Excerpt from Sydney Street Style
It is true that shoes are a wardrobe item that you can never have enough of.
Take the former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos for example, whose couture shoe collection had amassed to 3000 when she fled the capital in 1986 during the so-called “people power revolution”. People and shoes go back a long way, to at least 15,000 years ago when people wrapped animal skins and furs around their feet to keep them warm and protected. In 1991 when German tourists found the mummified corpse of the prehistoric “Ötzi man” buried under the snow in the Italian Alps, the corpse had leather foot coverings stuffed with straw. The shoes were waterproof with bearskin soles, deer hide panels sewn with leather on top and netting made of tree bark to keep the straw that was wrapped around the foot in place. Simple but effective engineering and true to the adage that a good shoe lasts the ravages of time.
Has the shoe really changed that much though?
On the streets of Sydney, people are wearing footwear of all kinds, including gladiator sandals that hail back to the days of the Roman Colosseum and moccasins and loafers in the same leather construction as the pair found on the iceman. This brings us to the iconic Ugg boot, ugg meaning cave dweller here. Made of sheepskin with synthetic sole and dyed in various colours, the Ugg boot is a unisex shoe that was designed in Australia and worn in the outback as a utilitarian slipper. They were adopted by the surfie subculture that developed along the east coast beaches in the 1960s. Their popularity quickly spread across the surfing world, as Australian surfers wore them at surfing competitions in Hawaii and the Californian coast. In Australia, at least, the Ugg boot has been associated with “bogan” working-class subculture and the “dag”, a slang term used to describe an unfashionable person. In the late 1990s, the Ugg boot became the “must have” accessory in every person’s wardrobe as it became co-opted by mainstream fashion and was seen on many celebrities’ feet including actresses Sienna Miller and Cameron Diaz.
One pair of black brothel creepers that we spotted was graffitied with the word “sex, one way and rock ‘n’ roll” in white paint taking personalized style yet to another level. Shoes come and go in and out of fashion regardless of their make, but footwear is a modernized adaptation of past trends and styles.
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