As far as culturally specific footwear goes, the Native American moccasin blows away the Dutch clog, and of course no one's ever recommended walking a mile in another man's Spanish Torture Boot -- but still, mocs aren't exactly great for pavement-pounding. Crafting culturally resplendent walk-around kicks, Eighth Generation.
From mixed-race activist (Nooksack /Chinese/French/Scottish) Louie Gong, 8-Gs are Vans Slip-Ons intricately detailed with traditional Coast Salish art, a concept oddly born when the founder realized the power of art by tagging a NY apartment building to woo a woman (it worked, and they got Fab 5 Freaky). There are two basic options: "limited custom" runs (you choose the shoe style, color palate, and other details) of pre-fab designs, like the subtle "Eagle" or aggressive "Wolf"; and fully custom one-offs, which in the past have included a boldly stylized orca leaping across gray uppers, and the blue and gray spirit-world evoking "Froggy", meant to inspire nimbleness while dodging a truck just in time to land on a log and eat a fly. While there are generally a handful of completed shoes available on the website, because of the craftsmanship, Gong takes only a limited number of orders per month; if he's all booked, get on the mailing list, and he'll let you know when he can satisfy any desires you might have, as long as they involve shoes.
In other Gong news, he's also just dropped his first tee, featuring a sweepingly drawn Salish-style Chinese dragon, and has produced skate decks featuring either a stylized mythical beast or a "Psycho Killer Whale" -- but who are you to judge, if you haven't swam a mile in its flippers?
Published: November 5, 2009 at 4:00am EST
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