Amy Slosky is Italian shoemaking craftsmanship right here on the West Coast. Her made-to-order and limited ready-to-wear collections are crafted by hand from start to finish. Every pair of shoes is created with the knowledge that the right pair of shoes can not only elevate a look but also how the wearer feels.
Amy was privileged to study under shoemaking master Angelo Imperatrice for four years in Florence, Italy. With over 60 years of shoemaking experience, his expertise was vital to forming her into the artisan she is today. Before becoming a shoemaker, Amy worked in marketing, experience which she said has served her well in building her business. She holds her work to high standards and is a patient and dedicated perfectionist.
One of her biggest challenges has been not in her product but in the concerns people have had with the slower nature of making shoes from scratch. Each pair takes almost 40 hours to create, but in the end, you have a pair of shoes unique to you.
“In North America, we’ve only ever known how to shop on convenience and price, it’s no wonder ‘handmade’ is a foreign concept to so many.”
A few years ago, Amy had the opportunity to design six shoe models as part of a limited collection for a label in Florence. This, she says, is one of her proudest moments. The collection debuted at MICAM, the leading footwear fair in Italy. From this opportunity, her models went to stores as far as Tokyo and Hong Kong. To Amy, even to be a part of MICAM was an honour.
“The recognition and interest from buyers was the catalyst that kick-started the development of my brand.”
Besides her mentor, Amy is inspired by creators like Roger Vivier for his awe-inspiring creativity and Ferragamo for his historical inspiration as a true innovator. She also admits to an obsession with Gucci, for their “lux campy style and gender-bending vibes.”
Though Amy has proven her skills as a shoemaker, MICAM being a testament to that, her ambitions do not stop there. Twice a year, beautifully dressed men and women flock to take part in Pitti Uomo. This event is the most sought out of the men’s fashion weeks, and as a lover of men’s fashion Amy’s goal is to take part, “If you’re invited to show at Pitti Uomo, it doesn’t get much better.” While in Florence, when not studying, she would sit for hours on Via Tornabuoni, a fashionable street in the downtown core watching the eventgoers.
To those who, as she did, dream of creating beautiful handmade shoes, she suggests patience. With only a handful of shoemakers remaining from whom to learn the craft, finding a local mentor can be difficult.
“It takes years of practice before you can call yourself a master craftsman,” she said, “It comes down to how badly you want it.”
All images (except for credited) by Helen Siwak.
- Mona Butler is a Vancouver-based freelance writer.
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