Hello, I’m Chisato Endo, a designer. Recently, I’ve been noticing what people wear on their feet. It’s a long story on how this came to be, but it all started when I started asking why people often say that being stylish or fashionable starts from the bottom up. Even though there are other things to be mindful of such as your looks and your clothes, I’ve always found it strange that people expressly focus on the feet. Yes, they’re the farthest body parts from the head so they’re easy to forgo. So in the sense that people who are mindful of the feet are the “advanced practitioners” of fashion, feet are surely the most obvious body parts to be mindful of. But then again, wouldn’t complete blind spots such as the ears or the back do as well?

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When you think about it, there are a lot of expressions related to the feet. Things like “taking advantage of someone” (the Japanese expression for this literally means “looking at the feet) and “walking on air.” It’s been said that the Japanese expression for “taking advantage of someone” came about when innkeepers presented the lodging fee to a traveler, they would increase the fee by assessing how tired a traveler was from the amount of mud on his feet. It seems that the people of old could could tell that a person’s true nature showed in his or her feet. Conversely, you can also say that this is a goofy notion that the Japanese have – that a person’s true nature shows in his or her feet. The people of old really thought of things in an interesting way…If you’re a Japanese person who hasn’t heard of the expression “taking advantage of someone” in Japanese and you live in the present, it’ll never cross your mind to think that the true nature of the person in front of you comes out of his or her shoes, right? Even with regards to “being stylish or fashionable,” it might just happen that without you knowing it, this will come to mean that a person’s true nature or personality shows in his or her footwear.

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With all that being said, recently, I’ve come to notice people’s feet wherever I go. I think things like “This person’s shoes look new. Maybe something good happened,” or “The shoes look old but they’re clean. Maybe she’s someone who values things.” It’s quite fun – I recommend doing it. But just be careful of not being too enthusiastic in looking at the shoes of the person walking in front of you, or getting too close…

 

▼Back issues about Chisato Endo
The Apricot Tree and The Cherry Tree
Becoming Aware of Design
A new idea that was just born is like freshly cooked rice
A powerful design is something simple and complex

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