As rumours have started spreading that Gideon Shoes are planning to expand outside Australia, The Style Examiner paused to look at the history and ethos of the brand, as well as some of their recent designs.
In 2007 Matt and Naomi Noffs started The Street University, a free educational, artistic and recreational centre for young people in South-West Sydney, in Australia, under the umbrella of the Ted Noffs Foundation. Two years later Matt and his brother Rupert (both employees at the foundation) came up with the idea of a shoe company whose profits would sustain it, and Gideon Shoes was born.
Their first step was to head to Asia in early 2010 to find a manufacturer but, after visiting factories filled with adults and children working in unacceptable conditions, it soon became obvious to the brothers that Gideon Shoes had to be manufactured in a sustainable and local format. As such, production of Gideon Shoes started taking place in Australia, the Noffs’s home country, under ethical, safe and monitored conditions, and from Australian materials, including cane toad hide and kangaroo leather.
Gideon Shoes is also a social enterprise of the Ted Noffs Foundation, which was founded by Theodore and Margaret Noffs in 1970 (initially as the Wayside Foundation). Today, the foundation continues the legacy of Ted Noffs by providing essential services for young people and their families who are experiencing drug and alcohol problems and related trauma.
In addition to raising funds for charitable purposes and being guided by a conscientious attitude towards footwear production, Matt and Rupert Noffs have also allowed for Gideon Shoes to develop stylish designs that have made their shoes very popular. Their models include trainers made of shiny materials and thick white soles, and ‘The Giving Shoe’, made of fair-trade organic cotton and natural rubber, whose profits go to the Ted Noffs Foundation's Street University initiative.
|The Giving Shoe|