As if we were in a fairy tale, or an old time vintage tale, our tiny Cinderella toes yearn for the magic of sweetly sophisticated shoes. Marssi brings our dreams to life with these offbeat handcrafted shoes; drawing us into a tale that’s somewhat quirky and definitely vintage. Flourishing in a plastic world Marssi’s pieces are adeptly created using a craft that for some has been long forgotten. Without a doubt Marssi are the finest hand made shoes we’ve ever laid our eyes upon; Marssi oozes individuality and style.
Photographer // Andrea Jankovic
Model // Ashleigh Dwyer
Clothing // Atomic Martini Vintage
Shoes // Marssi
Where does your passion for shoe making stem from?
My passion for shoe making stemmed from a trip to Vietnam in 2008 where I discovered a small community of bespoke shoemakers. At the time, the idea of people hand making shoes really blew me away as I had (shamefully) never really considered how footwear was made or where it came from. Engaging with the local makers and designing footwear for the first time was such an enjoyable activity that it definitely planted the seed for where I am today.
Shoe making is a skill not everyone possesses; did you attend uni to gain the techniques you needed?
I was studying at uni but definitely not shoe design, shoe making or anything creative for that matter! I was studying Urban Development majoring in Property Economics, a degree so far removed from what I am doing today. Studying and working within that industry made me realise how much I wanted to do something totally different, something on a smaller scale that was more personal. With that intention, I was very fortunate to find a bespoke shoe making course based out of a great little studio in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. From the moment I started the course in 2012, I put all I had into it so as to make up for what I felt was lost time. It was an incredibly steep and speedy learning curve prior to starting Marssi but I’m so glad I did it that way. It just goes to show what can be achieved with a bit of determination!
Dedicating an excruciating 20 hours to execute each pair of shoes is something we find to be a tediously lengthy amount of time; how do you cope with the amount of work that goes into it? Is it something you enjoy?
Haha yes making shoes is a very lengthy process! Thankfully it’s a very visual task allowing my ears to be free for entertainment purposes. I spend my day listening to loads of talks so that I can learn about all the interesting ideas floating around or hear about all the amazing things people are doing in this world. Also, this provides me with more than just shoes as my topic of conversation at the end of the day! Then if I am in a more light-hearted mood, I will put on Seinfeld or a film so that I can listen to the dialogue. However, the rule is that any film must been something I have already seen as a new one might be far too distracting! Making all the orders myself means that efficiency is key.
As the designer and the crafter of Marssi you’ve given the brand that personalized touch; how do you feel about mass production? Is this a possibility you yearn for in future or are you happy to put your heart and soul into each piece?
I have been toying with the idea of outsourcing manufacturing for an upcoming side project of Marssi. As a brand, Marssi is built around the Derby style of shoe and the fact that it is handmade. This is really the backbone of the label and how I want it to be identified. However, I enjoy designing and really want to get some new styles out there. I believe the best way introduce a new range would be to outsource manufacturing but on a very small scale only. I love how personal Marssi is so I don’t want to step away from that too much.
We’re aware that Marssi is created using an array of vintage fabrics; where are you favourite places to source materials?
My favourite places to source fabrics for Marssi are op-shops for sure! It’s like going on a little treasure hunt and you never know what’s gem’s you’ll stumble across!
How would you spend your perfect day?
Well first and foremost it would be spent with my partner who is great company! As we live at the beach, we would probably go surfing and/or swimming for most of the day. We would then head back to our home for food which would be followed by him making music from his little studio which is next to my little studio. I love taking this opportunity to spend time sketching up new designs or flicking through fashion magazines whilst listening to what he creates. The afternoon would comprise of some friends popping in whereby we laze around on the deck catching up as the sun sets. The evening would kick off with a hilarious french film accompanied by delicious chocolate. And finally, somewhere in this perfect day I would get a massage and win the lotto!
If you could envision a type of girl/boy that is Marssi down to her very core what type of person would they be? Lets imagine them to be the cutest Marssi couple!
A typical marssi girl would have a happy disposition and be very thoughtful. She would have that quiet confidence that shines through when she walks into a room. Her style would be effortless and dictated by what looks good on her body rather than what current trends have on offer. She would like the outdoors as much as the indoors and would be diverse with her interests and hobbies.
A typical Marssi boy would be quite a cool fellow… He would be quite laid back with a cheeky sense of humour. Like the Marssi girl, he would have effortless style and great taste. I imagine that he would most likely be that guy that is friends with everyone – fun, approachable and welcoming. He wouldn’t be swayed by his peers but yet know what he likes and stands true to that. And lastly, he would be quite smitten by his Marssi girl!
Together the Marssi couple would be very pleasant and spend their time getting up to interesting activities. They would be keen to partake in each other’s preferred interests whilst happy to enjoy tasks on their own. They would compliment each other’s personal style and bring new elements to each other’s life. They would also love to hit the d-floor as Marssi shoes are very good for that! They would boogy down only to ‘good’ music and be happy to take a break when the music isn’t to their taste. They don’t do forced dancing just because a song is a ‘classic’ – this is key.
What can you reveal to us about Marssi’s future?
As revealed in one of the earlier questions, I am working on a new range of styles for Marssi. I’m not entirely sure how I will include the new range in the structure of Marssi given its strong focus on the derby style. I want to keep the current range separate as it is the foundation and identity of the brand. With that in mind, perhaps dividing up the two ranges would be good, something like “Marssi Classics” being the handcrafted derby and “Marssi X” as alternative styles. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!