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Radical Yes is the Melbourne shoe brand heralding a flat-shoe revolution

Images by Holly Graham at Siy Studio
Words by Christina Karras

Flat-shoe liberation.

I couldn’t wait for the first time I was properly allowed to wear high heels and the glory that would come with owning my own pair. The height I gained, the stature I assumed. I would be a real adult.

But these days I exclusively wear sneakers to the club. The sparkle and fun of heels quickly wore off after experiencing one too many nights wincing in pain when I walked to find my Uber ride home.

Similarly, Kerryn Moscicki also thinks flat shoes are more fun.

“When we tell people we only make flat shoes, they often say, ‘That’s good because that’s all I wear!'”

After working in the industry for years, Kerryn took some time away from the intensity of wholesale fashion in favour of learning how to be a yoga teacher.

During this hiatus, she dreamed of a shoe that could be the perfect hybrid casual flat, one you could wear to yoga and afterwards, leading her to design one herself. Hence, Radical Yes was born.

But since the brand launched in 2013, the concept evolved beyond being a comfortable and wearable silhouette, to a full-blown “flat-shoe philosophy”.

“The concept of ‘flat-shoe liberation’ really started to expand probably around three years ago,” Kerryn explains. “We started to embrace this idea that we’ve always been a brand about women, and we’ve always been very modern-forward and conscious about our products.”

Not restricting its designs to flat shoes alone, introducing a small heel a few years ago, she began exploring other ideas, and asking questions about what it means to wear flat shoes. On a societal level, heels have found themselves connected to ideas about what it means to look ‘dressed up’, or ‘professional’ in a traditional sense.

“I personally never wear heels,” Kerryn admits. “Even when I go to events and weddings, so it’s interesting to consider that now that we are designing for event dressing without a heel.”

Radical Yes’ prior releases have featured leather flats with a square toe, neoprene boots, and crisp sneakers, and the summer collection is set to include a range of modern sandals.

With a physical store affectionately named The Fitting Room, the showroom located in North Melbourne is a place for customers to “hasten slowly” – another one of the brand’s heartfelt messages. Operated by Kerryn and her husband Leo, her business partner, the pair know most customers on a first-name basis.

“It’s very special to us,” she says of the store. “It’s a place where our community comes together and it echoes the values about how we conduct our life and our business.”

Purpose and intention permeates much of what Radical Yes is and does, hoping to make products from a “place of usefulness”, with sustainability front and centre. After years in the wholesale industry seeing the relentless cycle of new product and subsequent waste, Kerryn designs her products with longevity in mind.

“It’s something we’ve been very conscious of. For us, we thought the most sustainable thing we can do is to make products that people will actually use and wear, and to wear them until the end of the product lifecycle. We use high-quality materials, we make in small quantities and we work closely with our makers.”

While it sounds kind of simple, the brand’s resonance suggests many other women are in the same boat as Kerryn, ready to reject the limits put upon us by wearing heels.

But beyond comfort, there’s also an altruistic message in her flat-shoe philosophy.

“I like to think of it as a little bit tongue-in-cheek, being a bit advocacy-like. We are advocating for women to be comfortable and grounded, and it’s something that I’m passionate about.”

At its crux, Kerryn’s flat-shoe philosophy is about wearing something that makes you feel and look better from a holistic standpoint.

“There’s this idea that your confidence comes from your physicality as much as it comes from your mental state,” she explains. “As a yoga teacher, flat shoes are so much better for your body, they don’t hurt your lower back, they don’t shorten your hamstrings and also energetically they keep you connected to the earth.”

radicalyes.com.au

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