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A Fashionable Summer ~ Joe Famolare

Discussion in 'A Fashionable Summer 2005 (Asst. Designers)' started by Patentleathershoes, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Okay...now to the real meat?

    What do I look for? what is worth finding? what is worth obtaining for resale, collecting, whatever.

    Any of the vintage shoes are worth having. Of course, wearable and of course as usually, size 7 and above is more desirable as far as ladies shoes, but really, if they are in excellent condition, even the small sizes are well worth it. You can stll find many examples of the shoes in excellent to mint condition for the simple fact is we are talking about 30 years ago at the oldest with some of these shoes, that they haven't experienced 50 years of improper storage yet, and they will have held up better anyways than other "comfort" shoes like the Birkenstock. With that cork like footbed Birkenstocks tend to develop that very prominent dark foot impression of the wearer and are very difficult to consider for posterity as they really mold to that individuals foot.

    They were also not inexpensive at the time so if you bought them you probably took care of your shoes, or had the cash to not have to wear them into the absolute ground before you replaced them.

    As far as modern shoes, they also have a strong following. Regular retail prices range between $60-130 range, so very comparitively priced to compete with Birkenstock, and other similar counterparts. Of course, Famolare still makes loafers and fuller clogs that some of what Birkenstock offers, but the sandals are competitively priced with the more widely well known Birkenstock.
  2. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Okay, I'm convinced - I need a pair of these for my 70s collection! What style do you consider to be Famalore's "signature" shoe?
  3. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    You had to ask me a stumper, didn't you?? :)

    The answer depends on what you are collecting for, and everyone might say a different thing. I would be curious as to what Jonathan would say when he reads this later on.

    If your intention is quintessentially what was worn on a daily basis, versus rarity, etc, I would go with the Get There loafer for several reasons. The Smithsonian has it on display, it represented Famolare shoes first being very familiar with the public, and the big advertising/promotional blitz that made a name for Famolare. Without the Get There, there wouldn't have been all the others.

    I would say the loafer over the sandal version because they are going to get harder to find in mint/excellent condition more quickly than the sandals and from my looking around they are slightly harder to find as is. Also the loafer would have been worn daily versus only certain seasons so examples with no wear and tear would be harder to find than the sandal now and as time goes on.

    For me, and my personal preferences the one I would personally buy not as a 70s collector but because it is different is the Be-Hi because it is so different. It is not likely to ever be mistook for something else. It is not as pivotally important for the history of the company, or fashion historically as the Get There but it sure is super cool.

  4. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    I am packing it in for the night, but will be back tomorrow morning for any additional questions, thoughts, commentary.

    Thanks for reading everyone!
  5. Chris.... as you were packing it in...I was just getting online for the evening! Great reading and wonderful info. (I'm highly motivated to pull the other workshops in archive and read through!!) Your efforts on this are much appreciated!
  6. bug12oz

    bug12oz Registered Guest

    Where did he get the names for the shoes like the "Be-Hi"?
  7. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Chris, you mentioned that the Famolares were not inexpensive. Correct! This poor 1970s college student and beginning teacher could not afford them. I always thought they were cool, too.
  8. Wonderful workshop Chris!
    I'm not really a 'shoe person' either and it has been very interesting learning about Joe.

    Warhol! Hmmm. I don't get the cookie connection. Am I dense or what?
  9. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Great workshop! You have information I didn't have! I certainly didn't know about the Capezio Jazz Oxford being of his design.
    As for which one to collect... I would go for the 1973 molded clog, since he received a COTY award for it, and a Get There because it was so popular and made his name. Apparently the Hi There didn't sell well -- probalby because by the time he introduced it in the late 70s the heavy sole was dyring. But then again, failures are sometimes desirable to collect as well because they are rarer. I wouldn't bother with any of this newer items since he sold his name to US SHoe in 1987 (probably represented by the change in script on his logo, but you said 1989, I have 1987 when he sold out -- not sure which date is correct) Once somebody sells out and loses control of their company the original vision of their product, its strengths and weaknesses, get watered down and the product loses its uniqueness. Everything becomes mediocre and safe, and marketed. His own work will always be the more desirable product.
  10. Hey, Chris, this is wonderful reading and so informative. Thanks so much for the workshop!

    Think I am going to find me a pair of those vintage Famolare's, too.
  11. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Apparently he acquired his own name back in the 1990s to produce a line of shoes made in India for Pepsi... so perhaps he does own his own name again...
  12. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Where did he get the names for the shoes like the "Be-Hi"?

    This may sound silly but because they were High shoes, and "high" had a different connotation back then...."Hi" was more family friendly.

    Warhol! Hmmm. I don't get the cookie connection. Am I dense or what?

    I just remember when he died when they auctioned off part of his cookie jar collection. I just couldn't believe at the time someone could have had so many

    I certainly didn't know about the Capezio Jazz Oxford being of his design.

    All of the character shoes in the whole show he designed, but most of them were more character specific...like Rita Moreno's shoes. The Jazz Oxford was a style that could be utilized over and over again and wasn't just for one character.

    About the licensing, I got the info from an obscure business paper, but will look it up again. As far as I understand how the company is set up now, based on conversations with customer service agents at Famolare, he no longer designs the shoes, but it is now held under his umbrella company, Bicycle, Inc. that also owns the farm and the Famolare shoes. So he owns his name, but the making/designing of the shoes is a little more farmed out.

    Interestingly enough though, there are still a few styles that do use the Get There sole that you can buy today. The shoes look different, but that part of the design is still used.

    I still think Famolares are good shoes as far as the wearability aspect. If you are looking for a good walking shoe not to save for posterity, you will definitely get a better product than a lot of other things out there.

    They are not really worth "collecting" but there is a demand for them on the secondary market, just like Birkenstocks.
  13. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Apparently the Hi There didn't sell well -- probalby because by the time he introduced it in the late 70s the heavy sole was dyring.

    Don't underestimate the Hi There from a wearable vintage standpoint. The same gals buying the 70s wedge sandals, buying the vintage Candies, etc, are buying them. So it might not have been the rage at the time, but it is something looked for now.

    Also, Jonathan, thank you for all your input and comments. I really appreciate them.

    I have never seen the original molded clog anywhere so maybe its just rare. Maybe i will have to go to a museum to see it!
  14. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    BTW, I did want to ask you something, Jonathan.

    I had photos of the "Wooden Things" shoe that Jamie graciously (bug12oz) so graciously allowed me to use. I couldn't figure out exactly where to place those in time or any other sort of collectibility. There was just no literature about them anywhere. The straps criss cross all the way up the calf, and stop just below the knee. I do have a pic of them on her, but my computer was acting up, so will post later.

    Have you seen those before?
  15. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I have never seen the 'wooden things' before. I would think they are from the 1970s but they might also be something he came up with in recent years... I don't know. I have never seen them or read anything about them before.

    Regarding the Hi There, I am sure they are selling strongly now, but it was its original sales that were apparently not good. Whether the original sales figures were really poor, or just not up to projected sales figures, I don't know. Its the problem with corporate America setting unrealistic growth margins and projected sales. A year when a company still makes profit is seen as a bad year if it doesn't meet its projections...

    You said the 'Get There' sole was still being produced. Apparently there was a huge legal battle by Famalore against infringers of his copyright to the Get There sole in 1980 (which is a bit late, considering the Get There sole wouldn't have been desperatly out of fashion by 1980 -- NOBODY was wearing platforms in the early 80s -- they were seen as ugly and old fashioned) but Famalore apparently lost the suit, so I guess he didn't patent them correctly or left a loophole (he probably copyrighted the name and process, not the design...) I wonder if the ones being produced now are made by other companies?
  16. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    PS: I didn't know about the molded clog... I thought he received the COTY for the Get THere shoe, but apparently it was released in 1975, so it couldn't have been! They look a lot like garden clogs but those have flat soles... I don't even remember them from the 70s!
  17. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    The picture I had was actually a polyurethane clog that really caught on in Japan that has been produced for awhile. I don't know what the exact original looked like but was imagining that there are only so many ways you can do a clog??. There are many sources that say the clog won the award, but you would think it would be shown somewhere if it was so celebrated???

    The shoes that Famolare is selling now - i think just one or two styles - state that they "are on the anatomic get there sole" (like a certain SUV is made on a certain pickup truck chassis, it reminds me of). To me they look like regular rounded toe men's dress shoes on a bigger sole.

    Oh, and on the licensing date. I know he retired in 1989, so perhaps you are correct and he licensed out in 87. (?)

    One last bit of trivia...before Joe Famolare retired he managed to get shoes to show up in the future :) on Star Trek. Hmm...maybe this was closer to the original clog?? i dunno.
  18. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    I was very remiss in thanking everyone for listening.

    Thank you everyone for your comments, questions, etc. It made the process a lot easier.

    Stay tuned everyone for Tuesday when Lizzie presents "Swirl". It is going to be very exciting and you won't want to miss it. Lizzie has done some extra special field research as well (i won't tell..its a surprise).

    So we will see everyone Tuesday!

  19. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Better late than never:

    <img src=http://members.sparedollar.com/fuzzylizzie/wsfam1.jpg>
    <img src=http://members.sparedollar.com/fuzzylizzie/wsfam2.jpg>

    I'm researching the nostalgia fad of the 70s, and found this ad in the April 74 Seventeen. Has the clogs!
  20. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Lizzie, you're my hero!! :)

    Those are cool. Very cartoony looking in a way.
    The girl wearing them has the same hairstyle that I did in college!(fastforward 18-20 years after this ad, of course, and then again that style wasn't too hard to achieve as long as your hair would grow, but the whole platform shoe 70s thing was having a big comeback at that time anyhow).

    Do you mind if I use that picture?

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