Marketplace Diary/ Amanda from ‘I Can Make Shoes’

Amanda Luisa from wonder boutique ‘I can make shoes’ has one goal - keep feet happy.  Working out of her studio in East London, Amanda’s boutique will stock her own self designed and crafted seasonal footwear lines, as well featuring Amanda’s new foray into the magical world of shoe ‘upcycling’. The good ship Wikipedia lists ‘upcycling’ as...

“The process of converting waste materials into new materials or products of better quality”.

In shoe language this roughly translates into the following: Old and sad shoes are reborn into more fantastical creatures than they could have ever imagined. Amanda is leading the way into this glorious new world, with a mission to create a beautiful afterlife for pre-loved shoes. We asked Amanda to keep a diary of her shoe escapades, so we can all take a peep (toe) into her Marketplace preparations….

'I can make shoes' Monday diary entry - Amands makes Pom Pom's

Vintage shoes have style and flair, but they have also been round the block a few times. When I ‘upcycle’ shoes, I firstly start by making them wearable again. All the shoes get new memory foam insoles, and if necessary new heel tips and soles. Once I’ve removed all the traces of the previous owner, I get to work on adding modern embellishments, transforming each pair into unique one-offs.

My first step is to source my shoes. On Monday, I started my day by scouring my local vintage shops and second hand stores. I’ve also been rummaging through any friends closets I come by, and heading out to car boot sales whenever I can too. ‘Upcycling’ has become an addiction for me. Every time I see a pair in distress, my mind springs alive with how to save them.

I found the BEST charity shop just down the road from me, and bought up every pair with even a smidge of potential. I spent the rest of the day taking them apart and designing different options for their makeovers, compiling a little shopping list of the new materials needed as I went. By the end of the day, I had created a beautiful pair of pom pom’d purple pumps.

'I can make shoes' - tuesday - Amanda sources new fabric and adds studs to sandals.

This day seemed to just run away from me. Somewhere between studs and insoles, the time just seems to melt away. I had Isabella working with me today, and we made an almighty mess. The studio floor looked as though several pairs of shoes had spontaneously combusted.

I had been to the stud shop in the morning, and stocked up on lots of studs and buckles, so we had an afternoon of experimentation with those. We realised that by accident, we had been ‘upcycling shoes in little families of colours. Tuesday was all about brown shoes with studs and a really cool African embroidery ribbon I found in a local haberdashery.

'Ican make shoes' - Wednesday - Amanda bought Vintage Mary James and got a new shoe-making chair

This was the best Wednesday ever! To start with I bought a pair of vintage Pied A Terre Mary Janes for £3 and have been wearing them ever since! Some shoes don’t need ‘Upcycling’, they are as perfect today as the day they were made.

Wednesday afternoon, I had a rather interesting meeting with a supplier of both inner soles and glitter fabric, a strange combination of things to sell...but let’s face it, inner soles are boring and glitter fabric is sparkly! I can’t wait for the samples to arrive.

At the end of my day, the piece de resistance arrived when I received a very wonderful gift, A new seat for shoe making! I used to have the world’s most uncomfortable chair and now... I have the world’s best chair! It’s fully upholstered right down to the floor. This chair and I are going to make some serious shoe magic over the next few weeks.

'I can make shoes' - Thursday - Amands makes shoes in the studio and creates shioes using jumper sleeves.

Today, I spent the day tweaking my non-upcycled, original design collection. I sketched out new styles, scrapped some old designs and played around with some different colour combinations.

I was able to put through a big order with my shoe making supplier so I can get all the materials I need to start making the shoes for the collection.

I spent the rest of the day sourcing salvaged materials and getting some shoespiration for my collection of Jumper shoes. These are by far my favourite thing to make, wear and look at! 

I started of thinking of 1 or 2 styles, but then as always I got carried away and am now thinking of 5 or 6 styles... what can I say, people need options (and by people... I mean me!)

'i can make shoes' - Friday- Wool yarn shopping, Pom Pom making and Fringe adding! 

I started off my day by visiting the wool shop and picking up some thick yarn from which to craft zillions more pom pom’s, based on Monday’s triumphant shoe ‘upcycle’. I found a few really good YouTube tutorials, which really helped me up my pom pom making game – the result were these purple peep toe’s.

I felt on a bit of an embellishment roll, so I finished off the fur strapping on a vintage pair of black Mary Jane’s and added a bright red heel, bringing them bang up to date.

I also got a new camera! Such a treat, so naturally I spent a large part of the day taking pictures of my shoes in every different kind of mode possible – I’ll show you all the results next week!

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