Canadian shoe designer John Fluevog came to Ottawa to celebrate his 45th year in business and, as he does he did it in cool style with a party at the ByWard Market Fluevog store, that of course included Kegs of local beer and a stylish crew to boot. He also tasted some local flavour while in town with dinner at The Albion Rooms, where he decided to step outside his gastronomic comfort zone and go for some meat. The steak frites impressed and made him feel part of the culture. One he is proud to be immersed in." I love the idea of doing business in Ottawa and being accepted in Canada's capital" he boasted, in modesty.
While he has stores in both Canada and the United States John is proudly Canadian and attached to his Vancouver roots where the business began in the 1970's. The shoe business Ďfound him' and he states " I fell into it with a partner at the age of 21, we started in Gastown in Vancouver, it was the hip place to be." Business has been a challenge but Fluevog has found a good place within the luxury/hipster market and the Ottawa store on William Street, in the ByWard Market reflects this. Styles are slightly edgy with an artsy vibe, yet hints of sensibility too, with comfort a key element, resulting in shoes with a timeless, hip style. Fans, known as Fluevogers, include celebrities like Whoppie Goldberg, Scarlett Johansson and Woody Harrelson.
Trends don't influence the designer who needs a clear mind when he is in design mode. John says that if his mind is too cluttered he doesn't get inspired; trends and outside influence are clutter to his creativity. "Inspiration comes during quiet times," he says. John is still actively involved in the business 45 years since its launch but also acknowledges his dynamic team, which includes his thirty-something son Adrian. John knows the importance of time away and is grateful to the team that allows him this; in the beginning he did everything and was constantly working, now he has the luxury of time. He is energized by stepping back and says "for me, as I get busier its necessary for me to get quiet."
John has a soulful approach to life. His creativity comes from within and says that he is not interested in doing what everyone else does, but, don't think he doesn't notice what people are doing as he is a firm believer in being able to tell a person's true character by their footwear. "Someone who cares about their shoes cares about themselves" he states and claims shoes connect you to your soul- no pun intended. He spoke sincerely about the importance of honouring your style with the right shoe and I was grateful that I had carefully considered my footwear before heading out the door that morning. Who knew my soul would be so exposed, but darn-it, I forgot to check out his footwear, although I am positive they would be comfortable, inviting and definitely hip, as this was what John Fluevog's soul revealed to me during our brief encounter.