Posted on June 28, 2006
Scrap Life #3: New Skin, Old Sole
I can’t really begin the third entry in the Scrap Life series without getting a bit into a product review, sorry:
It’s tricky to be a conscious consumer, balancing function and form with cost and ethics. For most of my life I have rocked cheap shoes, but I had decided that if I ever had the cash, I would try to spend my money more ethically. Eventually I bought a pair of Blackspot V2s from Adbusters and couldn’t believe that these super expensive shoes fell apart so easily, so one week later I sent them back… about a month and a half later I got a package from Adbusters opened it up and IT WAS THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES*, shit. So another couple weeks go by before I finally got my pair of shoes. Within a week the same thing happens, a split in the seam, so bad that I decide to just take ‘em to the shoe repair down the street and get it all fixed. Not the experience I was looking for from the most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought.
But I decide to try again, this time from a company called Worn Again that makes great looking shoes using leather from car seats, used tee shirts, recycled coffee bags, puppies, and recycled rubber. Again, another great looking shoe, that failed to last very long. Within days of light usage the toe on my right shoe started to unravel.
I give up. These shoes are so expensive, and morally I think it’s worth the price for well made slave labor free shoes, but these shoes suck.
There, so getting onto the Scrap Life. After all this heartbreaking with the shoes, I kept thinking about how cool it would be to re-upholster a pair of shoes. Taking a good design and customizing it with cool fabric.
So after tons of research, I learned this would be a virtually impossible task to attempt without the right machine. A little more research and I learned that there was only one place in SF with the right type of machine, and it was Anthony’s Shoe Repair on 30 Geary.
Raquel helped me out, apparently she and the Gino, the owner, are the only to employees who do what I was looking for. I explained that I wanted to rip off all the burlap sack from the toes to the tongue and replace it with my calico fabric from LoveLife. “No problem” she said and a week later I came back to check out the work on the shoes and get a peak at the repair shop in the back. Most of the machines where pretty old, including the watchamacallit that Raquel was working with to do the finishing touches (you know da’ kine). It was a singer from the 30’s or possibly sooner and Raquel said there was something fancy about that particular model number that made it extremely coveted.
*For the record, Adbusters sent me a pair of Blackspot V1s, and I absolutely love them! I can see why they wanted to keep making shoes, but it’s a shame the V2s where so low quality. The V1s are pretty much a Chuck Taylor knock off, which is a very simple shoe that’s easy to make well. I do recommend this shoe, but wasn’t impressed with anything else I got from them. I’ve even covered up my anti-logos that come on them.. Anti-anti-logo.
If anyone is interested in getting shoes re-upholstered, let me know. I’ll see if I can help out.