Oboyoboyoboyoboy! After weeks of waiting, these bad boys finally arrived and they’re as totally monster as I hoped they would be:
A couple of years ago I jumped on the Converse bandwagon, something I hadn’t been compelled to do until I found a sweet pair of black hi-tops decorated with a couple of symbols I could relate to. The canvas sneaker style is so ridiculously popular that it almost felt like giving in to a trend, but hey, if the shoe fits…The only thing is that while I really dig the hi-tops, these aren’t the kind of shoes I can picture with shorts or capris, which led me to thinking about the regular lo-tops. Since I’m not Imelda Marcos, however, I could really justify getting myself a pair.
Until, that is, I came across the aforementioned bad boys at a perfectly reasonable and irresistible price from an on-line goth shop: $24 excluding shipping. These are lo-top Deviants from Pleaser Inc.’s Demonia collection (a “connotation of the demonic diva that conveys Demonia’s no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners attitude”), the company’s alternative footwear line catering to non-mainstream fashions like Goth. The upper is covered by a transverse, buckled double-strap separated by a zipper, giving the shoe an edgier look than the usual canvas sneaker. The sole has a large screaming skull and, at the hell, a smaller winged skull. They reminded my wife of the 80s, to which I say, sure, why not? Forget that Flashdance nonsense and harkens back to the time when punk kicked ass and goth was goth. These Deviants, along with similar hardware-enhanced shoes from the Demonia line, add rock ‘n roll and, I’d like to think, a bit of kick-ass to an ensemble. Construction-wise, they’re as sturdy as anything from Converse. And while they’re made in China (big surprise), some of Pleaser’s other products are made here in the US. Bottom line: I love ‘em.
But who, you may ask, is Pleaser Inc? I hadn’t heard of them either until recently, although I did come across some of the company’s individual lines at various goth outlets. As you might expect, Pleaser Inc. is footwear company dedicated to the unconventional. They started in 1993 as an importer/distributor and then expanded with the design and manufacture of six lines of footwear (Pleaser, Demonia, Bordello, Funtasma, Devious, and Lush) catering to more or less outside-the-mainstream fashion tastes. Shoes span the spectrum of street, party, classy, costume, burlesque, and bondage/fetish wear: sneakers, boots, flats, heels, sandals. You can get everything from creepers and elegant high heels to 7” ballerina-style fetish boots and stripper platforms– and then some. The designs are often edgy takes on familiar styles; some of their boots, courtesy of strategic cut-outs, remind me of Martin Margiela designs.
So there you have it. There are always the biggie brands out there for your “classic” fashion footwear. But for something darker, different, edgier, Pleaser Inc. strikes me as a wicked good place to start. Unsurprisingly, the 5 of the 6 lines are geared towards women, although they do have categories for cross-dressing and/or transgendered individuals. The men's section (in Demonia) gets lumped with unisex, but for industrial boots, goths, sneaks, and the like, the selection is good enough that us guys shouldn't feel too excluded.