottom platforms, low-profile tennis and soccer shoes, super reflective metallic.
Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes in your closet?
Tough questions! I'm going to say top five, in no particular order:
1. Hunter green, big treaded bottom, lace-up boots– I bought these at this amazing vintage store Sick for ten quid where we "discovered" Molly Donovan. The owner was one of the original designers/owners of Boy London. I don't always wear these clodhoppers, but they're like the friend that no one messes with.
2. Oxblood oxfords by Dieppa Restrepo
3. Vintage YSL black suede covered mules– Got these at Decades in L.A., they were one of the more expensive shoes I had ever bought, but my friend Sue told me to do it and I couldn't have been happier.
4. Pony Hair, buckle top lace-up Rachel Comey boots– Also encouraged by my friend Sue. We saw them when we went to the Rachel Comey show, and then bought them a little later in L.A. I've dug my car out of the snow with the heel of these—they're keepers.
5. Opening Ceremony par Robert Clergerie, Bo Ankle Wedge in Steel– I've only worn this birthday present once so far because I think they are too good for me, and I love the way they look on my shelf near my Grace Jones/ Jean-Paul Goude book.
Who are some of your favorite shoe designers?
New Kid, MiniMarket, Bstore, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Rad Hourani, Dieppa Restrepo, Ann Demeulemeester–forever.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
An estimated 70.
What style of shoe would you love to see have a similar comeback to the clog's?
Well I like square-toed platforms, but I don't necessarily want to see them everywhere...could be scary. I think flair heels will make their way back, but not so excited to see all the craziness ensue. Sneakers hold a soft spot in my heart, as I was the 7th grader wearing basketball shoes with baggy jeans. Not so sure I need to test these out again, but I do enjoy the look. My friend just bought the Isabel Marant sneakers that are a cross between Nike Dunk Classics and Reebok Freestyle Hi's, well equipped with a hidden platform. We need to have more fun like this. I'd also be happy with everyone wearing the shoes Vincent Gallo wears in Buffalo 66. Dorothy started that trend, but Gallo did it right.
Leandra Medine's blog, The Man Repeller, always has us doubled over laughing at her biting commentary on some of our favorite styles, which unfortunately don't always translate well with the opposite sex. We recruited her to tell us about some of her favorite man-repelling fall shoe trends and have come to this conclusion: When there are shoes as awesome as these, who needs a boyfriend?
So what exactly is a "man-repeller"?
Man Repelling is defined by a woman's choice to outfit herself in a sartorially offensive but equally fashion forward way. This in turn leads her to repel members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls (see: human-repelling), shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs. Most common offenders are often present during Fashion Week and in MC Hammer music videos.
What is your day job?
Man Repelling is my day job. I'm also an undergraduate senior at Eugene Lang, the New School for Liberal Arts, and contribute to online publication Jewlr.com
How does one avoid man-repelling?
I can't imagine why one would want to prevent themselves from repelling men, but I suppose if she's lost her mind, she could shop at Bebe.
What trends will you never give up, even for a boyfriend?
Never will I ever give up my high-waisted vintage Levi's denim cut-offs. I don't mean for this to be a shameless Urban Outfitters plug, but it's true. Those babies stand by me through thick (with tights) and thin (bare legs).
Givenchy, Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler are showing shoes and boots with fur accents for fall. I've seen the trend creep up on several street style blogs whether ready made or DIYed and expect they will continue to appear well into next spring. For me personally, I think the idea of having fur outside one's shoes is anti-functional and perhaps somewhat confusing (Why are little puppies following me? No no, those are my shoes). Needless to say, this is the first of fall's most unique trends to which I will succumb. When has fashion ever been about function?
The brogue (also called the oxford) was a perfect and more masculine replacement for the ballet flat last season. Comfortable, chic, more durable than a ballet flat and inducing memory of the greatest musician to ever live (Frank Sinatra, duh), they've come back this season with good reason. Worn with trousers, leggings, jeans, tights, mini dresses, shorts, skirts et al., the brogue is fall's most versatile shoe.
3. Cowboy inspired booties
I'd rather slit my own throat than give up motorcycle boots for cowboy boots. The cowboy slash motorcycle bootie, however, is a different story. I saw these walking the streets of Paris when I was abroad last fall and in the last couple of months have seen them surfacing in some of my favorite New York shops (Barneys, Urban Outfitters, Opening Ceremony, Kirna Zabete). With the short heel making a major fall comeback, this particular shoe is perfect for girls looking for height while maintaining comfort.
Anything else we should know?
All that said, as a self-proclaimed expert in all that which is man repelling I am confident that our Y-chromosome counterparts will have the hardest time grasping the furry shoe and/or boot. The brogue may have put up a good fight, but at the end of the day, what is the motivation behind a shoe with fur on its outside?
We talk with leather crafter Chris Bray, one half of the design duo behind men’s accessories company Billykirk, about the Amish, the good old days, and the new Brothers Bray collaboration with Sebago shoes—exclusively at Urban Outfitters.
Tell us about the inception of Billykirk. You work with your brother Kirk—what’s that like?
Oh yeah, we’re blood brothers. We started Billykirk in 1999, but we had been tinkering with the idea for a few years before that. The catalyst for the company was really this old watchstrap my brother found in a pawnshop. Consequently, he was wearing it a lot in this café where he worked. It was only a 1.75" wide, but it was wider than what you’d been seeing. In 1999, when we really launched the business, we got some good orders, and from there it just spawned into, ‘Well, what are we going to do next? We can’t just do watch straps.’
So how’d you learn about leatherwork?
Luckily, when we were figuring out who was going to make things for us we came across a guy who was sort of sympathetic to our situation. He was about our father’s age, his kids were about our age. His son was an attorney, I think, and his daughter was a vegan who wanted nothing to do with leather. He was a third-generation leather guy and so when he retired the business was going to fold. So he had us to come to his old factory in downtown L.A.—he was our mentor for three years. We ended up renting a space a few miles from him and started our own L.A.-based manufacturing and design business there with five or six people working for us. When we decided to move to the East Coast in 2004, a friend suggested I contact these Amish guys he knew. I ended up meeting with these Amish leatherworkers who have been with us for five years now.
I was going to ask you about the picture of the Amish farm on your website.
The guys we use now are third-generation leatherworkers who make saddles and bridles for horses. They do this without electricity too, they are pretty ingenious. They are totally eco-friendly and that’s not by choice, it’s the way they live. This is age-old leather crafting by these guys who are pretty much living in the 18th century. And then there’s us with our high-tech phones and computers, but the combination just works.
There’s been such a resurgence of interest in heritage brands in the past few years.
I think there are just a lot of people in this economy sitting there thinking ‘What happened?' We live in a throw-away society, things are cheaply made and we don’t put a thought into where and how they are manufactured. I think it’s just getting under our skin. My grandparents had a toaster for 30 years and it worked fine. People used to have a ‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it’ state of mind. I think we’re trying to get back to this past, and instead of buying junk every six months, we’re investing in things that maybe cost a little more but we can eventually even pass down to our kids.
What interested you in working with Sebago?
My brother and I have worn Sebagos since the ‘80s. We’re from Minnesota, that’s the shoe there. The Campside shoe is the reason I called them—I wanted to see if they wanted to do something with our leather, or at least change it up a bit. They were pretty much all ears and when we first went in they showed us some old catalogs. Paging through it we found this shoe that had never been available in the US. Bells went off—this was big! The boat shoe has been so overly marketed and blogged about that we wanted to do something heavier. This shoe is a dockworker’s shoe—in Europe these guys wear this shoe for working on the docks; they aren’t the guys eating caviar on the boats. We picked out the leathers, the colors, we just made some minor changes to the silhouette of the Fairhaven and there you have it.
We recently caught up with Mark McNairy, the soft-spoken—and with a Southern accent—undesigner behind New Amsterdam and his new Urban Outfitters collaboration, Good Souls.
How did you become interested in fashion?
Hmm, how did I become interested in fashion? Or how did I become interested in clothing and apparel? I don't like to think of what I do as fashion. I'm more of an undesigner than a designer and I make interpretations of classic items, classic apparel and workwear. Does that make sense?
Why does the word fashion have a bad connotation for you?
It doesn't necessarily have a bad connotation, basically the things that I make can be worn for the rest of your life.
So how did you become interested in clothing and apparel?
It started with sneakers and athletic clothes when I was in junior high school, and then I guess it progressed into an interest in vintage clothing. Shopping at thrift stores when I was in high school, for vintage military chinos and Brooks Brothers button-down shirts.
Where did you grow up?
Greensboro, North Carolina. The Junior League bargain box was the best place, especially for the Brooks Brothers shirts, the whole Junior League preppy thing. North Carolina was extremely preppy. Chinos, Oxford-cloth button-down shirts, saddle oxfords, white bucks, dirty bucks, ribbon belts, regimental-striped ties.
Did you like stuff better if it was vintage?
Yes, and I still do. I make most of my clothes, but basically the only clothes that I buy now are from vintage shops. I don't really shop at vintage stores and pay premium prices. For me, the thrill is the hunt and digging through, searching for something. I certainly don't need anything.
Where are some of your favorite thrift stores?
Anywhere I go. If I go to Miami on vacation, there are some times I pray for rain so I can get off the beach and go to the thrift store. That's just as much fun for me. I live in New Jersey now, so on the weekends, my wife and I go to the Meadowlands Flea Market, which is a huge, junky yard sale.
What was your first job in apparel?
Selling cheap ladies clothes on the road in North Carolina and Virginia. A traveling salesman. It was horrible. I couldn't take that anymore and I had always wanted to come to New York, so I came up for a couple of days, went to the garment district and handed out resumes. Then I got a job in sales. As far as making clothing, I learned how to do it just by hitting the streets and going into the factories.
How did you gravitate toward shoes?
I was at J.Press and to tell you the truth, I had been there for four years and wasn't sure if they were going to renew my contract. So I started planning to do my own collection, just working on it in my head. It just so happened that I had done a shoe collection for J.Press that only lasted one season, but the guy in England who had made the shoes came to town, and he was having a shitty day and called me to have coffee. So we just started talking. I wanted to start my collection, so thought why not start with shoes?
What was the idea behind New Amsterdam?
The whole idea was to do a collection of White Bucks and Dirty Bucks, and saddle shoes. Because they were really hard to find. Classic, but nobody was making them. So I did a whole collection with the red brick bottom, which I called Red Brick Sole, and there were other shoes, the same type shoes, but with leather soles.
How does this translate into Good Souls, the exclusive collaboration you're doing with Urban Outfitters?
We wanted to do affordable shoes for young people who can't afford my English shoes. It's the same idea as my other shoes and apparel: classic, Anglo-American footwear.
What designers do you admire?
Ralph Lauren number one. He's the best of the best. Commes des Garcons, Junya Watanabe. I knew Sean Stüssy a long time ago, not very well, but we've recently become reacquainted. We're actually doing shoes together, a collaboration, with his S Double line. But I remember buying Stüssy clothing in college, in 1980, and he may be the reason that I ended up making clothes. He's not that much older than me, but at the time I was 18 years old in college and he had already started a clothing business. His clothes were surf-inspired and sold in surf shops, but they were not normal surfwear. He actually told me when he was here a few weeks ago, he was originally a surfboard designer and he was going to Japan and he got introduced to Commes Des Garcons and that's what inspired him. So I would have to add him to the list.
Clogs might have once been the anti-fashion footwear, but this season, they've stolen our soles, and we're not the only ones. When Karl Lagerfeld mixed sky-high clogs with fake tattoos and a hayride them at Chanel's SS10 runway show, clogs were guaranteed to be an instant trend. But this kind of popularity didn't happen over night—clogs have been around for ages.
The first guild of clog makers dates back to 1570 in Holland, and people in the Netherlands have been wearing wooden shoes for more than 700 years. Clogs were popular with peasants and farmers because the wooden soles protected their feet.
By the Industrial revolution, clogs were popular throughout Europe, and there are theories that clog dancing originated when workers began passing the time by using their wooden soles to tap out syncopated rhythms on the factory floor.
1970s television hostess Raffaella Carraà
But the current incarnation of clogs most clearly dates back to that wonderful decade called the '70s, a decade that also gave us many other current trends, like denim-on-denim and maxi-dresses.
In the '70s, Swedish clogs really took off, championed by one of Sweden's most successful exports: ABBA. The super group made the shoes unisex, partnering with Tretorn to release their own line, and Björn and Benny, the male half of Abba, even released a song called "Träskofolket,"which translates roughly into "The Clog People."
An image from No.6's clog lookbook
Trendsetting New York store No.6 has long been a fan of the clog and designs their own line of chunky clogs, boots and sandals. "It's so much fun to see everyone embracing something that we have been loving for years," say No.6 founders Karin Bereson and Morgan Yakus of the clog's current popularity. "It has also been really fun to take a classic and find a way to give it a modern twist."
Maud Adams, left, and Britt Ekland
In addition to clogs from Chanel and Louis Vuitton (fur- and hair-embellished no less), Swedish Hasbeens are also everywhere you look this season. Founders Cilla Wingård Neuman and Emy Blixt started their line in 2006 after finding 300 pairs of red, white and black vintage clogs in the basement of a factory near their hometown of Stockholm. They base all of their styles on original '70s models, and drew spring inspiration from iconic Swedish actresses Britt Ekland and Maud Adams, who both appeared in the 1974 James Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun. "When we grew up they were these strong, independent and beautiful Swedish amazons, alway dressed to kill," Emy Blixt says. "They personified the Swedish women and fashion of the '70s in a great way."
She also credits clogs current return to something pretty obvious: "They are just really comfy to walk in," she says. "And the more you wear them, the better they will look and when your grand-kids are done using them, they can just bury Grandma's funky shoes in the garden to grow new clogs."
Tressa Scharf is an L.A. girl born and raised, an art student, and a serious shoe lover—which is a good thing considering she works at Space 15 Twenty's Shoes Shoes Shoes + Bags shop. She took all these photos herself.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Halloween baby (born October 31), currently 20 years young. I was born in Southern California, about 15 miles outside of Los Angeles and I’ve lived here my entire life. The majority of my time is spent at work, and UCLA, where I am currently a third year art major with a concentration in photography. I cherish the little free time I have, spending time with loved ones, eating delicious food, going on adventures, taking photographs and then documenting them on my blog, Little Fawn, while I spill my secrets for the world to read.
How would you describe your style?
It’s hard for me to describe my own style, but I would say I’m very open when it comes to clothing. Typically I am not flourishing cash-wise, but I’m a compulsive shopper regardless. Borrowing from my grandma and grandpa’s closet is a must. In my day-to-day get-up, I like to incorporate vintage with newer clothes, sparkle and lots of color. I was once told that “the most colorful creatures are often the most poisonous,” and I live by this virtue. Poisonous in the best way possible, of course.
What are your three favorite pairs of shoes?
One of my favorite pairs of shoes ever were leopard ballet flats which were disposed of against my will, because god forbid I wear shoes with holes in them. I have so many pairs of shoes, but I’d still rather wear my light brown knee high riding boots every day because they‘re comfortable, go with pretty much everything and can be worn in any condition. Last but not least is a pair of Marc Jacobs mousey flats which I do not own, but continue to drool over. They come in a variety of colors and have a mouse face and ears at the toes, and a little tail at the heels—simple yet adorable.
What do you like about working at Shoes Shoes Shoes + Bags?
We carry a lot of online-only and higher-end shoes, which is pretty amazing, and listening to The Postal Service, Bon Iver, The Beatles and Public Enemy on vinyl all day is definitely a plus. It has a different vibe than any Urban Outfitters that I’ve ever been into; it’s sort of like a cozy bohemian wonderland filled with lovely shoes and cute accessories.
What big shoe trends do you see?
Everything strappy and wedged is hot right now. Customers are generally attracted to the various Jeffrey Campbells that we sell. Pumps are a staple in any girl’s closet, which is why they tend to sell out the fastest.
What’s your favorite accessory that you own?
A chunky, super sparkly broach that belonged to my great grandmother. Any jewelry that she has ever given me is my favorite.
What’s your favorite snack?
Being a connoisseur of food, picking only one favorite snack is extremely difficult—so I’ll narrow it down to two. A mixed Dr. Pepper/Coke/cherry/blue raspberry Slurpee and vegan chili cheese fries, hands down… and maybe some frozen yogurt on the side.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure movie?
Mean Girls, it’s a hilarious movie (or at least it was the first 20 times I watched it) and everything about it is reminiscent of my high school days.
If you were a professional wrestler, what would be your theme song?
It would be a remix of “Creep” by Radiohead, because that’s basically the soundtrack of my life, and I may or may not be a creep and a weirdo. And T-Pain’s “I’m So Hood,” ‘cause I’m so good because I’m so hood. Obviously I don’t know much about wrestling, unfortunately, or fortunately? You choose.
Anna Apse is our women's trend strategist, which means she forecasts and collects trends for our buyers and designers. She's also supremely well-helled—meaning that, whether its a pair of worn-in moccasins or towering wedges, Anna's always wearing great shoes. Here, she gives us her take on what's in store this spring's biggest trends in footwear.
How did you become interested in fashion?
A combination of people and timing: Mom x Dad x Sister x Seventeen Magazine. My older sister Krista was a real influence because in the '90s she worked at the GAP (probably during their best years), which I thought was the coolest at the time. She also used to make a lot of her own clothing, even sometimes stuff for me, some of which I wore until it fell apart. My mom would take me out shopping, and we wouldn’t spend a lot of money but we would spend entire days just walking around the mall—we did this for years. At that same time I remember being at home watching TV with my dad, and between Bugs Bunny and the news we would watch Fashion File (It was the Tim Blanks years, and I think my dad just watched it for the babes). I bought Seventeen Magazine, and tore out all the ads to put them on my wall and spent afternoons going through thrift stores. Fashion and retail just become something that I loved.
Who are your favorite clothing designers?
At the moment Hannah MacGibbon for Chloé, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough for Proenza Schouler, and Eviana Hartman for Bodkin. My all-time is Karl Lagerfeld.
Who are your favorite shoe designers?
Currently Alexander Wang, Acne and Rachel Comey.
What are your favorite shoes you own?
Acne Atacomas: I bought them in Toronto before moving here to Philadelphia. These shoes and I are in a serious relationship of sorts, purely based on looks though—the shoes make me so tall but still are easy to walk in.
Low-cut leather-soled mocassins: I bought them at a farmer's market in Toronto. They're like walking in your bare feet and great in the summer to wear with jeans or jean shorts. I went through three pairs last summer—next time I am home, I will have to buy a couple of pairs to bring back.
Alexander Wang Ines Oxford: These are from Opening Ceremony and they make me feel a little bit like a cowboy without the commitment of any other part of that look. Also, I like the clean details of the heel and the fact it has a hidden elastic, not laces.