Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Helen's Lipsinka 120mm in Moonlight strass.

Talk about a transformation. Moonlight is one of the most underrated Swarovski crystals currently in production, at least in my opinion. I remember back when I first started offering this service to my clients, a customer was considering using Moonlight instead of clear Crystal on here shoes. Having only a color chart for reference, I suggested she just stick with Crystal; my reasoning being that they looked exactly the same(and that the former was cheaper). Boy, was I wrong. To the naked eye, Moonlight appears to be just that: a clear stone. But upon further examination, it's graced with reflections of blue and the softest hints of beige. I'd venture to classify it as a unisex stone; one a sneaker or a heel it'd look fabulous. On Helen's Lipsinka, I really wanted to highlight the undertones of blue so I painted the leather cerulean. A custom blend, of course. The results are just jaw-dropping. I mean, this is a completely differently shoe. Dare I say it - even with that pique heel - more feminine and softer than before. And oh so wearable. I'd pair it with a sky blue Herve Leger in a heartbeat.

Strassing: $800 / Painting: $35 / Shipping: $35

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bianca's Lady Peep 150mm in Aurum strass.

I'm still in a mental debate as to whether I like Aurum. A gold shoe is flashy, eye-catching, luxe-looking; the color in general suggests wealth. However, used on the wrong shoe, it looks downright tacky. Silhouette is everything when it comes to strassing. I've cringed at the end result on some of my commissions, in fact. Not because the work was haphazard, more due to the fact that the shoe was just not right for crystals. Alas, I need to pay my bills so there's an aesthetic compromise that happens on occasion. Luckily that wasn't the case with Bianca's Lady Peep. I'm a firm believer that this style shoe can make any stone look premier, even some of the duller, opal-hued Swarovski crystals. What do you guys think? Did I nail it? The great thing about Aurum is that, while dramtic, it maintains a level of versatility many stones don't. A gold shoe can be worn with rouge, cobalt, nude, champagne, plum, indigo, fuchsia, coral, you name it. A red shoe, though, is limited to outfits on the primary color wheel. At least in my opinion. Anyway, one issue I ran into with this commission was the texture of the surface. It's called baseball material, according to the brand. And it makes strassing a bit strenuous because it's uneven, therefore some stones laid flat while others were slightly askew. Nothing noticeable, though. But knowing me, I notice anything and everything. This is one order I'm particularly proud of. Why? Solely on the basis of aesthetic, I just love the way they came out. I appreciate the attention they received when posted on my Instagram and Facebook. Basically, I liked that people loved them.

Strassing: $1,800 / Painting: $55 / Shipping: $50

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 wrap-up.

Woah, how is it already a new year? Did these past twelve months not fly by or what? For me, they flew at lightning speed, because every month presented me with another challenge, another formative experience that shaped how I interpreted and later reacted to each moment thereafter. I moved twice, got fired, made new friends, lost new friends, made even greater friends, reconnected with old ones, got dumped, had my heart broken twice, contemplated suicide, lost a pet, been so broke it hurt, tried a new business venture, shopped and sported women's clothing, cried hard, and laughed harder. Evidently, I've been all over the place. I have no problem referring to myself as a mess. Come on guys, I was. I still am, but in better clothing. All these things happened for a reason, though. 

Last year on December 31st, I remember talking to my dad on the phone, watching the Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper New Year's Eve celebration on TV. At that point I was residing in Los Angeles for the very first time - in La Canada - having just moved there on the 8th. I had tears in my eyes, not in response to what others saw as a new beginning in 2013, rather due to the fact that here I was, in a new city, in a new house, all alone, with no prospects of any sort knocking on my door. No close family, no friends, no steady income, no man, just my dog, Cali. What was I doing? My heart hurt, to be honest. Fast-forward to now, I'm typing this entry in my apartment located in West Hollywood; a changed man I am. I remind people, in 2013, never had I been so low, nor felt so high. 

I'm sure you all witnessed the trainwreck that was Joey back in June, when I separated from my ex. It was the most difficult period of my life, yet I came out of it a completely changed man. Never before had I been that affected, that emotionally traumatized by a single person. And ironically enough it later sparked something in me, a feeling of empowerment. Liberation, even. I was sitting with my friends at Urth Caffe two weeks ago on Melrose, having breakfast. Across the street there was a construction wall installed and on it read: Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction. This quote resonated with me so much in regards to the man I was whilst reading it. I was wearing a women's top, cut-off shorts, a chunky scarf, and Ked's hightops; so not the Joey from even six months ago. But from the heartache this man was born. I had to be torn down to be built up. I had to be rejected to feel accepted; accepted not by my peers, but by myself. 

I went through an era of self-doubt in high school, progressing to self-loathing before coming out of the closet at 20. Once that door flung open, my life got better. My confidence increased. There was still a weight that remained, though, one that consistently held me back from experiencing life. Roughly a year ago did I loosen my grip on that weight, and only about six months ago did I toss that excess baggage away. I started dressing to feel sexy; deep v-necks, short-shorts, crystal accents. And when I moved back to LA in October, I really didn't hold back. Trips to the store involved more time spent in the women's department than the men's. Short-shorts were paired with high-tops, scarves, and oversized sweaters. In an array of colors, too. I soon came to realize that styling myself incited a wave of sensuality never had I experienced before. Girlfriends would tell me, "You dress better than me!" My own mom even observed, "You know when you see two patterns that you wouldn't think go together, but they actually work with one another; you pull it off." Coming from my her, who in the past has rolled her eyes at my fashion get-ups, I was sincerely flattered. But Alas, this is Los Angeles; i.e. my new found style doesn't necessarily fit into what most people deem as attractive. But you know what? I don't let it affect me too much. In my eyes confidence is the most attractive trait. I had an acquaintance warn me, People aren't going to embrace your style because it doesn't fit into the mold of what L.A. typically is, at which point you can cave in and dress to assimilate, or march to the beat of your own drum and not care one bit. The latter is what I chose, needless to say. 

This is all part of the journey I'm taking at the moment, where judgmental eyes watch you wherever you go. I can choose to let the stares bother me or welcome the intrigue and view it as people's desire to be that comfortable in THEIR own skin. That's truly the root of it all; people who are unhappy tend to pass the most judgment. I love myself. I love who I am, what I believe in, the things I value, the people I hold near to my heart. I appreciate all I have to offer. Regardless if whether it reads as self-indulgent, how people interpret me is their own prerogative. I'm sure you're reading this thinking, Damn this guy is full of himself. And believe me, I think that too occasionally. Upon stepping back I remind myself that it's not a matter of being conceited, it's the confidence and self-assurance that people find uncomfortable. Boy is this most evident in the gay dating world, which for the most part is nonexistent. I joke, of course, my point being that this arena of relationships is pathetically superficial. Guys don't know how to interpret me. I'm this 5'7 guy walking down Santa Monica Blvd. with my hairy legs and cut-off, 4" inseamed short-shorts. I look fly, so I pay no attention to the stares. I tell them about Redo My Shoe, they're less than impressed. I'm funny, they're less than thrilled. Apparently the only thing they're interested in is my face, which I must admit is pretty cute. But, it's not what I want to be noticed for, most of the time.

This business turns a lot of guys off, ironically. I mean, aren't all gay men fabulous? Clearly not. Many of the posers - the ones that perpetuate the facade of "machismo" but secretly dance to Britney Spears and dress like women on Halloween - don't know what to do when presented with the fact that I'm an artist, a loosely-proclaimed crystal connoisseur. It's like feminine by association. Because I work with heels, I MUST be wearing them too. Side note: I STILL cannot believe that people, upon viewing my Instagram, don't understand what I do for a living. It's not that difficult to comprehend! But Instagram is another topic I'll blog about later. One word: morons. Anyway, like I was explaining, there's a perceived correlation between my level of femininity based on what I do. As much as I'd love to wear heels on a daily basis, I don't. They're too uncomfortable for my wide feet. Plus, I like the way I dress as is. Although, I will say if I ever stumble upon a Julian Hakes shoe display, I'm slipping my sneaker off and trying that bad boy on. But I digress, again! Bottom line, gay men don't get me. When I like them, the attraction is seldom mutual. The way I see it, most of them are exhausting so much energy trying to fit in that they don't even know what they're attracted to. Knowing what you like comes with age, and struggle. I tell you, nothing ingrains your interests in you like living paycheck to paycheck, where you're forced to rely on your own personality for entertainment. And nothing will solidify your values like going at it - life, that is - on your own while seemingly everyone around you is basking in the splendor of life. 

I've reached a maturity level at which I don't let rejection manifest itself as destructively as before. I mean, it hurts to not be appreciated for you as a person, but there's nothing I can do but be the best person I can be. They're the ones missing out. I'm a catch and a half, I'm fabulous, I'm self-deprecating, I'm funny, I'm talented, I can cook; what's not to like? Where is this post going? I don't know, I'm rambling. It feels good to write, though. I forgot how much I enjoy it, because while I'm not the most eloquent writer, I do think I'm relatively engaging with my reader. The gist of this post is a 2013 wrap-up. But you guys know me; when have I ever been swift about blogging? I've been intermittent, but never apathetic. I've actually had people write little blurbs about me on their blogs, and frankly, to pull a Ja'mie King, "I don't wanna be a bitch but you guys are really boring." Not everyone, though! Just a select few that have totally breezed over and watered down what I do to the point where I think, Why did you even write this? I appreciate good writing, so that factors into my critique. Seriously, though, let me channel my thoughts into a concise post. Or at least the remainder of this one. 

In 2013, I tried three new business ventures: headbands, bowties, and cellphone cases. The headbands I presumed would be a hit, because who doesn't like a little sparkle in their hair, especially when it's supplied by me? Well, they flopped, like bad. But I tried. Honey I tried to peddle these like the world was ending! Lesson learned! Plus, I realize headbands aren't necessarily my market. Slightly too juvenile a product, based on my previous portfolio. Bowties I love. And my followers loved them, too. This is a venture I'm going to pursue, not solely for financial gain, but for my own wardrobe. Men's accessories are limited to shoes, socks, scarves, bowties, ties, and belts. Throw a hat in there every now and then, but the aforementioned are the primary contenders. I don't wear ties, most belts come in leather(which I don't wear), socks I'm intrigued by, shoes we all know how I feel about, and bowties; well, they're just so god damn fun to wear when crystallized. Seeing as I can knock one out in a day if I really try, I can have a sparkling bowtie in every color by January's end. And lastly, cellphone cases. This category is all-encompassing to me, because a case is no different from a wallet or a clutch. They're all the same medium, just varying degrees of space. I think the best way to market this sector of Redo My Shoe is to strass as many cases and clutches for myself and wear them out wherever I go. Don't mind me, just popping into Whole Foods to buy kale with my strassed clutch. "I love your wallet." "Thank you, I made it." I'm already envisioning the exchange. I live for these moments. Don't take everything I write at facevalue; I'm just having fun given the circumstances I'm in. I'm adding a little sparkle to my otherwise dull life, pun intended. All this being said, how I come across to people is not my problem. I'm doing me the best I can do. The challenge is finding those who accept me for my eccentricities, or those that can inspire me to be better. There are plenty of people I've met whose lives I've been jealous of, but it's their life, not mine. 

2014 is not the year for sensationalizing all my dreams. Surely I won't strike fame that easily. I appreciate the struggle, the hustle, the grind, the drag through the mud people go through to inevitably achieve greatness. At this point, I'm a conditioned optimist. I've trained myself to see the glass half full. Maintaining that level isn't the goal, it's filling that glass up to the point where it overflows. I strongly feel Redo My Shoe has seen its glory. No longer can I rely on it for my sole source of income. I mean, it's just not realistic. I'm simply not busy enough, nor am I as passionate as I used to be. And to be honest, I want to be around people. Fashion PR may be my calling. I'm going to look into that. Cooking is my true passion, but fashion is a close second. I revert to something my dad said recently, "It's not about the tasks at hand, it's about the time given to complete those tasks." He is so right; I'm all for setting goals, but prioritizing them within a specified timeframe makes them more realistic. Otherwise, where's the incentive? Who's to say I won't fall flat on my ass this year? No one. I'm in control of what happens to me. It's my responsibility as a young adult to take risks and see what happens. And rest assured, I will keep you updated along the way. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Lacey's Lady Lynch 120mm in Jet Hematite strass.

Seriously, where have I been? It's been nine weeks since my last confession. Holy hell, how did that happen? Slacking, you'd naturally assume, as my posts have been few and far between as of late. I assure you, though, that's not the case. Vacation? I wish. In fact, I had to postpone a trip to New York City earlier this month and reassess my circumstances. Needless to say, I was bummed. But I digress. Hustling to pay rent? Now, that's more fitting. "It's difficult to make money as an artist these days," my mom has said to me on more than one occasion. And boy do I know how that feels; it's really, truly, mind-numbingly stressful. Redo My Shoe's volume has seen a drastic decline from the years prior, not necessarily indicative of strass being a "trend", rather people finding cheaper alternatives to what they perceive as simply, "crystals on shoes". My customers have become clients, and those clients are now clientele. They come back to me not only for my excellent excellent craftsmanship, but for the simple fact that I care about the end product even more so than them. I've found that as the frequency of commissions increases, as does the trust level. Some clients give me free reign on the end result, others are eager to hear my suggestions. Alas, the look is mutually praised. In Lacey's case, she wanted something neutral. Neutral enough, but not underwhelming. I believe Jet Hematite was her idea, but I was in full support nonetheless. The chunky glitter, to be candid, was a pain in the f***king ass to remove. Post sanding, I had glitter remnants flying around my house. And still do, mind you. But, it was all for the love of the challenge. With transformations like this - the shoe's versatility has completely graduated - trying to see beyond the fact that people are partial towards a deal than they are quality, I maintain the mentality that what I do isn't fluff; it's art people! Strassing is an art form. Placing stones one by one is monotonous. It requires patience, dedication, the willpower to not rummage the fridge while working. The latter is the most difficult! It's a skill, though. Skilled people should be compensated for their efforts, right? Pertaining to my new followers or those of you plain ol' looky-loos, it's easy to make the conclusion that I just "bedazzle" shoes for a living. I mean, in that context what's the big deal? Anyone is capable in that regard. While I can't slight you for making a judgment, I can elaborate on it. Yes, I do embellish shoes with crystals, but there's a method to it. Much like I don't know the first thing about cutting hair, many people can't strass. Everyone excels at something, so why belittle it? My work is delicate, intricate, and extremely tedious. Ask my amazingly talented friend Kellie from Crystal Ninja; she's far more experienced than I but is still met with challenges on a daily basis. Not every commission may be our best work, but we still devote a lot of time and energy into giving our clients exactly what they want. The way I see it, we're creating a fantasy; perpetuating a lifestyle where glamor is factored into your daily routine. Crystal shoes? Sparkling clutches? Swarovski iPhone cases? What?! Most people don't wear this because they deem it, "not their style," or, "too flashy." But some of us live for this drama. We thrive on the attention our wardrobe receives, because ultimately, it's something we assemble on our own; something we have control over. And when someone acknowledges our style for the positive, it makes us feel good about ourselves. I myself have been influenced by my clients. For the longest time, I would create these glimmering pairs, envision how they'd be worn, ship them back, and reside back to my mundane wardrobe. Up until about a year ago did I finally start incorporating strass into my wardrobe in the form of bowties, shoes, and clutches. Well, the clutch is in progress. The point being that I allowed my love of beauty and color to manifest itself into the easiest and most evident form of self-expression: fashion. I'm finally able to grasp that feeling my clients get when they wear their strassed shoes. It's a powerful one; sensual, albeit liberating. Not to suggest Lacey's Lady Lynch didn't have that effect before, but trust when I say, upon sliding your foot into a pair of strassed shoes, clasping an embellished bowtie around your collar, or pulling out your crystallized phone, your mood will change. Confidence will exude, your self-assurance will increase. No pun intended, it's your opportunity to shine. Funny how the right outfit can do that to you.

Strassing: $1,100 / Shipping: $40 / Painting: $35

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stephanie's Miu Miu Frames in Tri-Color Strass.

 Strassing a pair of prescription frames is out of my repertoire. Although, I'm learning that as long as I maintain a consistent look, anything can be strassed. With Redo My Shoe, you will always receive a pattern that's incomparably organic-looking. I've now had three years to perfect my craft, and I feel these Miu Miu are indicative of my skill. I wanted to achieve a look that was fluid, almost as if crystals were sprouting from the frame. I used a combination of Amethyst, Smoked Topaz, and Greige, all colors that compliment each other beautiful. As a woman with a darker complexion, Stephanie wanted to lessen the severity of the ivory as she felt the contrast would be somewhat overwhelming. With the frame's caramel base, naturally she opted for a brown stone. I had many Smoked Topaz crystals left over from Alice's Miu Miu two and a half years ago(remember those?), so I was thrilled to use them on these. I also wanted the end result to look retail so I utilized larger stones as well. Miu Miu is a brand known for their whimsical and sometimes avant garde accessories, and I think I created something that looks on classic, fashion-forward, and somewhat edgy. What you'll find with many crystal-embellished designer glasses is that from far away the placement will appear whimsical, but up close the execution is quite technical and even deceptive at times. By deceptive I mean the frames will be interspersed with hollowed-out circles that are painted silver to coincide with the neighboring crystals, which in turn warrant a hefty pricetag. But that's just a handful of the ones I've seen. After this project, I'd definitely like to take on more similar commissions and really have fun with this medium. I feel I've only scratched the surface of what can be done with glasses. Just imagine how outlandish we can go on a cat-eye style?! I'm all in!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Michelle's iPhone4 Cases in Heliotrope and Ombre Fade Strass.

Upon contacting me, Michelle knew for sure she wanted Heliotrope on one of her cases. As for the other one, she suggested an ombre fade from purple to pink. I agreed, having never executed a fade before. The perfectionist that I am, I was nervous to try my hand at this type of pattern. My main concern being that the fade wouldn't look fluid. As such, it took me awhile to complete the second case. I started by placing one size, then filled in the rest from there. Surprisingly, using 16ss and 20ss aided in this process because I was better able to tie in certain colors with a concentrated hue. On the faded case I used a combination of Amethyst, Purple Velvet, Heliotrope, Ruby, Fuchsia, Rose, Vitrail Light, and Violet. I think using a mixture of at least five colors is where you should start when working with an ombre design, as you need similar colors to make the fade look more natural. Keep in mind both these cases were a textured ivory, which I sanded and painted. I recently got the iPhone 5C, and after having completed these two without question I will be assembling multiple cases for myself.

Strassing: $250

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bianca's Carlota 160mm in Silver Night Strass.

Bianca and I went back and forth on which stone to use on her Carlota. She wanted Jet, which is a matte black stone. It has a subtle sparkle, which is the perfect choice for those of you that want shine but not blatant brilliance. I recommended using Purple Velvet, which is a deep, romantic grape. I'm actually surprised no one has commissioned it yet. Anyway, we ended up going with Silver Night, per my recommendation. This stone is a dark gray with faint reflections of blue. Contrary to what the pictures portray, it's actually quite reflective in person. I feel we achieved a look that's eye-popping, albeit still somewhat neutral. My followers had a field day over this commission, so I'd say it was a success.

Strassing: $1,500 - Shipping: $50 - Painting: $45

Bianca's Daffodile 160mm in Crystal Dorado Strass.

Luckily I finished these before moving to L.A. In fact, they somewhat subsidized my relocation. Question is, why has it taken me so long to assemble their post? Well, I've been distracted. Moving back to Los Angeles has been on my brain since I came back down San Diego in June. Now that I'm here again, I've been slacking with my Redo My Shoe responsibilities. Alas, my rent is high and I need to hustle. On Bianca's Daffodile, I had it easy because the base was close enough to the paint color that three or four coats weren't be needed. She chose Crystal Dorado Swarovski crystals for their wearability and versatility. I couldn't be happier with how they came out, especially in the microstrass pattern I'm now using.

Strassing: $2,500 - Painting: $65 - Shipping: $50

Friday, September 6, 2013

Andy's bowtie in Dark Indigo strass.

In an attempt to reacher a broader audience - both financially and taste-wise - bowties are one of the many ventures I'm pursuing at the moment. The idea came to frutiion about three weeks ago, when I wore a black satin H&M bowtie to an event I was working with my friend. I absolutely loved the style it added to my otherwise casual outfit. So naturally I thought, You have all these extra crystals, so why not use them?! And I did, crystallizing a vintage bowtie I picked up from an estate sale in gold Aurum crystals. The result was stunning, and my followers loved the concept. For the first time in months, I became giddy about my job. I mean, this is something both men and women can wear. At an affordable pricepoint, too. In addition, it's a product I can pump out in half a day's time, making it accesible for me to wear and my clients to commission on a short notice. Plus, I only use one size stone which makes the ordering process so much more efficient. The bowtie below was ordered for $135 and used Dark Indigo Swarovski crystals. I loved the look of this one so much that I decided I need one for myself. If you're interested in commissioning your very own, know that all bowties are purchased from H&M and will be strassed with either 9ss or 12ss Swarovski 2028/2058 or Preciosa VIVA12 rhinestones. A $135 bowtie will use neutral colors like Sapphire, Siam, Crystal, etcetra. A $145 piece will utilize the AB stones and more expensive Effects crystals like Vitrail Medium and Volcano. And a $155 will be be strassed with 24K gold-plated Aurum stones, which shine like crazy. I wore mine out last weekend and definitely elicited second glances from people walking down the street, but that's the point right?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bingle's Fastissima 120mm in Jet Nut strass.

These have been a pet project of mine, collecting dust for almost two years until one day I decided to just go for it. I painted them blue and began strassing the pair with Preciosa Jet AB crystals. And like most of my personal projects, I became bored with the idea. As such, I ripped the crystals off and brainstormed a plan B. I was in the process of strassing two pairs of Pigalle 120 at the time - one in Silver Night and the other in Crystal Dorado, both having been painted that bronze-y milk chocolate tone. I had extra paint, so I went ahead and painted these Fastissima having no clue what stone I'd use on them. Well, I had purchased a bunch of Jet Nut awhile back to use on my own sneakers, but again I never got around to working with them. So those too were collecting the proverbial dust in a jar somewhere. When I'm struck with inspiration, I go for it. I'm impulsive that way. Luckily, my spontaneity paid off. Jet Nut worked beautifully on this particular style and transformed a rather edgy-looking bootie into a more wearable shoe. Well, 'wearable' is used loosely.

Strassing: $1,600/Painting: $55/Shipping: $50