Frangipani in Ubud

Only some hours left, and then July has arrived – so QUICKLY I need to get my June blog up and running! Recently, I came back from Bali from my latest shoe trip meeting with Echem and his fellow makers. I am happy to say that things are progressing, albeit slowly…one sample shoe came up very, very nicely – hardly anything in need of change…one of those delightful and not-so-often “falling into places” scenarios…we love them! But alas – no such thing as a completely smooth ride, so now the focus is back on the beautiful boots….which need some adjustments in the zipper department. AND the toe application…AND some different thread…but those heels – wonderful! Taking the inspiration from the 100 years + boots I mentioned in an earlier blog, we have made slight changes, but the elegant curves are the same…adding a 2cm platform in the front, and we are looking at a rather comfortable piece of foot adornment…which I am looking forward to road-test very soon…and since those temperatures here in Darwin have taken quite some plunges recently, wearing boots does not seem completely ludicrous right now…even standing next to the pool removing bat droppings from my little collection of rubber ducks….

Delightful Darwin Domestic Ducks…

But now to some more disturbing issues…ever since I have started working on my IDEAL HUSBANDS, my goal has been to find a way of producing beautifully made shoes the “slow” way. Let me explain: similar to various trends within the food industry, fashion has taken to some seriously disturbing ways of producing way too many clothes: a phenomena experts call “fast fashion”. Millions, and sometimes billions (!) of items (or units) are manufactured in ways and within time frames, which can only be described as utterly wrong. Increasing pollution and the poisoning of whole landscapes in the developing world (funny, how those things never seem to happen in the First World!!?) are the only way to feed the greedy monster called Fashion Industry with its constant demand for more, cheaper and ever-changing disposable outfits. Needless to say, luxury brands feed in that very same pattern with their demand for luxury leather, cashmere and designer denim…for those interested I can recommend “To Die For” written by Lucy Siegle with its telling tag line “Is fashion wearing out the world?”

Fashion in Darwin – Matilda Allegra’s show early this year

Ever since being a small girl, I remember having been fascinated by the glamor and make-belief of the world of fashion and theater. My grandmother’s friend happened to be an opera singer, who happened to work in the state theater of the town my grandmother lived in…complimentary tickets, anyone?! So imagine my excitement sitting in the balcony of that very theater, awaiting the red velvet curtains to open up and….ahhh….yes….present this wonderful world of extraordinary dresses, impressive hats, mesmerizing jewels and all that bedazzling bedazzlement….So this was it for me – I just knew I had to become a Fashion and Costume Designer, no matter what. Fast forward many many years (dare I say DECADES??!), and that bedazzlement has been replaced by a very different emotion: I have seen the nasty side of fashion and theater, and I have been part of a roller coaster of very mixed emotions which has led me all over the globe. I HATE the industry, but am still very much in LOVE with the endless promises of creative outbursts…and needless to say, the minute you start working backstage, reality kicks in – “So those diamonds are NOT real?” – that kind of stuff!

More flowers in Bali – eye candy!

Felt like giving you some visual treat – which is part of my attraction to Asia, the unexpected island of utter beauty in the sea of chaos and sensual onslaught…

And now back to my initial thoughts – my “ETHICAL” shoe range! Well, what can I say – NOTHING in the world of fashion comes without a foot print, so I am not pretending, that what I do is without impact. BUT – and I am serious about this! – I am committed to create a beautiful product, which will be hand crafted by a small group of people. There are BILLIONS, no, GAZILLIONS!!! of shoes out there, being produced every day, only to end their days in a landfill somewhere very soon – and that is bad news for everyone. I love the idea of having lesser things, but of higher quality – and let’s aim HIGH here! I’d like to be able to create a product, which will be with the owner for a long time, and which will not go OUT of fashion – because it never has been IN fashion…but is all about STYLE in a timeless way.

So it’s time to introduce Echem, with whom I started working in February this year:

Echem and his little bird in his studio space in Kerobokan…June 2012

This photo has been taken just two weeks ago – he introduced me to his little bird he purchased from the market  “For Happiness and Entertainment”…so there you are, all those shoes and leather and glue and men in that work space, and this bird is happily flying around, carefully avoiding to land on anything sticky (and there is a lot of stickiness in this place!!!). I have been utmost impressed by its performance on the window sill…just looking outside, but not flying away! Needless to say, I am a sucker for animals, big and small…so after a while of playing with it, I had to wrestle my head back into “shoe mode”…and think of the odd Balinese word to throw into the conversation….

Will keep you posted with my adventure and research into the world of SLOW fashion and sustainability….

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