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Shoe Stories by John: The Original Munster

By John Fluevog

When I started in the boutique shoe business, it never really occurred to me that I was an artistic person. I was the kid in high school with dyslexia who took band but was always on 3rd chair trumpet as I was always a little mixed up on the bars and what note came next.

This shoe was not the first shoe that I designed, but for sure was the most exaggerated. At the time I was selling punk/grunge footwear and thick crepe bottomed shoes or super pointed flats with lots of straps and buckles. So as you can imagine, this shoe was really out of step with the current trend. But this is how it came about and then you can judge for yourself if I have an art brain.

When I first conceived of them, the image of these over the top platform heels played on in my mind so much that I made the first pair out of Plaster of Paris. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew that I had to get them out of my system. I remember the dripping glob getting all over the place in my basement and making a big mess that hardly looked like a shoe.

From there I went to see an old hippie friend of mine who had learned to make shoes and cut patterns and he made the first prototype, which was very fine indeed. I took this prototype to a small factory in England that was making shoes for Terry de Havilland and they freaked out! They said they would make it. When the first sample came out, a woman who worked at the factory in London walked by and said “Wow, that’s a Munster shoe,” which is how they got their name. I later realized she was saying ‘monster’, but the kooky name stuck anyway.

I did not have the money to have all the tooling made so I struck a deal with them – they paid for all the set up costs and I would get to sell the shoes exclusively in North America. They sold them in other parts of the world with my name on them and this is how my name got around the globe through small boutiques.

For some odd reason, they did not initially sell very well in my hometown of Vancouver. I’d guess we maybe sold close to ten pairs there the first year! But I did not care because I knew they were right and were something I just needed to do. I can’t stress enough that I didn’t feel like I had a choice!

They sold better in New York, where they really seemed to groove with the club scene that was happening. Then of course Lady Miss Kier famously wore them on the cover of Deee-lite’s World Clique album, Madonna dangled them like candy in her first film/documentary Truth or Dare and the rest was history!

It’s a little strange to me that after all these years they have never lost their appeal and remain what they are today. I always liked to think of them as an alternative dance party shoe and am humbled but proud that they’ve managed to have such an enduring legacy.

It just goes to show that when you have to get something out of your brain, you better do it!

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