There really is a John Fluevog. He gets that a lot—fans of his funky footwear assuming John Fluevog is just a made-up persona for the brand. Blame his grandfather, who immigrated from Norway to a farm someplace in the Midwest and found himself surrounded by too many other men named Neilsen. So he changed his name to Fluevog.
Fluevog, the man behind the shoe brand, is suave and only a little aloof in the most charming I-don’t-care-about-trends sort of way. He waited until early spring—when, allegedly, it warms up—to visit his new Minneapolis store, which opened in the dead of winter at the corner of Hennepin and Lagoon in Uptown. It’s a bit smaller than he envisioned—though he designed the space from afar—but he’s pleased with the way it references the old Uptown Theatre building with which it shares space. He wore simple black ankle boots, because they’re the only black shoes he owns.
So about the shoes. Fluevog doesn’t care about trends. He likes curves. He likes prints. He likes royal flourishes. He likes quirky. He didn’t necessarily expect that one of his newest styles, the Postmodern Slushy—an updated spin of his ’80s pointy toe that looks a bit like what a witch would wear to the beach—would actually sell, but what do you know, it’s proving quite popular. “This is very fashion forward,” he told me.
Well, call me backwards—I told Fluevog I personally preferred his brogue-inspired Arabella ballet flats. Frankly, I like the style in plain pink or navy, too: they look polished, but quite comfortable, with arch support and a rubber sole. Still, I wondered aloud: what makes these simple flats cost $249? Fluevog chuckled, and told me they are crafted by hand. “It’s a bit like a luxury car,” said Fluevog, who tinkers with cars when he’s not designing shoes. “It’s not necessarily expected to last longer because it’s more expensive, but it is so much nicer to drive.”