In the 1970s, on the heels of a summer spent hitchhiking down the West Coast in the throes of social revolution, John Fluevog returned home to Vancouver to work in the shoe business. By 1980, he had his own namesake label born from the vestiges of 1960s counterculture, created to celebrate individuality. With each Victorian-inspired buckle, architectural heel, and floral jacquard fabric integrated into his designs, Fluevog was using shoes to send a message to his customers: “The way you have been made is ok, and you can walk in the boldness of knowing your uniqueness is not an accident,” he says, explaining to Refinery29 that this belief is what fuels his craft.
It’s a brand ethos that has survived decades of fashion cycles and the fleeting trends they produce completely unscuffed. While shopping habits and tastes shifted with each new era of style (oversized everything in the ’80s, punk in the ’90s, and so on), the loyal Fluevog customer has always been the person that wants to stand out in a crowd. “They were the ones that bucked the trends. They were the ones that went against the flow. They were the cool [people] that were into drugs and sex and anything, but really they were people that were trying to carve out a different life for themselves,” Fluevog says.