Category: News

‘American Woman’ exhibit at the Met

And lest we forget what the 2010 Met Gala was all about, there’s a new exhibit up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Here’s what the Met has to say about the exhibit, from its website:

American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity is the first Costume Institute exhibition drawn from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Met. It will explore developing perceptions of the modern American woman from 1890 to 1940 and how they have affected the way American women are seen today. Focusing on archetypes of American femininity through dress, the exhibition will reveal how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation. “Gibson Girls,” “Bohemians,” and “Screen Sirens,” among others, helped lay the foundation for today’s American woman.”

Can You Go One Day Without Shoes?

TOMS Shoes wants you to go barefoot for a day on April 8th so you can step into the shoes (so to speak) of the thousands of impoverished children around the world who can’t afford shoes. Check out the video below, consider participating on April 8th, and maybe just go get yourself some TOMS shoes (which would then donate another pair to a child in need).

The Best-Looking Homeless Man In China?

These photos of a very handsome homeless man/beggar in China have been circulating for awhile now. The man looks good, with the disheveled hair, intense eyes, and vagabond/traveling samurai look straight out of the movies.

Photo: Funky Downtown

Photo: Funky Downtown

And yet, I can’t help feeling at least a little guilty. Here’s this guy, living dirt poor, probably homeless, likely struggling to scrounge up enough money to survive day-to-day. And here I am, halfway around the world, admiring his street-chic look through the comfort of my computer desk, a “look” that’s not street-chic, not a style choice at all but just the reality of his situation. It feels exploitative, no?

Photo: Funky Downtown

Photo: Funky Downtown

What do you think? Does he look good? And do we even have a right to be looking and judging?

Meet Dr. Shoe, Ph.D in Shoeology

Photo: Peoples District

Photo: People's District

There’s this great blog called People’s District that collects stories from locals all over Washington, D.C., the sort of locals who you’d usually only know about if you were born and raised in D.C. Just looking at the stories posted in March, there are interviews with people like the head of the D.C. Metro Area Ghost Watchers, a dominatrix, national sportscaster James Brown on D.C. sports history, and also, this interview with Dr. Shoe, a shoe shine street vendor. He discusses his Ph.D in Shoeology. Here’s a grab:

“After 5:30 p.m., I go by the Palm Restaurant and then head out by the bars until midnight. I get most of my shoe shines at night because, after happy hour, everyone is happy and wants to get a shoe shine. I put that glow on their toe. They call me Dr. Shoe because I have my Ph.D. in shoeology. See, I went to Shoe U. to make those shoes look new. My motto is that if you don’t like your shine, you don’t pay a dime. I want to make everyone look shiny and bright because, when I finish, everything’s going to be alright.”

Check out the rest of the interview here. And while you’re at it, you should read some of the other interviews too.

WWII Created Platform Shoes

Cork Platforms: Maybe not possible if not for WWII?

Cork Platforms: Maybe not possible if not for WWII?

And speaking of shoe collectors, I came across this great interview with a vintage shoe collector named Jonathan Walford over at The Collectors Weekly. Walford actually works at the Bata Shoe Museum that displayed the On A Pedestal exhibit we featured some months ago. Here, he speaks on the history of shoes and shoe design in the 20th century. He had a lot of great stuff to say, like how the advent of the mini-skirt in the 1960s resurrected the boot or how Mary Janes might’ve been invented by a cartoonist. What I thought was really interesting was the effect of wars on shoe design and how it led to the creation of cork platforms. Check out a quick grab below:

“Walford: A few homegrown American design talents began to show up, but American retailers were leery of taking American designs. They always wanted to sell the latest fashions from Paris or London. They never wanted to say ‘buy the latest fashions by so and so from Ohio’. World War II changed that because U.S. retailers were cut off from Europe’s fashion leaders. Suddenly they had to look to the local talent, and there was a lot out there. They would even promote the names of U.S. shoe companies like Herman Delman in advertisements.

Collectors Weekly: How else did World War II affect U.S. shoes?

Walford: Actually, both world wars had an impact. From 1915 to 1918, material shortages forced European designers to replace some of the leather in their shoes with gray felt or cotton. This was especially true for boots. In World War II, again because of a lack of leather, materials such as wood and cork were used in soles instead of leather. That created the platform, which became the fashion throughout the war and even into the early 1950s.”

Running With Heels Interviews Founder of TOMS Shoes (again)

Blake Mycoskie is more or less my hero and he seems to be a favorite over at Running With Heels as well, where he was interviewed for a second time in just a few months (I highlighted a different interview back in November). Blake Mycoskie is the founder of TOMS Shoes, a very generous, charitable shoe company that works to alleviate poverty all around the globe. TOMS works on a one-to-one giving model meaning that if you buy a pair of TOMS shoes for yourself, the company donates another pair to impoverished children in South America and Ethiopia.

Photo: www.worldvisionreport.org

Photo: www.worldvisionreport.org

According to this most recent interview, TOMS has donated more than 500,000 pairs of shoes to these children and it plans to donate another 500,000 this year. Apparently, this is just one part of a larger effort to eradicate Podoconiosis, a crippling foot disease common in Southern Ethiopia caused by walking barefoot on certain types of fertile, volcanic soil. Check out the rest of the short interview with this saint of an entrepreneur. He never ceases to admire.

Shoeblog Interviews Pasquale Fabrizio

Shoeblog recently had the wonderful privilege of speaking with Pasquale Fabrizio (click here for the interview), who you’ll remember as the ambitious designer of the forthcoming all-glass heels featured some weeks ago. It’s a good interview (with more great photos of the beautiful shoes as well) in which Fabrizio reveals his thought process and the inspiration behind the glass concoctions. He also talks about the difficult process of designing the shoes and having to bring in industrialists because they were more familiar with glass than any fashion designers. Finally, he has some interesting comments about the social value of shoes between men and women.

Photo: Shoeblog

Photo: Shoeblog

Unfortunately, it sounds like I guessed correctly that his line of glass shoes will only be available to Hollywood elite, being priced at $7,500. But he interestingly didn’t patent the process of developing the amazing sandals, leaving room for other designers to be able to build on his ideas in the future, possibly at an affordable price point for all of us to be able to enjoy. Here’s for looking to the future!

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Cake Maker Creates Designer Shoes and Handbags from Chocolate

Yum! Here’s some tasty news. There is a cake maker in London who has taken to crafting shoes and handbags out of chocolate. They go for a pretty penny, ranging from £8.50 – £21 (about $14USD – $34USD). But they are still high in demand. The cake maker, Frances Cooley, supplies her chocolaty creations to 25 local boutiques and delicatessens. Recently, her candy shoes have also been picked up by luxury department store, Liberty (like the Macy’s of London, I think).

Photo: Telegraph

Photo: Telegraph

They look great but I think if I had a pair, I’d be very conflicted. I’d want to keep them up as a souvenir to show off for as long as I could. On the other hand, I have this kinda, really insatiable sweet tooth. I might be able to keep the temptation at bay for awhile. But that one day when I run out of Rocky Road in the freezer …… I’m just saying, those pumps just might turn into flats after I munch on the heels like candy bars (that is, if there’s any piece of shoe left at all). Read more about how the shoes are made at Telegraph.

A Few Ways to Help Haiti Relief Efforts

We’ve all heard about the tragedy and disaster that struck Haiti last week and I’m sure most of us have already made some sort of charitable donation to the Haiti relief efforts. But it still weighs heavy on my mind and so I must ask you to dig even deeper.

Photo: NYDailyNews.com

Photo: NYDailyNews.com

If you can’t afford another monetary donation, I’ve found a couple of ways to contribute some old stuff you might have laying around your house:

  • Shoe charity, Soles4Souls, has pledged to collect and send 250,000 pairs of used shoes to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. If you have old shoes that you don’t wear any more, you can donate them to Soles4Souls and they will send them to Haiti. If you’re in San Diego, you can actually come to our Shoe Metro retail store, drop off your shoes, and we’ll ship them to Soles4Souls. Otherwise, you can enter your Zip Code and find the nearest Soles4Souls drop-off location on their website.
  • ReCellular’s Phones for Haiti program sells old cell phones and donates the proceeds towards Haiti relief. You can donate your phone to Phones for Haiti by mail (you can even print a pre-paid shipping label on their website). ReCellular will sell then sell the phone and donate 100% of the proceeds to the American Red Cross. If you have any old cell phones laying around (I know I have plenty), please send it to Phones for Haiti.

And of course, if you can still make a monetary donation or haven’t yet made one, I strongly encourage you to donate to Doctors Without Borders. I’ve heard both the American Red Cross and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti foundation come under fire for less-than-honest business practices. But I completely trust Doctors Without Borders and have already made my own personal contribution. Please, I implore you to help however you can.

H&M and Walmart Slash and Trash Unsold Clothing

Here’s a sad story. The New York Times reports that an H&M store and a Wal-Mart store in New York were caught throwing away loads of unused clothing that they could not sell in their stores. On top of that, the stores took care to damage the clothing–jackets slashed, gloves cut at the fingers, pants hole-punched–so that the clothes could not be re-sold or re-used. It’s seriously a terrible waste.

Photo: New York Times

Photo: New York Times

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