Ever since I was a child, I've had a passion for fashion, but most especially footwear.
I remember a younger version of myself sneaking into mom's closet to put on these silver metallic Nine West sling back heels. I'd practice my Cat walk in those heels every day after school, with FashionTV playing in the background for inspiration. Somehow I was convinced I was gonna be the next Naomi/Tyra hybrid- LOL
When I finally got the chance to purchase my first pair of high heels- a navy-inspired blue and white striped pump with a fancy red bow on the toe, believe me... I tore those babies up! I wore them with every possible outfit combination I could think of- bell bottom jeans, skinny jeans, babydoll dresses, mini skirts. You name it.
Then along came my first pair of designer shoes at 14. I fell in love with these Marciano cutout leather lace-up booties that had the edge of a Samuri sword. Sexy and sharp. I still have these bad boys sitting pretty in my closet today. Emphasis on Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y, baby! They're intact and new as ever...but we're not here to talk about the quality of luxury goods just yet, we'll save all that good stuff for later ;) ...Right now, I'll give you a brief and somewhat pathetic (you'll understand why soon) summary of the birth of my passion: Footwear design!
Like many love stories, there's a beautiful beginning and often torturous end that one party unrequitedly suffers through. That was me- the sufferer. Single around Valentine's day with a sea of bewildering thoughts that kept me questioning my purpose and searching for something new to ignite a little passion in me, but I couldn't let the feeling over power me. So I sat with my brain working over time to come up with a hobby centred around something I love, something that makes me happy all the time, and something I could effortlessly spend my life doing and I thought about *drumroll*.... Shoes! You guessed it.
As an attempt to reclaim my sanity and appreciate my love for footwear, I threw a visit to Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum into my Valentine's day schedule. It was the one thing I was certain would plaster a genuine smile on my face. As cliche as it sounds, shoes are simply my one true love.
On February 14, 2017, I planned my outfit around my choice of footwear: a pair of pointed-toe pumps that I purchased impulsively from a brand that shall not be named- no test run, no contemplation... just straight off the shelf. (Worst. Decision. Ever.)
After what felt like 3 hours of wandering around in these jailhouse shoes, I just couldn't ignore the warfare happening between my feet and those horrible plastic-lined straps that might as well have served the purpose of a shank in a prison fight, because OUCH! By this time I'd gotten to the top most level at the Bata Shoe Museum. I'd seen it all. I was out. ✌ And so were my feet...
Nonetheless that disappointment I felt (and still feel) towards the nameless brand was quickly overshadowed by the inspiration I got during my walk through of the shoe museum. All I could imagine were endlessly ways to develop this new feeling, this new urge to do more with shoes other than just buying them. Like 99% of YouTube users, I fell victim to its slippery slope of related videos after a quick search of Manolo Blahnik documentaries- which, by the way, are the most inspiring visuals any passionate footwear lover should see (one, two or three times, if you're like me).
I say "most inspiring" visuals because the fluidity of his hands moving across blank pages and transforming canvases into auctionable art work was so invigorating that I decided to pick up a pencil and attempt to draw my very first pair of shoes that night. To my surprise, it came with ease and thus the story began. A lightbulb went off in my head to create my own branded footwear- whether it meant for my personal collection or for my undeveloped brand at that time, I wasn't sure. All I knew was that the curse had been broken, because I had found my passion.
So now I'm here, baring it all and penning this open letter to footwear lovers like myself who look to leave an imprint on this earth with style & grace.
What's your love story with footwear? I'd love to hear it 🖤