First year fashion students' creations are on display at the Bata Shoe Museum

Photo: Keri Schram

Funky footwear on display at the Bata Shoe Museum

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By Jodi Goulart

Silver wire, broken mirrors, tin cans and feathers are just some of the materials used by first year fashion students to construct their fancy footwear. These boots weren’t made for walking. But they were made to inspire, innovate and tell a story.

At a posh reception and awards ceremony at the Bata Shoe Museum last Thursday, the students were honoured for their creations.

“I think some of these students are particularly gifted,” said Sonja Bata, chairperson of the Bata Shoe Museum. “The shoes are full of vitality and brilliant in concept.”

Groups of students submitted their shoes and design philosophy in November for the First Steps collection. The first-place creation, called Copper Strong, was shaped with silver wire spray-painted a copper colour and adorned with blue beads.

The creators, Julia Che, Britta Gardiner, and Abby Wareham thought of September 11 when they started working on their design philosophy. They incorporated their philosophy of “strength + unity = harmony” into the shoe.

“[The shoe] represents strength that everyone is looking for now,” says Gardiner. “It has an industrial aspect because you can see through it. So it’s not really what it seems.”

The pop-art creation called The Campbell’s Boot was also inspired by the events of September 11. The boot, created by Esther Parry, Marla Guzzo and Linda Policaro reflects post-war behaviour.

“We were inspired by the idea of people coming home to family and bonding together,” says Parry. The boot, plastered with Campbell’s soup labels, appears to be a walking lunch with its soup can heel and soup bowl and fimo noodles sticking out of the top.

“We thought of women at home having to prepare quick meals for their kids,” says Guzzo. The students collected empty soup cans on their floor in Pitman Hall and they also bought $10 worth of soup. “Which I’m still eating,” says Parry with a groan.

The first year students are thrilled with the recognition and learning experience. “We learned how to take life and put it into a design,” says Parry.

All 52 shoes will be exhibited at the museum in rotating order until April 9. Many of the shoes on display in the outdoor window are admired by pedestrians who walk by.

“People will pause and look at them and smile,” says Rosmarie Gadzovski, the marketing and public relations manager at the museum. “Because they’re so whimsical and imaginative.”

Many of the students are not sure what to do with their creations when they get them back. Guzzo suggests that maybe they’ll saw their boot into pieces for each group member. But Parry has a different idea. “I want to wear it,” she says with a laugh.

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