Art Deco High Tops
InspirationYes, this is my take on a medieval/renaissance Nike Air Jordan specifically the Retro 1 High Tops. I just got into them recently and was curious about how a fantasy setting would take to them. Also, the image chosen is of my own personal Jordan's, my first ever pair, the Air Jordan Retro 1 High Top - Pollen. Which I love dearly and intend on getting more, slowly because they are ridiculously expensive. The images in the article itself were very inspiring as well and I think these would be very much how fantasy Air Jordans would look.
These shoes were first made in the capital of Casarei, Meritosoa about ten years ago when a group of local cobblers, who often gathered to talk about the business and share their passion, began to experiment with their shoe design. Beginning as a simple group activity the cobblers would do for fun while chatting and drinking, the shoemakers would compete with each other to see who could come up with the most outlandish shoe. However, one day, one of them stumbled upon the design for what would become known as the Art Deco High Tops. A high-ankled shoe primarily made of soft leather for the body and hard leather for the sole and backing, adorned with a variety of other materials for added flair. The cobblers were entranced by the beauty of the shoe, it was simple, yet it had endless possibilities from a design point. The group quickly decided to construct a few pairs each and sell them in their shops to see how they performed, each would also wear a personal pair around town to see if they would garner attention. Needless to say, the shoes were an instant draw with the pairs made for each shop selling quickly, and customers asking about the cobbler's high tops whenever they passed by. Sensing a success the cobblers gathered once more for their weekly meeting to discuss further how to approach these newfound hits. They all agreed that the shoes should be kept affordable and that clients could even give input on the designs they were looking for. These shoes represented personal expression and style, and for the cobblers, this was paramount and that it shouldn't just be about the potential sales. A short time later, and the neighbourhoods in which the cobblers worked, lower and middle-class areas, were filled with people wearing various unique and colourful Art Deco High Tops. The demand was so steep that many of the cobblers began selling blank, neutral, or naturally coloured high tops that the buyer could paint or customize themselves. As well, many community groups formed that involved discussions of certain hot pairs, sharing and showing off personal pairs, and group classes on how to construct, design, and customize shoes. An entire culture formed around the Art Deco High Tops within a matter of months.
Several years passed with the Art Deco Hight Tops staying popular and maintaining a large community in the low to middle-class areas of Meritosoa. However, in the past year, the noble and wealthy elite have begun to notice the trend and have taken it for themselves. Creating more elaborate and incredibly expensive versions of Art Deco High Tops. A new group of elite collectors and celebrity cobblers and shoemakers have emerged because of this. The trend has now reached the aristocracy and the nobility of Casarei which has skyrocketed the popularity, and cost, of high tops. This introduction to the wealthy has seen the emergence of highly decorated shoes that are considered haute couture art pieces in their own right. The more unique and stylized the shoes become, the more desirable it becomes to others, and thus reflects the wearer's affluence and status in society.
Growing Popularity and The Elite
"A ten gold shoe should be worn in a mud puddle. When your pair goes a thousan, then you might receive an invitation to the ball," - A popular phrase amongst elite collectorsAnd now that the elite has coopted Art Deco High Tops for themselves and have thrust the trend from common roots into the throes of nobility and obnoxious elitism and poshness. This has created all sorts of issues with supply and demand, with the wealthy beginning to buy up stock and drive up costs which have had the unfortunate effect of gatekeeping the less wealthy from being able to purchase these shoes and even the materials they need to make them. The trend has long since spread to other cities in Casarei, with the most prominent shoemakers and collectors still residing in Meritosoa. However, due to its popularity with the wealthy, who have the ability to travel abroad more often, the popularity of Art Deco High Tops is beginning to spread to other nations. Primarily nearby Heldrin which shares the only traversable land border with Casarei.
Art Deco High Tops are much different than your typical footwear, especially along the western coast where the most common shoe is either a heavy travel boot or a lightweight soft leather shoe with little to no sole, both of which are constructed for function and not fashion. In comparison, the high tops are made to not only be comfortable during long stretches of wear but are also designed with style and fashion at the forefront. Because of this, they are constructed in a completely different form than most other common footwear. Each is made by hand by a specialist cobbler, or by a growing number of amateur collectors and shoemaking hobbyists. Each pair can take several days or even weeks to complete depending on the complexity of the design and the rarity of the material. The cobbler uses a long bench or table to work on, and a variety of tools including a hammer, an awl, a shoe stand, and cutters. Other more specialized work can be done using a heel shave, a channeler, various wooden shoe forms, pliers, and more. Regarding materials, the main body is typically made from a combination of soft leather for detail and points of flexibility, hard and/or cured leather for the sole and for rigidity and form, thread to stitch it together, and sometimes a form of adhesive to glue the sole to the body of the shoe or to layer certain designs. Certain cobblers have even become celebrities in their own right, working with a variety of high-end clients on custom footwear. These cobblers are the pinnacle of fashion and style, many of which began their careers as local shop owners working day to day for copper pieces. However, there is still a large selection of cobblers that wish this trend never began as they feel like it has taken the original soul and purpose of the shoes and gatekept it behind nobility and wealth. Whereas in the past these shoes were for everyone, and it was done to express oneself in a physical form and not just to show off and flaunt your wealth.
Construction and Industry
Famous Pairs of High Tops
This pair of high tops were created by one of the most preeminent Art Deco Cobblers in Casarei, named Raquel Rolfie, the younger sister of famed fashion icon and clothier couture Lorne Rolfie. These shoes use a custom blend of Deepglow Thread and thread that was woven from the crushed fibres of specially cultivated emerald green Gemstone Butterflies. The leather used in the shoes is said to have come from a Green Dragon that a group of adventures were hired to slay for the express purpose of making these shoes. In fact, the sourcing of the material, especially the dragon hide has come under scrutiny from the public. The issue lies not in the exuberant and exotic materials cost but in the fact that adventurers were hired to seek out a beast that as far as anyone knows hadn't bothered anyone and slew it just to make a pair of shoes. Raquel Rolfie has not commented on the reports but instead plans on making numerous additional pairs of special editions shoes out of the remaining dragonhide.
These shoes, as such, are rumoured to give the wearer the ability to cloak themselves in darkness and to jump instantly from shadow to shadow. While a beautiful pair of shoes, they have not often been seen in great detail and most reports of it are fragmented as the wearer and the shoes themselves become nearly invisible when worn at nighttime. Which is their current owner's favourite time to be about. The story of these shoes goes that the cobbler who made them somehow snatched a piece of the thief's cloak, some say it was the thief's shadow itself when the thief themselves burst through the cobbler's shop during a late-night escape from the law. The cobbler snatched up his shears and sliced at the thief thinking he was an assailant breaking into his shop. The thief bounded away, seemingly unharmed, but left behind a dark black material. The cobbler, after calming down some, decided to finish his current pair of high tops are retire for the evening. Looking down he saw what he believed to be scrap material that had fallen from his table. He picked up the material and decided to use it to finish off the threading on the high tops he was working on. When finished his work, it is said that the high tops suddenly took on their midnight black form. The cobbler rubbing his eyes decided that he was just seeing things and decided it was late enough, and he was just rattled from the experience earlier in the night. The entire next day went by and the cobbler hadn't even thought of the pair. Once again, night fell and the cobbler continued to work on pairs of shoes he needed to finish as was usual for him. Until he was visited once again by the thief who had rushed through his shop the night before. The thief seeing the shoes requested that the pair be sold to them. They would not harm the shopkeep and would pay a handsome price. Whether by fear of the thief or just because he wanted to make some money, the cobbler agreed and sold the shoes to the thief, who promptly left, and then never seen by the cobbler again. It has never been confirmed whether or not the above story is accurate, or even true, nobody even knows who the cobbler is. Though many have claimed to be the makers of this pair of shoes. The Midnight Sneaks in the meantime are still seen occasionally darting from one shadow to the next. Typically around the same time as a brazen theft has occurred.
Art Deco High Tops are customized footwear that has become popular in Casarei in recent years, specifically in the capital of Meritosoa. These shoes can vary in form, though commonly they look like high ankled flat-footed shoes. What sets these shoes apart is that they are further customized by being made out of distinctly partnered materials and/or painted to look like a painting or some form of art deco piece. While the shoes have existed for many years, they have recently turned into a trend for the elite to flaunt their wealth and status.
Clothing / Accessory
0.90 - 1.0 lbs
Varies from size to size - 22.5 cm to 32 cm Heel to Toe
Varies - 1GP to 1'000GP+
Some extremely rare, and often extremely expensive, pairs of Art Deco Footwear are enchanted by mages or have Deepglow Thread sewn into the details of the shoe. Many of these magical enhancements are for presentation purposes, making the shoes glow, sparkle, cast projections around them or even make various sounds or music when the wearer walks. Other effects are more practical and actually give the wearer incredible abilities. Effects that have been cast upon these shoes are things like the ability to jump insane heights and land safely, the ability to kick with incredible force, or the ability to float a short distance off of the ground. Many of these shoes allegedly make the wearer more charismatic, but it is debatable if this is due to a magic effect or if it's just because the shoes are just so darn cool looking.
Haha I rarely think about putting modern things in my world, but this is executed so well! Love it!
Thanks! For some reason, I included a few modern concepts for this year's WorldEmber. It was quite fun figuring out how these sorts of things would work in a fantasy setting haha.