design

OUTSIDE INFLUENCE





Can a piece of clothing inspire a shoe, can a back pack do the same ? We all know the answer to that. And recently many brands have been having fun with it! You can go straight to the same look or keep the shoe as the forefront and influence part of it with hints from the outerwear piece. It all depends how far you want to go. We sometimes forget to get out of the world we design in and go get influences from other universe, but I find it's essential in order to stand out and not fall in the wheel.

FABRICS AND PLAID




Every year I hear designer saying plaid is dead and especially the buffalo one. Well it always seem to reinvent itself and find is place. Especially in footwear where boots all took a new twist with upper made out of fabric. Red wing, Timberland and many more are softening their rugged boots and making them more classic and clean by adding fabric. This is simply following the more clean and dressy evolution of clothing. For some it does not apply to their brand identity but you don't want to loose the flow people are in, so maybe an inner lining or innersole made out of plaid fabric becomes the solution.

GREEN FOOT





The industry talks a lot about getting things to be greener and to use recycled resources in order to stop creating products out of raw materials. Few have done the actual move and some of them just stop after one season. But somewhere in Europe the idea of making it a business plan was slowing growing. And now it’s in a full bloom. From a idea in Emmanuel Cortez’s head to the shoes he’s now producing there was a lot of step.

He knew he had to conceive a brand that would be positive from the start. The final product is foryourearth ( pronounce like fry but no R ) a company that is reducing the carbon footprint by making many statement along the conception of their shoes. The soles are made of 50% recycled shoes that are shred and added to natural rubber and some synthetic rubber too. The upper is made of organic cotton and recycled polyester and to seal it off they use water based glue.

But it does not stop with the shoes material and conception, part of the money goes back to their industry in Vietnam and Taiwan in order to improve their workers lifestyle, a tree is planted every time a pair is sold and they work in association with Planète Urgence.

So who said great streetwear sneakers could not feel good and make the world feel good at the same time. Emmanuel Cortez is a living proof that when there is a will there is way. FYE as a great collection of high top and low top that will make you take a step further in a better world.

To all my colleague designer around the world, I hope it will plant a seed in your mind and allow you to see the future of fashion differently.

And I would like to finish this article by a saying from a great tribe from the Canadian west coast that I’m sure Cortez will agree with : We do not inherit this land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

DOUDOUNE




Yeah yeah Doudoune! Here in my home town we have this saying that the blanket you use to sit in front of tv with is a Doudoune, which refers right away to comfort and cozyness. Well I present to you the Doudoune footwear for men. Women have been in these for a long time. They had the Uggs and now everyone from Cushe boots to Sorel have created a warm comfy lining inside their boots.
Men are now part of the deal. In the same vain as the native Mocassin trend and other tribal influences on footwear, Sebago and many others are offering a comfy boot or a winterized version of spring sneakers. And the fact that the design allows the lining to come out the seams, creates a visual effect of slippers filled with sherpa linning where your feet are gonna get lost and kept warm...

Faking it!





Laces are an important part of the look of the shoe, it implies eyelets, hooks, it goes a bit on the side or lower, we have all witness it, when Camper decided to present it's shoes laces differently. There was also the Velcro that was a different take on the look while slip on was a category on it's own. But lace can be faded, by that I mean hiding them or completely remove them. Atelier Arthur as the Monk in their Artisan collection, Supra as is TK and one of my favorite being the Maison Martin Margiela High Top. Bringing this topic up is for you to notice the difference that can created with an easy twist on a essential part of a sneaker. But Like I said don't fear faking it!

My American Cousin





He's in town for sure. Retro classic are everywhere and it seems like ''american grafitti'' will be the style to kick this time. Keds is in full effect with a pre-release of a whole new series of sneakers, high top and low top. They even got their colaboration with 10 DEEP with the Pro Keds Royal High. PF flyer Center Hi is another great exemple that is right on the money. And of course Vans keeps putting out great classics in so many different material that not only your wife will want a walk in closet...
All that to say that the American Baby boomer is back and he wants his kicks like he use to.

THE CRAFT OF SHOEMAKERS







No I am not gonna talk about the terrible year the german driver has been through after trying to show that he could do it again. I am talking about a feel for fall, the one that brought back the noble craft of shoe making. A lot of brand are teaming with legendary brands in order to give it a tailor type of feel. With the hit of Brooks bike seats in the last year Vans have teamed up and come up with nice leather shoes and presents their latest Era.
Another great team work is Timberland creating beautiful pieces by collaborating with Abington and by that I mean that you should look in details the collection available on the web.
I would like to add that all of you designing out there, must keep in mind the craft that they are pursuing and take the time to conceive a product you and the client will be proud of.

Chuck & friends






Well well, chuck decided to sell to Nike a few years ago, and for the best of the clients because the brand keep growing and bringing new style to the list. With the winterized version of their classic All Star they have open the door to a lot of others to join join. Paladium is everywhere this fall with their classic. Not a single store is not showcasing the Baggy with sherpa lining, without... and even tretorn that had taken a whole new market with the Strala Vinter is joining the race with the Klipporone Leather. So now there is no reason for a runny nose in a british weather dear!

CASUAL-Kicks highlight


In order to understand the hybrid situation in shoes design I have decided to highlight the ZX 800 Casual by Adidas. Recently released with three new color combo this shoe is a perfect explanation of the mix from different background. Basically it's playing the Frankenstein game but with a better result... and this style is achieving it greatly by having this beautiful stitch that runs all the way to the back and leaving a great mocassin feel in front. The two last eyelet have been removed by those hiking hook while the rivet at the bottom part nicely repeat the metal feels. Notice that the sole too is a runner that changes completely the look that sneaker could have had with a cup sole or any other straight lined shape of sole. The rest is minimalist but the play on texture top it all nicely.

XXX






Ok a few years ago Mr.Nash decided to revise shoes by tailoring them himself. He was soon recognized and many brands now wanna get the front toe stitch that as became his signature. In the same vibe mocassin are back and the connection was easy to make. They are now boots , shoes, sneakers and many more. The front stitch are everywhere in every store form dressy to casual footwear and it would be hard to miss the boat! Lacoste is the latest to use Alex Nash for a take on the High Top boat shoes while Timberland, Sebago and many more are just happy to see their trade mark being in the spotlight. They could have played it safe but they have decided to play the game in a beautiful way with style like the cultureshoq Ronnie fieg boots.

RUBBER DUCK






The Montreal brand Sorel was already a trend in the 80's with it's winter boots using the rubber duck shape. Since them many people have copied the style and made his own interpretation. The most recent trend as come from the brands mixing it up with a runner sole. We are witnessing the movement of Hybrids in a beautiful way. Good old classic are coming back with a different perspective and designers are hungry to show their take on the legends.
The guys from Gourmet did it in a nice way with a twist on the LL.BEAN classic last year and came back this year with the Duck boot, an update that is stronger. In the same thinking you'll find the version by greedy genius.
Keep it simple but give it another life.

APPLE BOX






The shoes are one thing. But the box is something else, not only it protects those amazing kicks but it also becomes a box for numerous needs and seems to hang around the house longer then the thing they were protecting. Recently a British design company HORT has designed a collection for nike that depicts every borough in a monochrome way.

SNOW FOOT

In the land of Nanuk it's freezing, people have been wearing seal skin boots and bark sunglasses for century. But we were far from thinking they would go down south to the states! Since last spring the clothing industry as been influence by a lot of the native Navajo patterns. Well Nike and many others have set the trend now in the footwear industry. Cushe shoes is a brand that was created by a Merrell designer trying to express a new version of outdoor footwear. They recently came out with a beautiful collection for women winter boots.
We all know there must be a similar blood line between Japan and the Esquimo of the north and Onitsuka as made it clearer by presenting the Tiger Monte Pokhara and the Tiger Monte boot. Nike presents the Air Chukka Moc Fringe directly inspired by Steve McDonald Air moc.
Japanese retailer Oshman joins Asics in order to present the legendary Gel Yeti .
Fur as covered the scene of boots for this fall and now the traditional north tribes features are taking shapes in many boot design in terms of details, lacing and construction.

Nouvelle Vague





Tom shoes brought a great cause to a great product. By giving away a pair of shoes to kids in a developing country when you buy one, they have put their name on the map but also brought back l'espadrille. This Canvas and cord slipper that was so popular in the 80's and way way way before that. Tom shoes twist it and made it a social tool while Sanuk, also on the boardwalk with a similar style but for a more modern audience took off the cord sole, and replaced it by a rubber sole.
All this trend will arrive in time with the warm summer of 2011. After boat shoes coming back it's time to go way back to when St-Tropez was filled with striped tent and umbrellas and men were wearing one piece swimming suit. Straw hat, seersucker shirt, a nice tan pair of trousers and to finish it all in beauty a pair of ''espadrille''. But it does not mean you need to leave your skateboard behind and the rest of your culture, Bagua as taken care of you in this vibe... Big time!

SUPRA•Brand Highlight


Chad Muska and Supra Footwear have brought newness in the world of skate board. But more then that, they have created a style of their own that now can be recognized immediately. They have put the skytop on the map a few years ago that was soon followed by the fashion industry. In fact they kinda brought fashion into skate or vice versa. Recently surfing the wave of construction boots they stood out once again with their Supra Henri Boots. Compact and flexible they reflect well the timberland vibe but in a completely new way....A supra way.

Happy Camper!





Unless you've been hiding in Pakistan for the last months, you have notice that the classic hiking boots have had a major influence on the sneaker world. A lot of company are also riding the avalanche of models coming from this trend. North face as even made an entrance in streetwear with it's new Back to Bekerley boots. In a more classic look, the adidas Ot tech hiker spezial boots are a nice twist to the vintage style of hiking boots.
But what I mean is really an influence in the sneaker business. One that uses elements such as the hooks and laces on a street type of body. The Lava dunk is a great interpretation of a commercial sneaker for colder weather in the city. And the list goes on forever , like the Vans Sk8 Hi Hiker with it's subtle laces twist and hook at the upper part.
How far up this trend will lead us? We'll see, one thing for sure is that it's on a roll and it really added a new breeze to the winterized sneakers, the boots for men as well as the casual camper in you.

In the picture from top left to bottom right: Lacoste Bleu Blanc Rouge • Mors shoes • Vans sk8 Hi Hiker black • Lakai Guy Hi • Nike special forces boot chukka • Adidas Stan Smith 80s LUX Stingray