I’ve been wearing the functional but plain black rubber boots that were given to me by a local church during the clean-up after the hurricanes of 2004, but I’ve been wanting a pair that might not make me look like I’m on my way to shovel muck from a barn. I saw these on a fashion blog (sorry, but I can’t find it and there are 1000s of them) and followed the links to Amazon where they were for sale. To my great delight, they were reasonably priced and made in Canada.
The brand is Kamik, which was a new one to me, though according to their website, the company has been in business for over 100 years. The company is headquartered in Montreal where many of their boots are made. Others are made in assembly plants in Ontario and New Hampshire, with 70% of Kamik products being made in North America. Their factories are hydro-powered, and they use very little fossil fuels. And their rubber boots are recyclable, which you can do by sending the used boots back to the company where they are reprocessed.
You know how I love a manufacturing video? They have one.
There is not a sales feature on the Kamik website, but they are readily available on Amazon, Zappos, R.E.I. and Nordstrom. Their rubber boots are made in North America, but some of their other styles are made in Asia, so make sure you know the origin of the boots if this is an important issue to you.
The style name of my boots is Christina, and they do come in other colors. I’m not a lacy type of girl, but I thought the Gwyneth boots were rather cute.
An interesting side note: I was in Wal-mart recently and went by to glare at the made-in-China boots. To my surprise, there were quite a few styles, some very similar to mine, that were labeled Made in the USA and Made in Canada. At $24.95, they are worth checking into if you are needing a pair of rainboots.
I finally got around to taking photos of the shoes I wore to my nephew’s wedding two weeks ago. I’ve had these for years, bought for $3.75 at a local Goodwill. Gosh, just looking at them makes me want to go thrift shopping.
* Here is an amazing video showing the hand intarsia process in making knit cashmere. Caerlee is now the only remaining cashmere mill in the UK that still uses the process.
* The next clothing and textile auction from Karen Augusta will be held in NYC on November 14th.
* And if you are in London on November 29, 2012, I’m sure you’ll take in the Vintage Couture auction at Christie’s.
* By now I’m sure you’ve read that Nicolas Ghesquière is leaving Balenciaga. Cathy Horyn analyzes the break-up.
* CNN did a segment on people who are searching out clothing and goods that are made in the USA.
* Do you have “fast-fashion fatigue“? Some retails are beginning to think so and are looking into returning to higher quality products.
* The Pragmatic Costumer posted an interesting piece on shattering silk. (from Lorna McKenzie)
* Sad, but oh so interesting, Collector’s Weekly has an article on the abandoned suitcases at the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane.
* This blog, Swimming in Pictures, posts nothing but vintage photos of people in their bathing suits. (from Jayne Shrimpton)
* Amazon is now taking pre-orders for the reprint of the Claire McCardell book, What Shall I Wear? It will be released November 21 and is nicely priced at about $19. Thanks to Michelle Braverman, I’ve had a chance to read it, and it was so much fun.
It seems like it is so much harder to find vintage sport shoes in good condition than it is to find lovely evening pumps or even nice dressy shoes. Of course, it is easy to see why. Most people wear their casual shoes much more often than they do evening shoes. And even after casual shoes become very worn, they then become the yard work shoes or the gardening shoes.
When I ran across some late 1930s and 1940s shoes unworn and in the original boxes, I looked through them, expecting to find brown pumps in each box, and for the most part, I was right. But then I found this pair of sporty two tone moccasins, a total surprise.
If you’ve ever had the privilege of talking about the war years with anyone who lived through and remembers the early 1940s, you would think that by the end of the war there were no leather shoes to be had at all. But here I found about a dozen pairs, all unworn, and probably dead-stock from a store. Maybe all the women in town ran out of coupons, or perhaps they were odd sizes no one could wear. Whatever the reason, I was happy to get this pair of survivors.
One might not expect to find sport shoes in a box labeled “Glamour Girl.”
But a look at the side told a more accurate story about the contents of the box.
I couldn’t resist showing this photo from a 1950s brochure advertising Grandfather Mountain. Featuring the “Mile High Swinging Bridge,” Grandfather is thought to be made of some of the oldest rock formations in the world.
As a long time admirer of vintage travel photos, I can tell you that historically, travelers have donned some wildly inappropriate clothes and shoes over the years. Picture Victorian women climbing rocks in skirts that dragged the ground, 1920s families all decked out in Sunday best to picnic on mountain tops, and 1930s men walking the beach in full suit with tie and leather shoes.
But by 1950 our country was going casual. Would a woman have really worn heels while visiting one of the highest mountains in eastern North America?
Well, she could have, and some probably did. You see, most of the “climbing” of Grandfather Mountain is done in a car:
But the rest of the brochure shows women more realistically dressed, most wearing shorts and flats. Personally, I think that is taking the casualness a bit far. I can remember in the early to mid 1960s that the older women in my family would wear dresses with casual flats on picnic trips up the Blue Ridge Parkway and into the Smokies. Only the kids got away with shorts.
A few years ago I was in Germany at the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, which sits on a high hill and which involves quite a bit of up and downhill walking. It was a chilly September day and a woman was walking up the hill teetering on stiletto sandals. A British tour guide went up to her and chastised, “Silly, silly shoes for such a place as this.” I’m not sure she even understood him, but it sure stuck with me. I’ll never be caught wearing silly shoes on a mountain.
And as if to prove a point, I just got this too-funny-not-to-post photo from reader Lisa:
White heels AND a mink stole!
I simply cannot think of this shoe brand without being reminded of my grandmother. She was not a fashionable woman, and she was not concerned with fancy things, but she was a real stickler for quality. Paradise Kittens was just the type of conservatively styled but well made clothing and shoes she insisted on.
I did a quick web search for the brand was was shocked to find that the brand is still around. It is owned by Johansen, and the shoes are still conservative in styling, and quite unbelievably, still made in the USA.
Could there be a cuter shoe box?