Thursday, November 10, 2016 - The High Heeled Art Footwear Design School by Mark Schwartz and Nicky Avanzini offers hands-on approach to learning shoe design workshops in January and February 2017. In Parabiago, Italy, the region for today’s top shoe designers.
Mark Schwartz shoe design workshops in Italy
Mark Schwartz shoe design workshops in Italy

Hands-on approach to learning shoe design
The shoe industry today is an ever-changing business that must be followed closely when it comes to trends. But, there must be a basic core to good and classic shoe design that runs through every trend and ever-changing season, be it fall/winter or spring/summer. Knowledge of basic design skills is very important and is the spark that can ignite you into the world of shoe design. This 6-day course covers sketching and conceptualizing, pattern-making, and sample-making your design. We visit the leather houses that supply the world’s top designers, heel factories, and shoe accessory suppliers (buckles, etc.). Classes are limited to 3-5 students, so that the atmosphere remains intimate and hands-on.

The High Heeled Art Footwear Design School by Mark Schwartz and Nicky Avanzini
Mark Schwartz is an accomplished footwear designer with more than 30 years experience designing shoes for Roger Vivier, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Cleo Bottier, and Neiman Marcus. Mr. Schwartz has collaborated on design projects in the past with Balenciaga, Chanel, Gucci, and Jean Claude Jitrois. He has made shoes for Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Natasha Richardson, Tina Turner, and Lady Gaga, to name a few.

Nicky Avanzini is our school coordinator. Mr. Avanzini is the owner of Nik Service, a well-known private car service in the Milan area. Mr. Avanzini also takes care of all hotel reservations. He is our school translator, speaks English, Italian, Spanish and French. Nicky has also been the assistant to Mark Schwartz for five years, so he plays a key role in the school’s activities. He is our go-to man!

 Joining us as a special guest will be an accomplished technical designer and patternmaker whose family also owns a shoe factory in Parabiago. We will be working in his studio throughout most of the class.

Workshop details
You will be picked up at Milan Malpensa Airport by Mr. Avanzini. Arrivals are normally the day before class starts, where it’s recommended that students spend the rest of the day in their hotel resting up due to the 6-hour time difference. There will be group launches and dinners, which you have the option to attend (all hotel, meal, and airfare are separate costs from the class fee). We get a very reasonable hotel fee of around $110 per day. Final hotel rates will be announced before end of November with the hotel info. The hotel is located about five minutes from the school.

Parabiago, Italy is the region for today’s top shoe designers. The city and its factories have led the way in better shoes and design for hundreds of years. This course can be repeated and we also do private lessons with one or two students in between the week-long breaks. If that is something you would be interested in, please contact Mark Schwartz for further information.

Class hours
10 am to 7 pm, with a lunch break from 12:30 pm to 2 pm.

Dates 2017
First Class: Arrival Jan 8
, classes from Jan 9 - 14.
Second Class: Arrival Jan 29
, classes Jan 30 - Feb 4.
Third Class: Arrival Feb 19

, classes Feb 20 - 25.
The workshop dates for March, April and May will be released after the new year.

Workshop costs
Total price for the class is $2250.00 per student for 6 days of classes, Monday through Saturday.
$500.00 refundable deposit is available. We require at east 2 weeks or more notice to any cancellation. The $1750.00 balance is due 30 days before class starts.

More info at

More shoes by Mark Schwartz at the Virtual Shoe Museum.

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 'Every Girl Deserves her Cinderella Moment… 'This has been the philosophy for Irregular Choice since owner Dan Sullivan began, now he is making that dream come true. In collaboration with Disney, we are excited to be launching our truly magical Cinderella collection. This limited edition appearing in stores worldwide on the 28th of October at 12pm…
Irregular Choice unveils 'Cinderella' Collection
Irregular Choice unveils 'Cinderella' Collection

Gracefully glide with us into our beautiful fairytale kingdom full of glitter, oversize bows, and amazing embroidered embellishments.

Dreamy organza ribbons will sweep you off your feet whilst Lucite heels encapsulate dancing Cinderella figurines. Truly feel the magic as lights sparkle with your every step, with features including beloved characters and quotes from the classic Disney Cinderella movie transporting you into the enchanting tale. Fulfil your dreams with your very own glass slipper inspired heels, featuring silver glitter uppers with oversized bows and metallic high heels.

Enjoy your very own Irregular Happily Ever After.

Special 'Cinderella' styles:
'Gracious Dreamer' + 'Sparkling slipper': Light up as you walk with small flashing lights across the body of the shoe to give the effect of a glass slipper.
'Make An Entrance' + 'It Fits + Glittering Entrance': The bow lights up as you walk.
'Call me Cinders' + 'Home Before 12': Wind up Cinderella underneath the sole and watch her dance around inside the heel.

About Irregular Choice
The brand was created by Dan Sullivan in 1999 as a reason to stand out from the crowd. Back in the late 90's Dan saw that the footwear market was becoming very neutral and black, yet there was a global demand for something different and individual, something to wear with pride. Born in London, England, and growing up on the Kings Road in the 70’s during the Punk era, Dan was fortunate enough to travel the world throughout the 70's and 80's with his family. Whilst his parents developed their own irregular footwear collections, including 'Transport' and 'Chaos Creators', Dan got to visit the most amazing and inspirational locations, allowing him to soak in everything that surrounded him. He had left home by the age of 15 and opened his first shoe shop in Covent Garden at the age of 18, which soon turned into 6 stores, until at 23 he decided to close the stores so he could travel and add to his already extensive knowledge of what the rest of the world had to offer.

During his mid to late 20's Dan chose to go back to the far east to meet with factories and understand the opportunities that were being offered from that part of the world. Dan Sullivan: 'The culture, architecture and foods were big influences for my first collection in 1999, and that’s where I got the inspiration for the split toe shoe, which is still incorporated into my designs today.'

The opportunities that Dan discovered in China allowed for detailed & creative manufacturing, at an affordable price & small quantities. This gave Dan the chance to combine the resources of the far east with the experiences he had gathered spanning the most creative times, and countries, of his generation. And from this Irregular Choice was born.

Dan has stuck very determinedly to his philosophy throughout the past 16 years, which is to keep Irregular Choice as something that is not influenced by passing trends, but original and set apart from the crowd. His fearlessness translates into the design of the shoes, and an Irregular Choice shoe is not like any other you’ll find. Dan doesn’t listen to what’s happening in the fashion industry or what another brand may be doing. This is what makes Irregular Choice designs completely unique and truthful.

From embellished heels, ornate wood carvings, tiny intricate charms and lavish fabrics, to the memorable colour combinations, everybody has an Irregular Choice favourite shoe or story. Each year Dan creates over 600 different styles, and is constantly jotting down styles, photos and sketches, it’s an ever expanding creative process reaching to what is now over 10,000 different options. Irregular Choice has evolved with great strides over the past decade. The brand is now sold through hundreds of stockists around the world, and has nine of its own stores across the globe, with more in the pipeline.

Irregular Choice had several whimsical special editions, the Blythe Doll collection, wedding shoes and in 2015 there was the STAR WARS collection. And earlier this year there was the launch of the fabulous 'Alice in Wonderland' collection.

Buy your Irregular Choice Cinderella shoes here.

More shoes by Danny Sullivan at the Virtual Shoe Museum.

Saturday, October 15, 2016 - People wear feathers to make an impression. They have done so all over the world for centuries. The greatest couturiers use them, they are worn by royalty all round the world and they have given many indigenous peoples – from Papua New Guinea to North America – iconic status. Fashion lovers will delight at the feathered creations of leading couturiers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler. On display at Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, NL from October 14 2016 till March 5 2017.
A World of Feathers
A World of Feathers

Feathers are dazzling, they are distinctive and yet they also connect; they are seductive, exclusive and stylish. The museum’s most beautiful feather objects are now on display to the public for the first time.

Feather shoes by Aki Choklat
The Virtual Shoe Museum loaned a pair of feather brogues designed by Finnish designer Aki Choklat, from his spring/summer 2013 collection design. In the exhibition they are in a fantastic setting in the very good company of fabulous dresses, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Yiqing Yin, Pierre Antoine Vettorello and Fong Leng. Material of the shoes: Calf upper, dyed duck feathers, goat lining, leather sole and heel.

ArtEZ Fashion Design
In addition to the works of the aforementioned top couturiers, the next generation of fashion designers from ArtEZ in Arnhem (Fashion Design, a component of the faculty Art & Design at ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem) gave their interpretation on the feathers theme. The museum team asked the students not to use real feathers, but to mimic the effect of feathers by using shapes, materials and textures. This has resulted in a spectacular new perspective on feathers in fashion. A selection of the designs of these students are included in the exhibition.

Exhibition 'A World of Feathers

Museum Volkenkunde
October 14 2016 till March 5 2017
Location: Steenstraat 1, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10.00 - 17.00

Afrika Museum
Exhibition on show: May 11 till September 25 2017
Location: Postweg 6, 6571 CS Berg en Dal, The Netherlands.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10.00 - 17.00

More info at Museum Volkenkunde.

© Aki Choklat, photo by Ruggero Mengoni.

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - With Molinis you can look and walk unique every day. Create different looks easily to match your style and outfits. You can style your shoes with different models and colors that match the fashion season. And never slip out of your shoes again. For business women who are always on the go & fashionistas. Nominated as finalist of the Dutch Fashion Awards Milan, september 2016.
Molinis shoe accessories
Molinis shoe accessories

About Molinis
'We believe a woman can never have too many shoes!'

Transform your pumps into a whole new shoes with this Molinis. They look elegant on your feet and makes your pumps outstanding. The laces on the front gives a sexy look and it's easy to fasten them with the buckle.

The Molinis story
What if you can slide something over your high heels, which gives you an instant new pair of shoes and also make your shoes walk more comfy? This 2009 idea never let go of Dutch entrepeneur Esther Megens. After years of product development Molinis is an internationally patented product and launched it's first collection in November 2014. Molinis are made of vegan leather and are produced in Portugal. In 2015 the Molinis were showed at the L.A. and New York Fashion weeks and are worn by women who are always on the go. Molinis is made for these women. Women who are busy every day defining new goals for themselves, are independent and fearless which lead to self-made success.

Your Molinis
There is a large variety available in this collection, something suitable for everyone: graphic patterns, color combination, snake prints, laces or straps. All available in different 3 different sizes: 36/37, 38/39 and 40/41. So restyle your pumps or turn them into ankle boots. Give them a second life!

Available at and in selected fashion and shoe stores.

Also a very nice gift for shoe lovers.
Molinis gift cards

Molinis is an internationally patented and registrered product and is allied at Dutch Law Firm.

Thursday, September 01, 2016 - Looking for a challenge in crafting leather? Lisa Sorell: 'As far as I know, this is the first book written about the craft of leather inlay and overlay. I’m thrilled to be able to add a written resource to leather craft.' This book was over two years in the making, the result of more than two decades of honing her craft.
The Art or Leather Inlay and Overlay by Lisa Sorell
The Art or Leather Inlay and Overlay by Lisa Sorell

The Art or Leather Inlay and Overlay. A Guide to Technique for Top results
Although a pair of Sorrell’s custom boots are featured on the cover, Sorrell emphasized the book is about the unique craft of hand crafted underlays and overlays, an art form she says is slowly disappearing, and can be applied to shoes, apparel and accessories.In addition to crafting techniques this book covers the history of leather inlay and overlay, choosing the best leather and how to pattern and create art. It also provides an illustrated step-by-step guide to three leather projects. 'Many people are interested in learning to make boots and shoes by hand,' said Sorrell, who envisions her book as a textbook on the subject. In addition to her own work, she sometimes offers boot making classes at leather shows were she exhibits her work.

More than 470 color photos bring in-depth detail to this comprehensive look at the almost forgotten decorative art of leather inlay and overlay. Leather is an often-overlooked textile, with very little documentation on its tools and techniques, and this guide fills a crucial gap for the aspiring leatherworker. These skills have historically been passed along orally, and the book begins with a brief introduction of the cowboy boot, since thisis the discipline that’s become a repository for the art of leatherinlay and overlay. Learn what these decorative methods can bring to your work with details on the tools and machinery needed, and clear explanations of the techniques. Also covered are the history of leather inlay and overlay, choosing the best leather, how to pattern and create leather art, and basic sewingmachine maintenance. The book finishes with anillustrated, step-by-step guide to three leather projects.

About the author
Lisa Sorell is a bespoke cowboy boot maker. Sorrell’s handmade boots don’t come cheap, averaging between $5,000 and $10,000. However, she personally fits customers and works with them on designs. All of her boots are commissioned by clients, that require a personal meeting for measuring, and are built by Sorell personally in her Oklahoma studio. She works as an ambassador for the craft of cowboy boot making: speaking, demonstrating, and teaching to preserve and promote this historic craft.

More info at

Book review from the Virtual Shoe Museum
For many years I have been a great fan of Lisa Sorell's amazing, special decorated and colorful cowboy boots. I am intrigued by her craftsmanship and now there is this book in where she step for step visualizes and clearly explains her various and special techniques. I found examples I never have seen before. Its sculpting with leather. I think this is a very inspiring book for everybody who works with leather. A must have!

The Art or Leather Inlay and Overlay
Author: Lisa Sorell
Format: 8 1/2” x 11”
Features: Full color, 470 color photos of the technique
Hardcover: 176 pages
Price: $34.99 
Published by Schiffer Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-7643-5121-1
Published in June 2016

More shoes by Lisa Sorell at the Virtual Shoe Museum.

Sunday, July 24, 2016 - Ego Ballerina Wedding Shoes is sub-brand of Ego Ballerina, the conceptual collection of unique printed ballerina shoes. The designer’s unique graphic collage printed on leather is composed of memories, favourite colours and symbols. Together with a framed portrait or monogram of their owner they make an eccentric picture, like a personal poster transmitted directly to the footwear. Special moments require a unique custom-designed shoes!
Ego Ballerina Wedding Shoes
Ego Ballerina Wedding Shoes

Ego Ballerina by Ana Cvejic is a conceptual collection of unique printed ballerina shoes.
Unique graphic collage are printed on the leather, it is composed of memories, favorite colors and symbols. Together with a framed portrait of the shoe’s owner, it looks like eccentric picture, such as a personal posters transmitted directly to the shoe. Model can be flat or hight heel shoes.

If we look at the social phenomenon known as selfie, Ego Ballerina represents a new medium for your portrait and which shoe is Ego or Alter ego depends on what is your dominant side.

Pastel color palette with romantic floral prints and lace can be custom made to outfit to any bride.

Order your one of a kind, custom made wedding shoes at Idea Boutique.

More shoes by Ana Cvejic at the Virtual Shoe Museum.

Friday, June 24, 2016 - German high end sneaker brand nat-2™ presents the world’s first vegan wooden sneakers. The result looks anything but the usual eco stuff. The 100% vegan, unisex sneaker’s uppers are made from real sustainable wood, which covers up to 90% of the shoe’s surface, depending on each style.
The World’s first vegan wooden sneakers by nat-2™
The World’s first vegan wooden sneakers by nat-2™

The wood is applied to an organic cotton and vector engraved in a way that the material bends and becomes soft and flexible like a fine nappa leather. The feel is very smooth and fine, while you can smell the wood and see the tree’s natural texture.

The wood used to create the fabrics comes exclusively from ethically managed forests and with respect for the entire ecosystem. The material is FSC certified ®, which guarantees the traceability and origin of the wood.

The patented material and the final sneakers are 100% made in Italy and produced under fair conditions in a new high-tech facility. The types of wood used are ash, birch, maple, tulip tree, walnut, cherry, elm and beech.

All shoes are 100% vegan and equipped with a soft padded, anti-bacterial real cork insole.

The glue is free from animal ingredients, the outsoles are made from real rubber. nat-2™ signature reflective and/or iridescent details are applied for a better visibility for the brand's typical futuristic look.

The collection includes four different low top and high top models for women and men in various colours and wooden tones.

The sneakers will be available at the nat-2 concept store Coilex Store in Munich as well as international top-boutiques:
Abu Dhabi | S*uce
China | Beijing | I.T. Galeries Lafayette
China | Shanghai | P-Plus
Dubai | Level Shoe District
Germany | Munich | LST
Germany | Munich | Pool
Italy | Milano | La Rinascente
Italy | Milano | Rossana Orlandi
Japan | Tokyo | Opening Ceremony
Switzerland | Zurich | Bongenie Grieder

You can also order them online at

Coilex Store Munich
Theresienstraße 71, 80333 Munich, Germany
Tel +49 893244367

More shoes by Nat-2 at the Virtual Shoe Museum.

Sunday, May 29, 2016 - Do you know that your shoes are talkative and say a lot about the person wearing them? To better understand what these objects reveal, the exhibition takes you step by step to discover pairs stemming from every continent, from the 16th to the 21st century, from delicate lotuses for bound feet in China to trainers nowadays. This exhibition, in co-production with the Musée international de la Chaussure de Romans, on show at the wonderful new Musee des Confluences. From June 7 2016 till April 30 2017.
At your feet
At your feet

Whether they be sandals, boots, moccasins, slippers or something else, from here or elsewhere, from yesterday, today or the future, shoes are intimately linked with human history. It is therefore not surprising that they are so close to us, whether we are aware of it or not. They act as witnesses to various life styles, as objects of desire, and often indicate belonging to a group. Under the gaze of whoever knows how to decipher them, they reveal codes and symbols. These multiple facets thus reassure us with the idea that there is nothing anodyne in the shoes we chose to wear. At the heart of the exhibition, you will be led to ask questions about your own shoes and what they say about you. The museum invites you to leave your comments and to contribute in this way to reflexion.

Shoe performance by Xavier G-Solis
At the opening 7th of June there will be a shoe performance by Catalan artist Xavier G-Solis at 19.00.
His work specially conceived for this exhibition'L’ÂME DANS LES CHAUSSURES' a 4 x 3 m photography on paper, that sheds a contemporary light on our intimate relationship with the shoe will be part of the exhibition 'At your Feet'.

At your feet
The exhibition presents nearly a hundred pairs from museum collections, from the International Footwear Museum at Romans, loans from institutions and private collectors.

Musée des Confluences
86 Quai Perrache
69285 Lyon

From June 7 2016 till April 30 2017

More shoes Xavier G-Solis by at the Virtual Shoe Museum.

© Poster Quentin Lafont, musée des Confluences

Sunday, May 22, 2016 - On Saturday, May 28 the Fashion and Shoe Designing Academy of Fine Arts Department of Sint-Niklaas presents it's annual sensational and spectacular fashion show for the 19th time and the shoe show for the sixth time. For this presentation 't Bauhuis will be transformed into a show location.
May 28th Fashion and Shoe design show by SASK
May 28th Fashion and Shoe design show by SASK

The fashion and shoe designs of part-time education in Sint-Niklaas, Fashion Design department: led by Ellen Monstrey and assisted by Maureen Declercq and Rey Pador. And Shoe Design by Anne Poesen & Patrick Creemers has manifested itself for many years as a professional and very inspiring department looking far beyond the borders of Sint-Niklaas. What makes this program so special is that it is a part-time education program. The students combine this training with other part-time studies or with their full time or part time jobs. Motivation and enthusiasm is the driving force. For some people it means finally realizing their childhood dream. It requires huge commitment and only who is passionate enough gets to the finish line. Because the program sets its goals very, academic, high.

Focus on both fashion and shoe design on the design, structure, craft, form study , chart and study of historical and ethnic costumes. The programs of both directions are similar and personal vision and authenticity are encouraged from the first year.

The Shoe Design department was created out of passion for the craft. For shoe design there are 30 candidates. The show is the culmination of an academic year and gives students from the first year on a platform to show their work, their vision and creativity. That every year 1.200 people, not just family and insiders, come to visit this show is the best form of appreciation for this department and it's students. So make sure you will also join this dazzling, exciting, inspiring show!

SASK show Academie Sint Niklaas
date: May 28th 2016
Time: shoe design 20.00, fashion show 21.00.
Tickets: in advance 15 euro/at the door 17 euro
Location: 't Bauhuis, Slachthuisstraat 60, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

Our open days on saturday 25th and sunday 26th of June from 2 till 6 pm, location SASK Boonhemstraat 1, 9100 Sint Niklaas, Belgium.
Registration for the course starts saturday 25th. e-mail academie sint-niklaas

Previous articles about SASK and the shoe selection by students.

Sanctus by Amalia Arutyunyan, graduation collection 2015.
Photo by Ivan Scheers

Sunday, May 08, 2016 - Introducing LOPER: footwear re-invented through craft and technique by creative platform PROEF. Discover our unique glueless construction with the premiere MACALON and DERBY unisex styles. Join us in bringing this project to life and help making the industry a little more responsible. And be the FIRST to wear our unique LOPER shoes.

An initiative developed by Japanese creative platform PROEF (founder Katsuhiro Igarashi and designer Manami Saito) in collaboration with Dutch footwear designer Roderick Pieters. Sharing ideals and a passion for craft, former classmates (ArtEZ Institute of the Arts), Roderick and Manami bonded over an idea to simplify footwear production. In November 2012 Katsuhiro invited Roderick to Japan to discuss the LOPER concept. A shared vision of the project’s potential sealed the collaboration. Along the way great people joined the project, making it a team effort.

Looks good, feels good!
We present you DERBY and MACALON. Traditional leathercraft and streetwear origins combined in two contemporary unisex designs. Sleek lines and refined shapes echo the form-meets-function aesthetic. Typified by the innovative LOPER rope construction.

Your feet will love the smooth high-grade leather. The leather breathes as in nature. It is soft to touch and ages richly over time. Plus it will conform to the shape of your feet. Together with a thick cushioning EVA midsole and the durable rubber outsole we guarantee you a comfortable walk.
Fabricating beautiful shoes is great. Fabricating them responsibly is even better.

By supporting LOPER you will help making the industry a little more responsible. We've set out to make footwear production (and distribution) simpler, safer and more logical. Here's how, step by step:

Shoe factories are generally unhealthy workplaces; mainly because shoe production often involves large quantities of toxic glue. For workers in the factory it is nearly impossible not to inhale the harmfull vapors that come off the glue. Despite modern air circulation systems. Next to that, glue makes recycling of shoes nearly impossible.

So, the absense of GLUE makes production less harmfull for workers and it reduces the impact on our environment. LOPER shoes are assembled by hand using the LOPER rope construction system: instead of glue, we simply use rope to connect the upper to the sole. It eliminates the need for toxic glue during assembly and reduces workers exposure to toxic vapors.

The rope construction system includes a strong nylon rope with an integrated ‘needle’ and a purpose-engineered moulded rubber sole prepped with 44 holes, 2 start-points and an integrated stopper.

Most shoe factories enforce minimum order standards. Massive quantities of product must be sold to cover costs. Often, these standards exceed the demand. Overproduction as a result. Meaning WASTE. We want to stimulate a more sustainable, more flexible production system. Selling before making, producing on demand.
Our solution is based on a simplified production line. LOPER shoes can be assembled very fast by one or two people. Lower machine costs and minimal manpower make it more attractive to produce to order rather than producing in bulk.

Mass-produced footwear is made in the cheapest factories and shipped all over the world, bringing unnecessary environmental and economic costs. We want to increase localised production to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and support local economies.The simplicity of the LOPER shoe system makes it easy for us to set up assembling locations anywhere around the world. Making the chain from producer to you, as the end customer, more direct and logical. The first orders will be produced in Japan. With your support we will be able to set-up an assembling unit in Portugal and in the US.

When your sneakers are worn-out, normally you will throw them away. With the LOPER rope platform it will be made possible to order separate LOPER parts and replace them by yourself. Enabling you to either repair your shoes or to make new exciting combinations.

Our dream is to produce the LOPER collection. With your help it will be possible. We have set our goal on € 25.000,-. Which will cover for all costs concerning the full size range molds and lasts. Creating the LOPER sole platform. For men and women. Because, we want everybody to enjoy our LOPER shoes! Hopefully this is the start of something beautiful. With our sole designed as a platform, it’s ready to take on many different future styles. Simple. Elegant. Glueless. Production on demand. With a low carbon footprint. This is what LOPER is all about.

Share our beliefs? Like our styles? Join us in bringing the project to life! Be the FIRST to get LOPER shoes on your feet.

For press enquiries and further information please contact LOPER Shoes

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