Manitoban Julie Pedersen knows a thing or two about fashion. A graduate of a private Vancouver fashion school, model, designer and former actor, Pedersen has created her own line of distinct women’s footwear.
Returning from Vancouver, the artist wanted to buy some winter boots.
“I could not find anything that was funky and cool,” she says.
So what was a woman with fashion sense to do?
Pedersen took the initiative and with her fashion expertise she designed her own chic style of footwear, “Muckies.”
“When you are bundled up in the winter it kinda says who you are without having to say anything.”
Muckies, naturally inspired by Mukluks, take an urban twist.
“Mukluks are great for cold and dry climates (and) Muckies are designed more for our slushy, wet type weather,” she says.
Pedersen creates 90 per cent of the boot herself, going with current fashion trends.
“This year there are a whole bunch of different colours (I’m going to) introduce.”
Taking a craftsperson’s approach, each Muckie is handmade.
“I treat the outside and I hand paint the suede and make them more resistant,” she says. “The fur is layered, so it’s reinforced - it will not shed. I also use boning in the boots so they are going to stay tall on you.”
There are three different boot lengths and all are given a subtle rubber sole, “so it doesn’t take away from the design,” she says.
With a faux fur inner lining each pair is very comfortable. Incorporating a thermal layer between the boot and the sole ensures warmth and comfort so you don’t feel every stone.
Word of mouth is the best form of promotion and that’s precisely how news spread about Muckies. Additionally, Pedersen invested time and resources into her inspiration by setting up a small booth at the One of a Kind show in Toronto.
“That’s where it turned for me, that’s where it sort of launched. The first year was incredible, we sold out of merchandise on the third day of the 11-day show.”
Each of her creations reflect the style of each individual. Accepting clients on an appointment-only basis, Pedersen is then able to tailor each pair to the individual.
Most aficionados who own a pair, such as Anna Paquin (True Blood), Meaghan Waller (Canada’s Next Top Model) and Kristin Cavallari (The Hills), have indulged in more than one style.
“Muckies are a little addictive (with) so many options,” she says. “Some people have three or four pairs.”
Clientele also has the option of purchasing pre-made Muckies on the shelf.
Aside from Muckies, Pedersen also designs “spats,” which bring “new life to old heels.”
Pederson’s spats have been incredibly popular with some of today’s music stars, including Katy Perry and Britney Spears, who wore their spats at their recent Winnipeg gigs.
Always creating and always innovating, Pedersen has tapped into an element of fashion that is a uniquely Canadian product with international attention.
“Muckies are all over the world,” she says. “I have shipped to L.A., Florida, Iceland. Europe is really showing tremendous interest.”
As the snow falls in Winnipeg, she couldn’t have picked a better place.
Published in Volume 66, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 23, 2011)