Get to know a Fluevogger: Siân Echard
As part of the exhibition “50 Years of Sole: A History of Fluevog: Honouring a Vancouver Icon,” presented by The David Lam Management Research Library and Canaccord Learning Commons, Rare Books and Special Collections, and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC Library, we are delighted to share profiles of Fluevogers at UBC, and some snapshots into their shoe collections.
Siân Echard is a Professor in the English Department at the University of British Columbia. She offers undergraduate and graduate courses in Middle English literature, the Arthurian tradition, medievalism, and book history. She has received a UBC Killam Research Prize (1998), a UBC Killam Teaching Prize (2001), and was named a Distinguished University Scholar in 2004.
When did you get your first pair of Fluevogs? What were they?
It was a long time ago – black “serve and be served” lace-up pumps – they have stacked heels and metal hooks for the laces. The series is called the Teacup Series, I think. I still have them.
Any interesting stories behind your Fluevogs?
My favourite story is about my two pairs (that’s where the story comes in) of Pearl Harts. I was going to a conference in China, and had been advised that conservative dress was best, so I was looking for a pair of plain black heels. I went to the Granville store, and there was a very nice pair of Pearl Harts in solid black. There was ALSO a pair in black with cream contrasting trim. I dithered, but the salesperson said to me, sternly, “I will remind you, you said you needed a pair of plain black shoes.” So, I bought the plain black ones, and took them home, and they were lovely, and they were just right for the upcoming conference, but I also couldn’t stop talking about the others. My husband finally said, “You should go back and buy them as well.” The next day, I was back in the Granville store, and went straight to the display model of the black and cream pair – and my face fell, because they were a size 9 (I’m a 6.5, and that’s what had been on display the previous day). The same sales guy saw me, disappeared into the back, and came out with the black and cream, in my size. He said, “I figured you’d be back, and I didn’t want there to be tears.”
What do Fluevogs mean to you?
For me they’re the perfect shoe – a way to make an ordinary outfit just a bit unusual, the kind of shoe that is memorable, in a good way. I often find myself in conversation with strangers when I wear a pair – people will stop me on the street to compliment the shoes, or ask where I got them. I like that they’re from Vancouver – the local angle is very appealing.
How do you feel when you wear your Fluevogs?
Can you tell us how many pairs you own?
I think I just bought pair number 20 – silver Mission Katie lace-up wedge boots. Both my (now adult) children have several pairs too – I got them hooked early!
Photos courtesy of Siân Echard