Is BC the artisan, shoe design capital of Canada?

We have come across some really interesting and well-made shoes crafted or designed in BC. When we started to see just how many there are, we found nine shoes designers. Is this all part of the returning manufacturing to our shores? A movement called re-shoring is taking place in the USA, and Europe. This is where small local manufacturing is taking hold or manufacturing that was done off-shore is returning. It was very evident in a recent trip to London where retailers went out of their way to tell me it was “Made in England”. We can now say “shoes made or designed in BC”.

These are the shoe designer/manufacturers we found, located in BC. We all know about John Fluevog, Native and Dayton but did you know about Soul Path, Passedoutdog, Viberg, Love Jules, Westerly and Ken Rice Studios? Each shoe designer has his or her own unique style and story.

Westerly is a one-women shoemaker in the Parker Building. She makes custom designed and made to order shoes for both men and women. Renee Macdonald believes in making an enduring product that can be worn and loved.

shoes 1

 

Passedoutdog has one of it designer/wholesaler living and working in Vancouver. It is a company started by artists in Mexico, supported by the government to combat the flood of cheap imports and recreate unique handmade shoes. They use offcuts and design and manufacture a small run of out of the ordinary shoes.

shoes 2

 

Jules and Joshua, a couple living in Whistler, started love Jules. They hand craft High tops, Chukka Boots, Boat shoes, all with leather, fabric and hand etching.

shoes 3

 

Soul Path shoes, hand-made on Salt Spring Island by Nathan deBridge Bowes, came about, out of his frustration in finding well-made shoes that supported comfort, posture and health. He handcrafts shoes/boots for men, women and children. His work reflects nature and earthy colours.

shoes 4

 

Ken Rice, a graduate of Ontario Scholl of Art, was a former associate of John Fluevog has been designing shoes since 1973. He believes, fine art of handmade shoemaking is a blending of “form and function” and “comfort and beauty” to create a treat for both the eyes and feet. He designs shoes for both men and women.

shoes 5

 

Four other shoes designers such as John Fluevog , Native, Viberg Boot and Dayton have gone on to become larger scale manufacturers/retailers.

shoes 8

 

shoes 6

shoes 7

shoes 9

Looking at the work of all nine shoe designers and manufacturers they all have designs that have a bit of the west coast style and feel. Do we love shoes….. If you know of others let us know.

 

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