i had a great time in nyc this past wknd, catching up with friends and getting a dose of real life outside of DC, but ginny, ben, and i also had some ulterior motives for the trip: designing our own kicks as birthday presents to ourselveswe made it to the puma’s nyc concept store on the last day that their mongolian shoe bbq was in town. here’s how it works: you pick the colors and materials for all 10 parts of your left shoe, then they send those pieces to the factory in hong kong where both shoes are built and returned to you in 4-6 weeks. it’s a great marketing concept for all of us who grew up in a culture of maximum choices, so we bought into it — hook, line, sinker.here’s a picture of my shoes-to-be after at least an hour of deliberating different colors and fabrics:
And here’s a picture of the mongolan bbq where i performed my genius workOther than my lingering worry that some kid in Hong Kong is going to get paid next to nothing in a hot factory to stitch my shoes together, I can’t say enough about how great it was to have played some role in the production of something that I will own/wear. I don’t care about my shoes being unique since i’m well-aquainted with the experience of seeing certain articles of my clothing repeated on other people who presumably found one of the same chains to shop in as meMy big point is this —> Think about these shoes i designed and then consider how rarely any of us have any connection at all to our clothing, or to most anything we purchase. We don’t know anything about it; we didn’t design it or choose it’s colors; we have no idea who made it; and we often forget that we ever purchased or acquired it in the first place.It’s why nothing can possibly compare to the hand-knit scarf or wool sweater that my mother personally made for me, with her own hands, and why locally grown food (a la slow food) that come from a specific farmer on a specific tastes so much better. Purists can argue that i still have no idea where the materials for my shoe originated and that I won’t have a hand in the actual manufacturing of the shoe, but this small drop of ownership and involvement is enough for me right now. And it goes to show how subconsciously starved we are for a simple connections to the clothes we wear. We’ll even pay money for the opportunity to play a small role in their production, as i did!Just as the local and organic food markets are beginning to boom, I hope we’ll see more and more ‘design-your-own’, ‘build-your-own’, and ‘grow-your-own’ options as our appetite for pre-designed fashion and mass-produced food/clothes/culture wanes.