The Ultimate Freedom of Expression
This year’s annual Flummunity Fest debuted an unprecedented powerhouse meeting of icons who shared their love of fashion.
History has taught us that the world of fashion has no limitations on what can be created and worn. From exotic colours to unorthodox materials, anyone’s style can be discovered.
But beyond the colours, shapes and textures lies the truest form of identity. Simply put, fashion is the ultimate freedom of expression. It is a declaration that shows the world who you are. What can be more special than when a community of fashion lovers unites and shares that level of expression?
For Canadian shoe designer John Fluevog, founder of Fluevog Shoes, that’s what it’s all about.
Since 1970, Fluevog has been creating “unique soles for unique souls,” seen everywhere and worn by some of the world’s most notable figures, including Madonna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Jack White.
As Fluevog Shoes began to gain international acclaim for its bold styles, Fluevog’s creative theme always stayed constant. “The theme of seamless or funky has always stayed. Maybe they’re not for everybody, yet they are. I think they can be because they are a celebration of life and uniqueness. I hope when the wearer puts them on, it brings out something in them that maybe they didn’t know they had,” says Fluevog.
More than 50 years later, when someone is rocking a pair of Fluevogs, the shoes are recognized instantly because of their untraditional yet timeless design and quality materials. The love for the brand has grown so much that in 2018 a fan-based community known as the Flummunity was born.
“I would have never guessed in my lifetime that I would have people gathering to talk and do all things Fluevog. What started in New Orleans with a few people talking online snowballed, eventually turning into what is now called ‘the Flummunity.’ It is an absolute honour,” says Fluevog.
Flummunity Fest has become an annual event that sees the world’s most avid Fluevog fans from all over gather in one city for a weekend of exclusive collection reveals, featuring iconic guest speakers. Flummunity Fest 2023 in Toronto was a momentous occasion, marking the first time in that industry icons George Clinton and British fashion and textile designer Zandra Rhodes shared the stage with John.
American funk legend and 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Famer George Clinton made a name for himself not only through redefining the R&B genre by blending elements of soul, funk and psychedelic, but also through his wardrobe, which had to match his style of music.
Clinton grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, when the freedom to experiment with styles began to reign, and his desire to be free to do anything stylistically, whether with his music, art or fashion, is what has defined him as an artist.
“That’s the ultimate freedom, the freedom to be able to show who you are and not worry about being judged. If you show people your style and own it with a smile on your face, everyone else will pretty much accept it,” says Clinton.
Renowned for her pink hair, love of colours and affinity for fine fabrics, Zandra Rhodes, a pioneer of the British and international fashion scenes, took matters into her own hands to make a name for herself at the very beginning. Initially working as a textile designer but wanting to make dresses, she recalls struggling to sell her work because she wasn’t taken seriously.
“They would turn around and say ‘That isn’t your job.’ So, I listened to a few friends who said, ‘Go to America!’ and that’s what I did in 1969,” says Rhodes. Fifty-five years later, she has had one of the most illustrious careers in fashion, and her journey has led her to collaborate with such brands as Valentino, Topshop, MAC Cosmetics and, of course, Fluevog Shoes.
The one thing that binds these artistic pioneers together is their mantra of living their best lives by doing what they love and showing the world who they are. They understood early on that the only thing that was going to stop them was themselves.