I’ll never forget the wintry morning in 2003 when I learned about the production costs of a pair of simple women’s shoes coming all the way from China to be propped up on a shelf somewhere in Australia. 7 – 10 Dollars. Seven to ten Dollars. SEVEN TO TEN DOLLARS.
According to the lecturer that stately sum included the making, packaging, shipping and clearing customs upon arrival – without any question being part of a MASSIVE order hitting the shops so Australians could benefit from purchasing a very competitively priced adornment for their feet. Additional costs such as labour (salary for staff working in shops/ involved in merchandise) and overheads would have put the final price at about 50 – 70 Dollars. Well, could have been a bit less or a bit more, of course…you get the idea. The incredibly cheap production costs also explain why it would have been still possible to somehow make a profit when those inevitable SALE signs appeared weeks later announcing to the world that those shoes could be taken home for $20 or something equally astounding. What is not to like?
What is not to like, indeed.
Well. In short: Not much, really.
For the HUMAN involved: It is a given that the person who is part of making those shoes/ operating the machinery is paid the lowest wage possible. Working conditions less than pleasurable as overall concerns are for profit margins. Consideration for work/life balance so important for overall well-being and health? I hear someone laughing in the background…
For the SHOE involved: has to be made as fast a possible and as cheap as possible. Shortcuts? Likely. Shoes are not meant to last longer than a season or the length of a ‘trend’ as fashion dictates. If they hold together that long at all…and then ‘good bye’ and off to the landfill.
For our PLANET: Oh, boy. To date, not that good news at all. Overpopulation is the big elephant in the room and like a massive swarm of locusts leaving only devastation in their wake, mankind appears to be using up resources with no or little consideration and responsibility. The majority of 7.5 billion people tend to embrace the idea of wearing shoes. Consumerism is rampant and only slowly, very sloooowly awareness spreads through some part of the global community about the absolute necessity for change. Ultimately, we as consuming individuals are the ones with the ability to change the system. You and I have choices – it’s about mindfulness, slowing down consumerism and resourcefulness. MindFashion is an intriguing read on the subject of Change/Fashion.
Big breath in here – and out. And a nice picture to provide some visual delight to take the edge of the doom and gloom we introduced just now…
Launching Ideal Husband was and still is a commitment to longevity, not passing trends.
It’s about being part of SLOW FASHION – and taking time. Taking the proper time to make a beautiful pair of shoes. The making of a bespoke pair involves many steps and many days. Imagine carving two charming mermaids into a pair of timber heels…this takes time and is only one part of the whole 3D miracle that is a pair of shoes.
Ideal Husband is about artisans and their honed skills. We work with a small group of overseas shoemakers who are part of a cultural tradition spanning over many generations. We are lucky to have found an experienced carver and his father who have been dedicated to their trade for more than two generations. Prior to meeting with our peculiar request, their repertoire did not entail shoe heels.
Ideal Husband is about building relationships. Working cross-culturally presents its own challenges, and for it to work, we makers spend time together sharing our stories. We cherish the individual relationship we have with you, the wearer of our shoes. Purchasing a pair of Ideal Husbands makes you part of our story and we thank you for it.
Ideal Husband is about maintaining quality and beauty. Every pair is made slowly with dedication and love embracing the bigger picture that is timeless style. We acknowledge the human need for beauty. Creating a piece of Wearable Art is our contribution to make the world a better place – slowly, creatively and with love for the process…one pair of shoes at a time!
IDEAL HUSBAND is SLOW FASHION. First and foremost we are passionate about art and beauty. We are aware of the connection to others and the environment and the importance to act responsibly – in our private lives and in our professional endeavors.
Thank you again for being part of our story, and thank you for giving us the incentive to Keep Making Beautiful Objects. After all, we are in this together.
As usual, here are some links to other dedicated creatives – check out Katharina Beilstein playing with shapes and platforms and Liesel Swart exploring ways to replace leather with more environmentally friendly materials…
Take care. x