“I design things that I like — I don’t like mainstream things.” (CBC Radio 3 interview) Canadian fashion icon, John Fluevog, started his shoe business in 1970, designing snakeskin platforms for disco, and pointy shoes with skulls and peace buckles for punk. He’s always one step, as it were, ahead of the game. Here, he blogs about his 40-year legacy.
John Fluevog for National Post’s Retail Therapy
I recently had to psych myself up for the curator’s walk-through at the Museum of Vancouver with Joan Seidl, the curator of the exhibit.
It’s the history of me, Peter Fox and Ken Rice, and our careers and roles in the history of Vancouver.
Forty years of history and here I stand today. I still feel young, like I have so much more to do. Guess I’m not — 40 years at one thing is fairly long. I don’t really want to tell anyone but, in a way, I don’t think I have done all that well.
I was speaking with Silvana (a designer on our team) over coffee at JJ Bean. I mentioned to her that I thought we did not always do a good job at simply meeting people’s expectations of the brand. It seems to me that a lot more people want to buy into the brand than we let in, but yet that may be why I’m still in business after all these years. My shoes have always stood out in the marketplace.
Although I have had great freedom in my career to do what I feel like, I am also aware it’s a job of simply doing what has been set before me. I need to remember what Jim Byrnes, our local blues/jazz legend who was in the store yesterday, said to my wife Ruth when she said to him “Keep on doing what you do.” He said, “If I don’t keep on doing it, I would explode.”
I, like him, have a job to do and it’s not over.
I think the thing about people like Jim and myself is that most people know what we do for a living. And the public judges how good a job we do.
I do need to keep on running. What else am I going to do? Sit on a beach? I don’t think so.
I did the event. Everyone seemed to be smiling, so that was good. One question I got asked was, “How do you get a job at John Fluevog?” I told them you had to be persistent and knock the door down and really, really want to work there. I hope I don’t have 100 people knocking my door down, because I don’t have enough seats… yet.
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