(Some creepers from my collection)
I realize the title of this blog sounds a little odd, especially when you combine “creepers” and “obsession” together, by no means am I obsessed with people who are creepers! Hehe! Putting the silliness aside, I am writing about my love affair with the (brothel) creeper shoe style that was started over ten years ago.
I don't know exactly at what moment I really went nuts over the shoe style itself, but I do recall seeing a lot of 80s music artists rocking creepers along with Duckie Dale from the movie Pretty in Pink. I didn't know what the shoes were called until many years later when I became more familiar and aware with rockabilly/psychobilly styling. Before then, I always admired them as 'shoes that the Stray Cats wore' or what vintage styled guys paired with their sharkskin slacks.
The first few pairs of creeper styled shoes I owned were bought in a lump purchase as my boyfriend at the time was buying low quantities of shoes/boots to resell. He is an antique book dealer, but seeing as the minimums for shoes were so low we indulged ourselves with some new shoes. I picked out the creepers because (to me) they were sort of ugly and awesome at the same time. I wanted something different than what I would normally choose, so I picked out a pair of; creeper boots, 3 inch platform creeper shoes and calf-height shiny creeper boots.
To say I loved my new shoes would be an understatement. I wanted to know everything about the shoes themselves; where the name came from, who wears these styles of shoes and where can I get more! The first answer came to me from some old punks who commented on my shoes, saying that they thought it was a little weird that I (a goth) was wearing creepers, I was confused because I just liked how different the shoes were to me. I was told that only rockabillys, psychobillys (and the like) wear creepers. Well, to know me is to know that I wear what I like no matter who puts particular labels on certain articles of clothing, music, etc., I do what I like as I'm not hurting anyone. So, I was a goth wearing creepers (and the world didn't end!), but I wanted to know all about the shoes themselves, so I turned to the internet to look for answer.
At the time, I didn't really get a straight answers as to why they were called Brothel Creepers, but after some research I found that Carl Cox was the one that pioneered this signature shoe style in 1949. My best understanding is that during World War II the soldiers in North Africa would wear suede boots with hard crepe rubber soles due to the harsh dessert conditions, yet after the war ex-soldiers were often seen wearing these types of shoes around London's seedy underground and night club spots, thus being dubbed "Brothel Creepers". I have to admit this makes the allure of the shoe style that much more intriguing. Haha! I do love a good (shoe) story!
A Teddy Boy wearing his crepe sole brothel creepers, probably 50s-60s.
Just like the forefather George Cox and his Hamilton brand, other shoe brands produce their own modern versions of creepers like; TUK Shoes, Underground, Jeffrey Campbell and Demonia, just to name a few. The stacked sole design hasn't changed too much over the years, but the variety of patterns, material and styling of the creeper shoe has pretty much become limitless. I've even seen everything from clear plastic designs through the entire creeper being heavily studded and spiked! Crazy fun! Though the creeper may fall in and out of style with the fashion elite and be worn by pop and rock stars like Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, yet they will forever be my favorite shoe style with all of their amazing history.
Hey, I even married a guy who loves creepers as much as me!
Stay creeper-y my friends. *Wink*