Dyeing to find out…

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Oh man, another pun! Headlines are too much fun.
Lets move on from the political rants that have filled our pages lately and get back to what matters… Shoes! Craft! Fashion!

In what may turn out to be an “every cloud has a silver lining” moment, I recently spoke to the staff at both Lefflers and NSW Leather about the possibility of choosing my own coloured leathers, rather than just having to pick through the ‘misc’ selections that they have in their shoemaking sections. Both places gave me the old “it’ll cost you too much, we just order in bits and pieces” answer, as they – probably rightly – think that the shoemaking industry is pretty much dead around here. Dead, but not Buried (cue pre-recorded laughter)…

Not being one to EVER take no for an answer when it comes to a technical challenge, I drove home rethinking my plans – no use designing shoes in full colour if I can only get brown, brown and light brown in reliable quantities – and decided I’d get proper crafty and research dyeing techniques.

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Seeing as leather is pretty hardy, a natural fibre and available in white, I was sure it could be coloured with minimal stress.
After some obligatory screw ups (ie. cooking a batch by overheating it and turning it all into something resembling bacon, dyeing my fingers pink)  I have started to get some success!
The suede takes a looooong time to get any decent saturation, early tests were still white in the middle (see above), but eventually it becomes an awesome rich colour all the way through.

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white suede + dye    |    beige lining + dye    |    white sheep hide + dye

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beige lining + turquoise dye

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I only have a few hides in white or beige, so the other pieces are all non-glossy, but definitely came back to their original shine with a quick post-colouring buff.

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Next up is to look in to either dyeing some nice glossy kid skins and see how they react, and also to test some lacquer / wax / coatings to see how glossy I can get them.
I’m still planning on using off the shelf hides for plenty of shoes, but the designer in me isn’t satisfied with being limited to what I can get when i’ll be competing with all the colours available to even the cheapest non-bespoke brands.

So, I’m not going to divulge much more about what i’m using, and how i’m doing it, but if you’re really keen to find out send me an email when I’m done experimenting and we can talk.

On a more business-y note, Dani and I went to the Buffet Streetwear forums on the weekend and filled pages with info on how to start a shop, how to start a brand and how not to go broke in the process.
Next up is the Refinery fashion forecasting forum and then we get to work on a proper plan (and talk to the bank.. eek).

… and finally, congratulations to Tom and Jess, the best looking newlyweds in the whole damn town!
Their wedding was the most low key, relaxed and best-food-having wedding I’ve ever been to.
The fact that the waiting staff thought I was part of the (non existent) bridal party and treated me like a king didn’t hurt either.

Off to play some drums now, gotta fit as much in to each day as I can… carpe dium I think it is?

Listening to : Wiley – Wot do you call it? …make it in a studio, not in a garage. haha. classic beats.

Special Tom + Jess honeymoon tribute : Blackout Crew – Put A Donk On It

Golden Oldies

So many possible puns to make here… Golden Days, Golllllden Years (bop bop bop)… Old Gold?
I’ll stop there.

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Finally, a proper update on the life and times of the Dead and Buried crew! 2010 has officially begun!

On the news side of things, we have a new honorary member of the clan, Kate Rogers has now taken residency in our studio space, and will soon be joining us for many dusty glue fumed hours of cordwaining as she attempts to retreat from the world of graphic design one day at a time. She’s ingrained pretty deep where she works, so we don’t expect to see her too often for a start, but it’s a start, and that’s all that matters. Welcome Rogers!

Dani has finally found her rhythm and is madly scribbling down new ideas for her next range, and what might end up being a semi-range of new things that she wants to get out immediately. Seems our trip to NYC paid off (as if we needed justification for it!) as she found a whole lot of inspiration in the Met’s Egyptian artifact exhibition, so keep an eye out for Dani M’ed snakes, crowns, eyeballs, dudes walking sideways… you know the deal.
She is also participating in a few Craft Vic things coming up soon, but I’ll let her spill the beans on those later.

What about the shoes I hear you asking? What’s with all the jabbering about gold and old people?

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Here’s what i’m talking about… my gift-to-myself Golden Oxfords that I rocked at my 30th birthday. Bling!

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I was heading down the blue suede shoes track until I remembered the Gold leather I had on the shelf, and thought “why go half way, go all out!”

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So I started again and after more hurdles than I would have liked – the leather was Cow, not Sheep or Kid, so it was soooper thick, a few sewing wobbles, issues with my first attempt at dying the soles – they came together and luckily for me were so bright and extravagant that no one noticed the screw ups, they were too dazzled to focus for any length of time.

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I am also happy to announce that they were really quite comfortable, seems the addition of cork and suede to the sole makes for more cushioning than your off-the-shelf shoes I’ve worn in the past.

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I’m hoping to make something a little more sedate for a pair of weddings I have coming up, so these ones will sit in waiting until I find another occasion for them.
(ps. finding an outfit to wear to a pub, on a hot day, with gold shoes, is almost impossible. I went with black, black and black, and I realise I sound like a girl when I talk ‘outfits’. Sigh.)

Next up to show you is my first attempt at a higher than 1″ heel, based on some new lasts I got from Bruce at Shoe Lasts Australia.
Bruce is a legend, and someone you’ll definitely end up talking to for an hour or more if you start making your own shoes.

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Excuse the god-awful colour of my “test run” leather (and its Blundstone look) and dont stare too long at the goofy handmade stacked leather wedge, but you get the idea yeah?

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If you’re not an imaginative type, you’re in luck! I’m a multimedia nerd! I can do the work for you!
Below are some photoshopped ideas of what I’m getting at.
Maybe I’ll scan in some of my sketches so you can see where I’m headed with my first designs.

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It seems there isn’t a fashion blog in the world who hasn’t done an RIP McQueen post, so we’ll skip it, but I will note that I was genuinely saddened when I heard the news, much like old Heathy Ledger and Kurt Cobain, seems I’ve become more fashion aware than I ever thought I would be (considering I grew up spending my weekends at the Thunderdome and riding a bmx). You’ll be missed Mr McQ.

We’re off to to the Buffet Tradeshow next weekend to learn from the greats about fashion retailing, so we’ll be one (major) step closer the Dead and Buried 2010 retail experience! woooo!

Anyhoot, that’s a lot of typing, I’m off to bash out some Zeppelin tunes on my sneaky silent electronic drums.

Listening to : Die Antwoord tear the electro world a new one. Hoax or not, they are genius.

MONARCH! tomorrow night at Ding Dong! wooo! i’ll be there, will you?

Rock Lobster

…is a great song (hey Paulius?)

said friend insists on hassling the dj (no matter where we are) to play rock lobster.  its a kinda joke now, but when they play it we all go nuts in honour of his efforts.

anyway, I  stopped in at Alice Euphemia the other day and they had this amazing window display by Romance Was Born.

funny story – one day a girl came into Alice (when i still worked there) and asked if we had any ‘sunshine is love’.  we soon realised she meant ‘romance was born’.  so now Steve and i call it ‘sunshine is love’.
Also a good name for something…we might steal it from the sweet lass that made it up accidentally.

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