Lovelife Bags upholstery shoes

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.

These cats are old school, they know the names of every customer that comes in while I’m in there, like they’ve been working with them everyday for the last thirty years.

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.

So now I’m rocking my LoveLife Bag, with matching wallet and kicks! I look like a fool, but I’m excited about all these cool things so far. There’s more to come with the Scrap Life series!

*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.






13 responses to “Scrap Life #3: New Skin, Old Sole

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    those shoes look tits!

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    If you’ve any of that calico left, you MUST add it to a hat and belt. Any self-respecting fashionista will tell you that you match your bag and shoes with your hat and belt!

  3. Doc Pop Avatar
    Doc Pop

    The hat is the next thing I’m-a have made.

    Fony hat, yo!

    Don’t know if I’ll have anything left after that.


  4. Anonymous Avatar

    a hat made primarily of that red plaid you used for the heart on your wallet, maybe? that would be dope. or dopey.

  5. Cordelia Flakk Avatar
    Cordelia Flakk

    So it sounds like this isn’t something the average person could really do, right? I mean it seems to require a certain style of shoe and access to a shoe repair place that has a certain type of old machine. Any way someone could do this by hand with a leather threaded-awl or anything like that?

  6. Heather Avatar

    My boyfriend bought a pair of old school “Made in America” chucks from a tiny shop in San Fran. They were made of a burlap type material, similar to what was on your shoes. Within days they looked like he’d been wearing them for years. Until within three weeks they ripped completely apart on one side of one, down the the sole.

  7. doc Avatar

    Cordelia, while there is a large online group of shoe modifiers, I don’t know if they have any tutorials on this style of upholstery.

  8. Yo MJ Avatar
    Yo MJ

    I can’t believe that anyone would use burlap on any thing that has high usuage. Burlap by design is losely woven made to contain cotton, rice and other grains. These need lots of air so they dot not mildew. When I use burlap for anything that will be used in wearables, I always back it up by using Stitchwitchery bonded to another piece of fabric. It acts like a glue, which will keep the burlap from unraveling.

  9. dansko_shoes Avatar

    Maybe we could partner up on some sort of service for our store customers…

    Birkenstock clogs

  10. Guillotine Avatar

    Wow, amazing! Could you tell me how much having them reupholstered cost?

  11. DocPop Avatar

    gosh, I think it was $70.

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