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Way Back Wednesday: Let the Un-Brainwashing Begin

Let the Un-Brainwashing Begin – page 25-26 – c. 2003

Left – The 240 Wagons: The Mateo, The Ian & The Geoff

Right – FAQ

Who are you?

Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Canada, John Fluevog spent much of his youth at his father’s drive-in ice cream parlour called the Luxury Freeze (the corporate slogan was: “Luxury Freeze Heavier & Stiffer”). From 1953 to 1960, the drive-in on the Kingsway was his home. It was in this environment that John developed a strong passion for cars which in turn, have provided inspiration for many of this shoe designs.

After spending a summer travelling down the west coast witnessing the revolution of the sixties first hand, John returned to Vancouver and began working for Sheppard’s Shoes. In 1970, he joined forces with his co-worker Peter Fox to set up their own shoe shop in historic Gastown. The partnership, known simply as Fox and Fluevog lasted over ten years before the two split amicably in 1981. While Peter directed his business towards designing the refined elegance of bridal footwear, John continued dressing the feet of the young and adventurous. The youth of the eighties and early nineties had an appetite for rebellion, or at least the appearance of it. John’s baroque shoe designs became another way for the “X” Generation to express themselves. His first major success came with being the first to import Dr. Marten shoes into North America. Using the comfort of an orthopaedic air-filled sole and styling his own uppers into swirly, colourful designs subverted the negativity which at the time, dominated youth culture. At the same time, John was producing shapes of shoes that only the truly rebellious would be seen wearing. Extreme points, overly round toes and oh-so-square heels were some of the highlights of Fluevog’s influential design sense. In addition to this, Fluevog decorated his quirky shoes with crosses, peace signs, and hearts displaying positive messages that the John Fluevog Shoes brand has become known for promoting.

By the early nineties, John Fluevog had five privately-owned and operated stores in Boston, New York, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver. His shoes were garnering attention from the mainstream fashion press by appearing in the pages of Vogue, on the catwalks for Anna Sui and Betsey Johnson as well as upon the feet of pop-divas such as Madonna and Lady Miss Kier. His line of shoes grew to incorporate sub-brands such as the Angel line of Satan Resistant Soles, F-Shoes and Unitys. Each one of these sub-brands became distinct and separate families to reach Fluevogers of all kinds and propel Fluevog’s retail and wholesale operations to dizzying new heights. At the end of a prosperous decade, Fluevog opened two new stores in San Francisco and Chicago, a franchise shop in Melbourne Australia and an e-commerce website (www.fluevog.com). With retailers all across North America carrying John Fluevog Shoes and an eighth store recently opened on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles, John Fluevog is poised to become a name usually mispronounced but seldom forgotten.

Where do you make your shoes?

As a small, independent company John Fluevog Shoes relies on a small group of boutique-style factories located all over the world to manufacture it’s products. These factories produce small numbers of shoes and boots with a focus on bringing to life the quality and originality that John Fluevog demands. Currently, the majority of Fluevog’s are being produced in either Portugal or Poland with a very small number of Couturevogs being handcrafted in Vancouver, Canada.

What are Angels?

Although Angels may have been watching over our shoulders since the dawn of time, John Fluevog’s Angels first appeared in the early nineties. The Angelic Sole proved to be popular due to it’s comfort and positive message. The bottom of the sole has a group of Seven Angels in the front with two more on the heel. Placed there to guard against the negative vibes we come across in the world, Angelic Soles Resist Alkali, Water, Acid, Fatigue and Satan. On top of that, they’re resoleable so there’s no need to worry about running out of the superior comfort and production of Angels.

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