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November 18, 2017
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Pleasemachine boots. Source: pleasemachine.net.

If you're looking for a shop where the shoes are works of art, the textiles are rich and the atmosphere is kooky, look no further than Siberia in Budapest.

A pair of Pleasemachine "Reuse for Shoes" shoes.
Source: pleasemachine.net.

Down a side street in the Jewish quarter of the city, Siberia isn't quite noticeable from the pavement. When you step inside, however, it turns into a treasure trove of shoe design, a Mecca for shoemakers and addicts across the globe.

Siberia is the first official shoe store of footwear designer Anna Zaboeva and her brand Pleasemachine. The Budapest spot is one of brand's two locations - the other nestled in Berlin. In addition to its unique shoe offerings, Pleasemachine also sells a line of special editions called "reuse for shoes." All the materials for the shoes are found on the streets of Budapest during lomtalanítás. The concept of lomtalanítás is similar to the "one man's trash is another man's treasure" line of logic: every few months, residents of Budapest reduce household waste by leaving unwanted items outside their houses for other people to adopt.

Zaboeva's love affair with fashion began after she won a scholarship to the Budapest State University of Art, Craft and Design. She began dabbling in different departments and eventually made her first shoe. But, it's her back story that is especially interesting: after spending her childhood in Siberia (hence the shop name), Zaboeva studied textile design in Moscow before doing a cinematic art degree. She then hitchhiked all the way to Budapest and became a TV show editor before beginning her design career.

This is a designer who knows no style boundaries, one who can print comic strips or lace in the same collection.

Zaboeva has run Siberia and Pleasemachine single-handedly since the footwear store opened in October 2010. Not only does she design shoes, she manages to create collections made of recycled fabric and leather, and stays environmentally friendly by reducing paperwork and hand-crafting each piece. She is also currently working on a clothing line.

The shop is about idiosyncrasy and has an eclectic, arty vibe. Each shoe is a unique work of art with its own identity. The store is unusual in that it stays open until 10 p.m. each night, at which time it becomes an urban art gallery where people can rub shoulders with the designer herself, among others.

Pleasemachine has even inspired a song by alternative band Freaks on Floor. Zaboeva has provided the shoes for the band's tours and for their visit to the MAMA Music Awards, where they won Best Rock Band of the Year in 2011. Zaboeva even offered a complementary Freaks on Floor CD with every purchase at Siberia.

But Zaboeva isn't just an Eastern European design sensation; she has her sights set on bigger and better things. During Tokyo Fashion Week from March 18 to 24, her shoes were featured on the catwalk for Hungarian clothing brand Fufavi. Fufavi was established in 2007 by former journalist Lilla Fufavi. Her collections have been featured at Budapest, Ukraine and Tokyo Fashion Weeks. They are also available internationally in London and Vienna.

Pleasemachine shoe.
Source: pleasemachine.net.

Pleasemachine creations are much more than ordinary shoes. They are pieces to awe at, made with love and care by their designer. Not only that, but buyers can create custom pairs in a multitude of different colours and styles (go to the Pleasemachine website for Spring 2012's colour palette). This is a designer who knows no style boundaries, one who can print comic strips or lace in the same collection.

Although Zaboeva gets plenty of press, none of it seems to be negative. She has the ability to please all her critics and create the perfect piece for anyone who walks in the door with their colour swatches. Visit her website or the tiny shop in Budapest on Wesselényi utca 19, 1073 or A Loja in Berlin on Falckenstein Street 33, Kreuzberg, Berlin.

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