• Swedish Hasbeens AW 2010

    Shoe Club: The History of the Clog

    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

    Sears Catalog

    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

    Swedish Hasbeens 

    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."

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