Shoe school open day success
May 4, 2018
Wellington’s own fairy godmother turns recycled leather jackets and old car seat belts into fabulous shoes in the city’s first shoe school.
Shoe School is an adult shoe-making course which teaches students to design, measure and make the perfect pair of shoes.
Students primarily work with swathes of leather in every colour but there is also room to experiment with alternatives and upcycled materials.
The workshop walls are lined with traditional shoe-making tools, design books and soon kits for students to take home.
Shoe School first opened in Wellington five months ago, when resident shoe-maker and teacher Louise Clifton moved from Dunedin.
Tired of travelling across the country to share her craft, Clifton decided to relocate her workshop to a more central location, settling in an old shop front in Newtown.
Clifton had lived in Newtown as a student and loved its creative community.
“I can treat it like a little village. [It’s] more accessible and engaging.
She said there had been a lot of interest from Wellington’s creatives, Weta workshop employees and design students.
“[I am] amazed by how people have responded to Shoe School,” she said.
More than 50 locals packed into the store front workshop on Tuesday night to support her at the first Shoe School open night.
The bright neon sign, warm atmosphere and colourful crowd prompted many passer-bys to stop on their way home from work.
There seemed a strong focus on ethical and sustainable fashion production from those in attendance.
Many were former students, having completed a short two-week summer course at Massey University.
Design student Freedom Holloway enjoyed learning how to produce more sustainable products and reduce fast-fashion consumption.
“How cool is it to make shoes for our final 4th year collection,” she said.
She acknowledged the price of the course. “[I was] able to do it because the university paid.
“[But] I want to buy a toolkit.”
Fellow Massey student Heather Barth said the course made her more appreciative of her shoes.
“[I have] a working knowledge of what I wear so can make better choices.”
Newcomers were also welcomed at the event, and invited into the space.
Julie Clifton, a leather boot lover, had heard about the even through Facebook.
“[I’d] bought a pair of handmade shoes from a man in Waiheke but thought it would be good to have a go myself. [It’s] good to still be using your hands.”
Catheryn Asher ran her own design store and was interested in completing the course.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this in New Zealand. [It’s] a bucket list kind of thing,” she said.