I mean you and I truly grew up in the dark ages of consumerism. It was time when the only things available to purchase were what you saw on your local retailers shelves. And in the Sears Wish Book come Christmastime. And that made shopping for basically anything pretty much hit or miss. They either had it or they didn't. And let me tell you, I did a lot of looking when I was growing up, and as far as I was concerned, they didn't.
Looking back, I find those days truly medieval. Especially considering how my quest for fashion consumption changed so radically when the web went worldwide. This Renaissance period we live in is pretty amazing when you think about. Suddenly you can find just about anything you can think of online. And quite a few things you never even imagined. (A glass of cloud to drink, anyone? How 'bout a bird's eye view of flying like a bird, maybe? Ever wonder what would it be like to feed Marmite to a tiger?) We inhabit a world of seemingly boundless possibilities. And that includes footwear, too, I'm happy to say.
I've craved cool shoes all my life, but it took more than getting old enough to finally wear whatever the heck I felt like to open the door wide for me. I needed for there to be a selection of platforms and heels and boots and booties and slip-ons and sandals and more that made it possible for me to find footwear that I really, really, REALLY wanted to wear. I'm talking about shoes that make it worth getting out of bed in the morning. No more having only to settle for what happened to be available at the local mall. Instead of being saddled with 4s and 5s, we live in an age when every shoe we wear can be a 9 or a 10.
So here's to another week of wooden goodness for you and your feet. Life is short. Walk proudly through it. And noisily, too!
We made the acquaintance of Bryr owner Isobel Schofield two years ago here on ECHID, but this breathtakingly industrious clog craftsperson has been a woman on the move in the time since then. Her story in a nutshell is that she left a job in corporate America to learn how to make clogs and start her own brand of shoes. Along the way she's said goodbye to her home in Brooklyn to take up residence in San Francisco. And fortunately for footwear fanatics such as you and me, she's taken the time to chat about her work in a variety of different corners of the web.
On the blog, Happy French Gang, we learn the answer to these questions:
What was the moment when you decided to specialize in making clogs?
What's the story behind the name of your brand?
Over on Madesmith, the website that celebrates and publicizes artisans and other creative individuals, she explains,
"I wanted to do something that I'd always wanted to do and I wanted to stop making excuses for why I shouldn't do it," she said. "It's not logical or rational to quit your job at 38 and go and learn how to make shoes in Minnesota. That's not logical. But I was like, 'I don't care, I'm just going to go do it anyway.' "
After pursuing her college education in sculpture at Washington University in St. Louis, Isobel was ready to set out on her path to designing. The road was curved, for sure, veering Isobel through areas of pattern making, theatre design, and some exhausting (and cash-flow depleting) work as a boutique designer in the San Francisco area.
Her first big break into the retail clothing design field came at a company called Splendid, where Isobel cut her design teeth, creating entire lines, working non-stop while stretching her imagination and gaining her enthusiasm for the field. Isobel credits her bosses at Splendid for allowing her to "go with her gut," a large driving force in her design philosophy.
"I would have meetings for the line, and I would [say] "crop tops, my gut says, I don't know why….' " Isobel said. "We did neon before any body was doing neon. Seriously it was really weird. I was like 'I don't know why, but I want to do neon.' And we did neon, and it was insane. If I had been at a corporate company, they would've never have done neon," Isobel admits. "They would've been like 'why do you want to do neon?' [My reply would have been] I don't know why! I'm dreaming about it at night. I want it! I want to wear it!"
Phoebe 2-Tone Boot available through Madesmith
Which makes it clear that she's not making clogs just to pass the time. Ms. Schofield has a passion for wooden goodness that you and I most definitely share. And that's why the shot of her featured on Houzz.com in her former Brooklyn home makes me smile. You can get a glimpse of a pair of her own Bryr clog boots on her feet, and she truly owns them! Pay a visit to the article on Houzz for more photos by Chris A. Dorsey including shots of Isobel's own wall of shoes (seen behind her below).
I just wanted to take this opportunity to refresh our collective memories about this distinctive line of clogs because the word I hear is that Bryr has a new line ready to unveil and Ms. Schofield wanted to know whether we'd be interested in getting a peek.
I'm sure you can imagine the enthusiasm in my reply. Stay tuned.
More about those clog boots from Etsy seller FeiradeBarcelos
I love 'em. But that's nothing new. I told you that after I wore them out to dinner last weekend. But then I wore them again for one of my workdays this past week, and that's almost unheard of for me to repeat a pair of shoes in that short a time. So when I tell you I love them, I really mean it.
(Pardon the two-photo fashion report. Some mornings I'll send my partner in shoe lust and designated enabler Melissa shots of what I'm wearing if hasn't seen me yet that day. And since I'm at work when I finally pull out my camera, full length mirrors are in short supply. So some mental assembly is required in order envision the all black outfit with plaid thigh length shirt and natural leather clog boots.)
Here's the link so you can take a closer look at this shoe on Etsy. And what's more, here's a sweet photo of this shoe from the listing. Clearly taken by someone who unlike myself is equipped with more than just an iPhone.
I should mention that Melissa, loves these shoes, too, now that she's seen them up close. So soon she's going to have a pair of her own winging there way from the north of Portugal to the north of Illinois. Photos to come.
'Til then, I can give you a glimpse of her latest acquisition for her shoe arsenal. This one's a new John Fluevog style named the Tinder. As my daughter aptly defined it, "a great combo of chunky and subtly sinister."
Oh, and here's something else I noticed from Etsy seller FeiradeBarcelos
Wooden soles! Ready for you and me to customize. Got an idea for a clog design you'd like to see on your own feet. D. I. Y., baby! Maria the shopkeeper at FeiradeBarcelos has a full range of sizes available. And the cost is nothin'! (11 bucks for a pair! That's crazy cheap!) Get creative! Then send me a photo of your handiwork!
I see from my kitchen clock that my wake up alarm is going to go off in about seven hours. I need to get some sleep. And I didn't get a chance to circle back to Portugese clog makers Xuz like I wanted to or upload some photos submitted by our correspondent in Australia. Lots of wooden goodness waiting in the wings. At least I won't be hurting for content when next weekend rolls around!
Note: this is a file photo. Not the actual time when writing this post.