Shoes that Grow is finally taking off. I found this story in one of my favorite trend reports, Springwise. I receive a weekly email and often find topics for my FashionMatters radio show. This past Sunday they got a great placement on the Today show. This is one that can make all shoe lovers feel good. Director, Kenton Lee began working on this project while living and working in Kenya in 2007. He observed many children who had shoes that did not fit, or worse, no shoes at all. This lead to contraction of disease and improper foot development. He asked, "Wouldn't it be great if there was a shoe that would expand as a child grew?" And then he answered. The result is an expandable shoe that will grow 5 sizes and last 5 years. They come in 2 initial sizes, Small for kids 5-9 and Large for kids 10-14. The sole is compressed Rubber. The shoe is made from leather with a series of snaps and a buckle that allow it to grow as the child's feet grow. It is small and compact, making it easy to pack. 50 pairs of smalls fit in one suitcase and weighs 50 pounds. There are many ways to get involved. You can buy a pair for $50 and the organization will donate 2 to children in need. You can fill a duffle, help fundraise, or just donate. This is "practical compassion" at its best. Make a donation in the name of each of your shoe loving friends this holiday season.
I went to meet a few friends for dinner on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and I arrived a few minutes early. I was strolling East Passyunk to see what what new. Right across from the restaurant is a vintage store called Mesh Vintage. What better place to kill 10 minutes. Mesh has a nice variety of vintage and lots of shoes. The shop owner had featured some vintage foldables in an armoir, so I went over to inspect. I was transported to my mother's closet and the foldable evening slippers she had. Of the several pairs (all in my size) I found these beauties. I Dream of Genie here I come. The image is a bit off. These are bright gold leather slides with about a 1" wedge heel. My size, $5 - I had to have them. They just brightened my day. What a great inspiration for my shoe designs as well. I must be channeling this toe shape somehow. Remember this design from last summer? There is quite a bit of Asian influence here from the heel to the toe cap. I hadn't been thinking of Aladdin or I Dream of Genie consciously, but I guess it was in there somewhere. Maybe I'll try a variation on this in my summer flats. These are a bit out of character for me - I'm not really into Asian inspired styles. What you can't really see is that these are bright gold - also not my aesthetic. But these beauties will be perfect with all the pant trends this season - harem, cropped, cuffed. They are lightweight and foldable although I won't fold them. They will head with me on my travels and each time I wear them I'll remember my mom's closet and how much I enjoyed watching her dress for evenings out. Update 4/12/15: I'm definitely channeling something! Check out these non-western images from the The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel. https://instagram.com/p/
I've been working on a project with an inventor that requires a foldable shoe. If I tell you about it, I'll have to kill you. It's TOP SECRET - very hush, hush. What can I share with you? It has prompted me to re-visit and research various options. These are nothing new. I remember my mom having them as evening shoes when I was a child. These were not shoes for the pocket. They had a leather sole and 1/2" heel. The heel folded into the toe and the shoes were in a clear plastic bag that was merchandised on a hanging rack in department stores. I remember a pair my mom had vividly as royal blue and gold brocade with a squared off pointed toe. Here's similar style I found through a Google Image search. In recent years, the foldable ballet flat has been in vogue. These are available at various price points. CVS had a great, inexpensive rollable model that everyone I know loved. For some reason, they have discontinued the product. Dr. Scholl's offers Fast Flats. AliExpress has lots of choices. H&M offered some styles several years ago and of course there is the Ballasox by Corso Como. This is a versatile product and the styles offered are getting more varied and fashionable. Many are even weather proof - perfect for those April showers. Find your special pair now.