Jun
20
2012

Q&A: John Fluevog

Shoe designer and owner, Fluevog Shoes

Fluevog Shoes has 14 locations across North America, but it all began in 1985 when John Fluevog opened his first U.S. store in Seattle by selling his car. He was the first to import the popular Dr. Martens boot to North America and has since amassed a fanbase of “Fluevogers” that includes Madonna, Alice Cooper and Jack White. In the 1990s, his shoes were at the heart of Seattle’s grunge scene. In 2002, he created Open Source Footwear, allowing anyone to submit shoe design ideas, proving why Fast Company magazine was right to name Fluevog one of the top 10 most innovative fashion companies in 2010. Earlier this year, he was named the Canadian Footwear Industry’s Shoe Person of the Year by The Two/Ten Foundation of Canada. He currently lives in Vancouver, B.C.

How often do you travel?

It’s in spurts. There are seasons where I go to Europe and do shows there, rent a place in Paris for the week or go to London. I go to New York quite a bit and I have stores in other cities.

Favourite hotel

There’s a little bed and breakfast called the Newbury Guesthouse in Boston, Mass. It’s a small hotel with lots of character; a bit of a hole-in-the-wall, but it’s lovely.

Favourite spot to business lunch

Pourhouse Vancouver. It’s pretty down-home and it’s nice, without being over the top.

Top travel destination

I never get tired of New York. There’s so much to see. I’m visual and I like looking at stuff and what people have made. New York is great for that. The Lower East Side is good, and Nolita has great independent shops.

Approach to travelling for work

When you’re travelling for business, the business time has to [also] be “play” time. No matter what I do or where I go, I’m constantly thinking about my business.

Shoe design you’re most proud of

The Munster. It was so out of sync with what was going on. Everyone was doing pointy-toe high-heeled shoes and I had this big flipping, honkin’ platform thing. It’s become iconic with the brand.

Packing style

I pack as little as I possibly can. I always buy something when I’m gone.

Inflight routine

It’s a matter of “Zen-ing” out. I get good ideas and think of stuff [when I’m flying]. I used to talk to people on the plane and don’t do it so much anymore.

Gadget in my carry-on

Bose noise-cancellation earphones. Travel advice Keep your cool. Try not to have something super-important to be at the very next day.

Business advice

Be original, no matter what industry you’re in. It’s the people who think of ideas first who are the winners. I’m more interested in what I’m going to do rather than what I did.

John's picks

The First Design

Twin Turbine #2

291

John’s Favourite

Swordfish Cooper

289

The New Release

Halfmoon Arc

290

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