Old is the new new, says Calgary shoe-designing couple

A Calgary shoe-designing couple is hoping a life-long passion for handmade things will pay off in their new business venture.

'I have always had an interest and passion for items that are handmade'

Calgary shoe designers look back for inspiration

7 years ago
Duration 0:44
Terri and Darren Stefanyshyn say some people want handmade over mass produced

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's the philosophy of a Calgary shoe designing couple who want old to be the new new.

"I have been working in the footwear industry for about 25 years and probably about ten years ago I started having these ideas of grandeur of having my own footwear company," Darren Stefanyshyn told CBC News.

Calgary shoe designers Darren and Terri Stefanyshyn hope their formula of handmade, high quality 'modern vintage' shoes will take off. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Then, about a year and a half ago while on a sabbatical with his wife and business partner, Terri Stefanyshyn, they came across something that got them thinking.

"We stumbled upon a beautiful little handmade shoemaker in Istanbul, Turkey. We said, 'You know what? This is an opportunity now. This is a situation where we can really go with what we have been thinking about,'" he said.

And what the couple had been thinking about was designing and selling what they call modern, vintage shoes, handmade in small batches.

The owners of DSign Step design shoes which are made in Turkey and Mexico in small batches. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"I have always had an interest and passion for items that are handmade, the quality and the time that goes into handmade items. When we came across the workshop in Istanbul it really felt like a good fit for me," Terri explained.

"I also like shoes," she added with a smile.

And DSign Step shoes was born, although the team is taking things slow and calculated.

"We are doing pop-up shops, we are doing open houses, we are finding out and testing what the market is," Darren said.

'What a lot of people don’t realize is that comfort is a measure for stability as well,' Darren Stefanyshyn said. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Darren and Terri design the shoes, which are made in Turkey and Mexico.

"There is something unique about the shoe, in that, when they are worn, even though they are a heel, they don't feel like a heel," Terri said.

Darren says science has also played a role in terms of comfort.

"What a lot of people don't realize is that comfort is a measure for stability as well. If people are not stable then they are not going to feel comfortable," he said.

With files from Monty Kruger