In just eleven years of existence, London-based shoemaker Po-Zu has gone from offering two pairs of house slippers to a full-fledged Star Wars line. It’s a Rey-esque rise, and for the eco-friendly company that has made craftsmanship and ethics a priority, it’s one that’s well-deserved.
“We are pretty excited,” says Kate Osborne, Po-Zu’s publicity lead. “It’s new boundaries and also new horizons, especially tapping into this huge community.”
The Star Wars: The Force Awakens-inspired range continues the Po-Zu tradition. All of the line’s shoes, sneakers, and boots are crafted from sustainable materials, hand-made and hand-stitched, while sacrificing nothing in looks. In all, the series is a great celebration of The Force Awakens, and also just a beautiful collection of footwear. These aren’t bland items with a character photograph slapped on; rather, they seem wholly designed, incorporating colors and style in ways that make sense. The BB-8 sneakers drill the representation of the iconic droid down to two overlapping circles, for a minimalist image that looks pleasing and is still very Star Wars. The Resistance sneakers are a particular favorite of StarWars.com, looking like something you’d see someone wearing in either SoHo or level 1313 of Coruscant.
“I think that’s the most fantastic thing that sets this line apart from what’s come before,” Osborne says. “Sven Segal is the founder and he’s the designer. He has been working in the shoe industry for over 20 years and it’s his design aesthetic.
“What’s really lovely is that it’s shoes that have been inspired by the characters of the film,” Osborne continues, “but also at the same time, you can wear them as fashion items, as every day [items], and have the subtle design and Star Wars aesthetics.”
Osborne points to the stormtrooper boot as another successful example of this balance that Po-Zu worked hard to achieve.
“It really has been widely picked up by a lot of the mainstream fashion media, as well as the Star Wars fans,” she says. “It’s just something you can wear every day and it’s smart. You can put it under a suit, just about, and get away with it. I think it’s just really simple and really unique. It’s probably one of my favorite styles, actually.”
There is another side to the range, however: designs that are truly character-inspired. Several offerings, like Rey’s and Finn’s boots, look decidedly in-universe. “There is the very screen-accurate side, which is inspired by the characters of the film. In that respect, we tried to keep as close as we can, in terms of the design aesthetic.”
Po-Zu attended Star Wars Celebration Orlando in April, taking the opportunity to listen to fan feedback and requests, many of which they’re still considering. There, Osborne says, the company was blown away by the creativity of fans’ intricate cosplay, and feel that attention to detail and craft is present in their line.
“I think shoes are a very technical product,” Osborne says. “There’s a lot that goes into them in terms of looking at the tension that happens as you move, the support you give to your feet as you are walking in them. All of our shoes have a foot mattress, which when you wear the shoe, molds to your feet. It’s amazing. You kind of bounce around in your shoes all day, and it’s like walking on a mattress. But I think the components of shoes are very interesting and it’s a very old tradition. I think it really does sort of merge very well with the Star Wars community because of that. People spend hours creating these incredible costumes. We couldn’t believe the lengths to which people created these amazing head-to-toe outfits by hand. You know, gluing stuff, stitching stuff, painting stuff. It was really incredible! I think that that somehow mirrors what we are trying to do with the range.”
And this is not the end for Po-Zu’s time in a galaxy far, far away — new footwear based on The Last Jedi is coming, including a “Rey Hi” boot, which was revealed in celebration of Force Friday II.
With the Force Awakens line arriving and more on the way, Po-Zu is grateful and excited to play in the Star Wars sandbox. “It is an amazing responsibility,” Osborne says, “and also such a pleasure to do it at the same time.”
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer and editor of the StarWars.com blog. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.