The day when I can clomp about in neon patent, lilac ponyskin and a gigantic platform is looming and whilst you're probably sick of hearing of this collaboration and that collaboration, I do think that all the extra material that Six London and Far Fetch are producing for this Six Bloggers shoe project is rather good and worth mentioning.
These shots by Six London and Far Fetch, given exclusively to Dazed Digital already have me excited to get my hands on them as various outfits involving lilac and neon are ready to be rolled out in honour of these beastly shoes.
Just to recap the roll call of bloggers involved include Style Salvage Steve, The Man Repeller, Stockholm Streetstyle, The Cherry Blossom Girl and The Facehunter are the others and here are their resulting shoes. Playing favourites in my case is a bit disingenuous because one of the other bloggers is my boyfriend. That said, I do GENUINELY dig Steve's leaf printed desert boots, if only for the pure photo opportunity of wearing them whilst leaf crunching in Hampstead Heath.
In addition to instagrams, pics and vids, there are inspiration boards that the Far Fetch peeps have put together, conjuring up the things THEY see when they look at the shoes which is an odd perspective to have. In my particular case, it's gonna take a lot more than a cute moodboard and a fake polaroid to convince the wider population of buying into my particular specimen of shoes. How many relatives do I have again? Will there be enough who will take pity and buy my shoe for the sole purpose of reminding them that they have a very strange niece/cousin/grandchild?
The experience of collaborating with SIX London who celebrate their ten year anniversary, did not involve just satisfying my very personal and very whimsical shoe fantasy. On our trip to Guimar√£es in Portugal, I got to discover more about the factory that SIX uses to produce all the shoes for Opening Ceremony and bStore – a mid-priced/contemporary level shoe haven that surprisingly is still very much about hand/manual process. Someone made a snide comment about cheap shoe production in Portugal and assumed that the shoes that we're creating with SIX London are of the mass-produced ilk that Portugal's towns such as Guimar√£es, Felgueiras and S√£o Jo√£o de Madeira are capable of. Portugal's shoe production in wake of production capabilities in China has in fact been dwindling over the past few years. I gather there are factories of a wide spectrum, capable of producing anything from cheapie plastic flip flops to high-end designer shoes. British brands such as Eley Kishimoto and indeed Jose Neves of Swear and Tracy Neuls paved the way for higher-quality shoe production in Portugal a few years back and SIX London continue by sourcing factories to take on the balance between quality and quantity that brands like Opening Ceremony require.
Both Steve and I are factory freaks so we got stuck into disrupting these workers' day and getting snap happy. It seemed to me that the factory was somewhere between small scale artisan and mass production and it instantly dispelled the myth that Portugal's shoe manufacture was relegated to low quality and mass product. I thought I wouldn't see a single soul in the factory with one machine after another churning out OC shoes. The turnover of this factory where my shoe will be made is in fact quite small in comparison to say a Topshop or an ASOS and so the processes can still be somewhat manual and hand-based.
How many velvet platform Opening Ceremony shoes does the world need? A lot it seems….
At the time, we got a sneak peek of the bStore S/S 12 print…
We also got a glimpse of bStore's S/S 12 collaboration with Liberty which is A-MAZING. Just a warning that I'm going to be getting supremely Liberty happy come January-March as they have truly brilliant collaborations coming up with Nike (again), the aforementioned bStore AND Dr. Martens. The last one has a lot of embargos on information and pictures going out but I'll be badgering them for previews as soon as I can…
Finally, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Cesar. All Hail Cesar for making my tricksy shoe happen. In addition to Cesar scratching his head over my difficult shoe shape, we also gossiped about which labels/brands made good shoes and which made absolutely terrible ones. I won't point fingers but let's just say I'll be avoiding a few shoe brands now after some insight from Cesar.