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YOU Autumn/Winter 2014
Handmade footwear from Milan mixes high-quality materials and diverse stylistic influences
by Hans Aschim
on 03 June 2013
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We first met with Milan's Your Own Universe (YOU) creators after the launch of their well-recieved Spring/Summer 2013 Nomad collection. We loved their unique use of varied materials, textures and stylistic influences. Their upcoming Autumn/Winter 2014 line is no different, think Bedouin herding garb meets American lumberjack boots in Northern Italy. YOU sent us a preview of their upcoming line and we were impressed with the unique materials, styling and quality.

The Zoomorph collection is inspired by European folklore—in which humans turn into animals. The collection reinterprets and re-contextualizes basic elements of pre-industrial themes into a modern context. YOU's designs are striking statement pieces made to stand out. Bold tribal patterns pop alongside rough leather, while modern recycled rubber soles keep you walking through the day and into the night. We previewed two of YOU's higher cut styles from their upcoming collection, the High Boot and the Running Boot.

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The High Boot is the most traditional shape in the YOU line, blending work-boot styling with elements of traditional mountaineering footwear. The 12-eyelet design hits well above the ankle, providing the support and sturdy feel we crave in the colder months. The High Book is available in eight colorways, all utilizing different materials. We tested the rough black leather edition, which features a felted wool panel—a technique used since the Middle Ages and known for its warmth and moisture wicking properties. Done in a sartorially timely yet ancient print, this piece exemplifies YOU's ability to combine modern styling with older techniques.

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Combining an athletic shoe foundation with a mountaineering boot aesthetic, the aptly named Running Boot feels like your favorite pair of runners beefed up for foul weather in the city. Stylish and capable, the boots feature recycled rubber soles from Italian purveyor of all things foot-healthy, Vibram. The Running Boot is lighter than the High Boot and slightly less supportive through the ankle. The trade-off however, is a feeling of increased agility— think of it as a transitional boot perfect for late autumn or early spring.

YOU's commitment to unique, one-of-a-kind styling and craftsmanship parallels their commitment to sustainability. In addition to using recycled rubber and leather from the military, YOU sources rugs known as "kilim" from displaced Bedoiun women in the Israeli desert through the non-profit Sidreh. Original, high-quality and sustainable, the Zoomorph collection is worth keeping an eye out for this fall. In the meantime shop their current collection online.

Images by Hans Aschim

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