Getting Experienced: The John Fluevog x Jimi Hendrix Collection
On the eve of a very special collaboration between Fluevog shoes and Jimi Hendrix, we sat down with John Fluevog and Janie Hendrix, Jimi's sister, on the unique era of the late 1960s and early 70s, what Jimi's fashion sense so unique and what we are missing in style today.
Evan Pricco: How long has this collection been in the works? And what was the genesis of you connecting on it?
John Fluevog: Well, for me it started in 1970, when I started the business. Jimi's whole vibe was like my vibe. It was like, "I wanted to be like him." He was super cool because he was completely alternative. There were the Beach Boys and then there was Jimi Hendrix. Come on!
Janie Hendrix: For me, it started in the early 1970s when I got my first pair of Fluevogs! I bought them in Vancouver, where my grandmother lived. We would go up there at least once a month. And I loved to look different than my peers. So shopping in Vancouver was fun, it had European styles. When I got the pair of shoes, I wore them out and outgrew them at the same time. And then, I lived in downtown Seattle and I was up on Second and Pine, and I just about twisted my ankle when I saw the Fluevogs in the window. And I have a huge collection as I've shared pictures with the Fluevog team. Working with the team was a dream team.
John, you have such unique designs obviously, there's no question. You're second to none when it comes to just incredible designs for shoes. But when you're going to tackle the legacy of Jimi Hendrix and the style, where do you even start?
John: Footwear has always been an important part of any rock star's ensemble. And when I started in 1970, that's the kind of people I was selling to. It was a combination of psychedelia, hipsters, of... Oh, well, rock and roll obviously. And Vancouver, at that point, was a place where a lot of draft dodgers were coming through. That was a big influence of those people. And Jimi brought psychedelia into our society, into our psyche. I just always loved his originality and how he went to a place where no one else was going. And I like to think that I, in a small way, do the same thing. I like going to places where no one else is doing. Everyone else is going left, I'll go right. You know? And I have a customer base, I think, that appreciates that. And I'm a big fan of people being themselves. And I think that that's what Jimi did. He was just himself.
Janie, do you remember seeing your brother. when he came home or you saw his style and you were like, "Wow. He looks like no one else I know." Do you have a memory of that?
Janie: The funny thing is he wanted to stay at the house, but all of his things were brought to the hotel. So he opened up his suitcase and my God, it was like a treasure trove. And he was pulling out scarves, and beautiful blouse-like-tops, and all these velvets. He was pulling out a whole bunch of clothes so that he could take home. And it wasn't just stage wear. It was his persona. It was his style. And I've shared this in the past. So my grandmother, she ended up in Vancouver because my grandparents were in vaudeville. They started in the South and they migrated up through the states, and they ended up in Washington. The depression began and there were no more jobs in vaudeville.
So when Jimi was younger, and there's 18 years difference between us, but when he was younger, my grandma had this trunk of her vaudeville clothes. And he used to go through them. So the velvets and the feathers and the big hats and the silks and all the bright colors, he used to put the clothes on and the vest. He just thought that it was cool. And you can really see her style in his style.
The collection itself, there's two shoes, a boot and there's a Tudor. And then, there's two belts, two bracelets, and a bag. Correct?
John: Janie was kind enough to open up all of her resources and all of the things that she had. We went through all his fabrics. We took cues from his fabrics. We laser cut his writing into the velvet. And I just took styles that I thought that he would wear because, as I told you that story about these guys coming into this store, I was attempting to answer to you just the feeling back then and what those guys would've worn. And obviously, Jimi never wore those shoes, but I can see him wearing them. That made sense to me. I mean, lived through era seeing those dudes, and back then they stood out. It was a very conservative time, but yet in that very conservative time, there were these people that just stood out and were part a scene.|
Janie: My mission is to keep Jimi's legacy alive and we have an archive source that we share with our licensees so they can look through it. I just loved working with the Fluevog team because when they would go through it, they were like a kid in a candy store. Oh my God. You know? "Look at this. Look at that." The brocade design was kind of reminiscent of pieces that he actually had in his apartment in London where it's that kind of Moroccan feel with the embroider. I feel like his handwriting is like art. Since I was a kid, I've tried to write like him. And I feel like his... there's something about pen to paper, you know? And that's kind of lost in this generation. People don't really hand write things anymore. So to see his handwriting on the boots, I feel like it's like a personal note that he has left for each individual that's buying it.
Again, I can't speak highly enough about the Fluevog family and team because they really embraced Jimi's style, and then they blended it with their own. So like the belt buckle is reflective of a medallion that Jimi wore, but we don't have that medallion, but we have pictures of it. And so, instead of a face thing in the middle, it's his handwritten word that said love.
That's what our world needs nowadays, it's more love. Back in this 1960s and 70s, it was all about peace, love, and happiness. And people have forgotten that, or at least this generation doesn't embrace it. It's all about themselves. How many likes can I get? How many people can follow me? You know? All of this stuff that's all self-absorbed. The collection, like the music, is more about being timeless. I feel like it was a great mesh of the two brands.
For more information about the collection, visit https://www.fluevog.com/