Though it’s true that some fashion collaborations stumble where others thrive, when two brands with differing perspectives unite and challenge one another’s creativity, astounding results often abound. This winter marks the release of the second collaboration between artisan shoemaker Andrew McDonald and esteemed Australian menswear label Song For The Mute (SFTM).
After a successful collaboration in 2012, which led to the creation of a boot using sun-dried linen dyed in persimmon juice and charcoal, McDonald and SFTM decided to push themselves further with a second creation: a shoe that has since been dubbed the ‘Sneakerboot’. Created from fine calf leather, featuring an all leather upper, leather heel and stacked leather wedge, it’s a sturdy product that won’t fall apart after one season.
Melvin Tanaya of SFTM explained: “It’s all about the quality of the materials…he [McDonald] is very particular with everything from materials to construction and then looking at how the shoe can transform the wearer.” Although the SFTM team started out with the intention of making a purebred sneaker, Tanaya explained how McDonald helped develop the idea of a hybrid, drawing upon the sturdiness of a boot and the comfort of a sneaker and constructed using the same meticulous methods as a handmade leather shoe.
The team debated the merits of several different styles and four samples were made, each differing in aesthetics, features and fastenings. After much development, the personality of each designer is clear to the eye. The shoes show the markings of a successful collaboration, in which neither label dominates the design.
Possessing the design sensibility of the SFTM crew and a unique artisanal touch that only a bespoke shoemaker could deliver, the Sneakerboot really is a rare piece. The end product is seemingly better than the sum of its parts, and while McDonald admits that is one of the most challenging shoes he has ever made, he hails it as one of the most exciting.
In case you were deliberating a pair, you might find comfort in knowing that Seal has pre-ordered his pairs in yellow, purple and classic black.