Oklahoma City may have the distinction of being almost smack dab in the middle of the country, but it has elements that are pushing it further towards the edge of the mainstream. Take Ryan Walker of Shoe Gypsy in Oklahoma, for instance. Ryan recently filled out our annual Zuriick store profile query and he had some fascinating things to say about our brand, his hometown, and his favorite activities.
Z: What do you like about the city you’re currently in?
RW: Oklahoma City has amazing people. Interesting people that are fun and not pretentious! For the most part, the pace of life is very laid back. Oklahoma City is one of the best kept secrets in the nation: it’s cheap to live here and has endless opportunity for pioneering ventures for whatever one might be inspired to do.
Z: How long have you been in Oklahoma?
RW: 35 years. The store has been open nine years.
Z: Speaking of your store, where is it located?
RW: We are located in the heart of the Western avenue District in Oklahoma City along with other great locally owned and supported store—great restaurants and boutiques that feed off of each other on a weekly basis.
Z: Can you talk a little about the store you’re selling from now?
RW: Shoe Gypsy is a community store and always has been. We have always been a little schizophrenic on the product we have carried over the years...hopefully avoiding being pin holed and/or stuck in certain trends that come and go. We are focused on complementing the growing art, music, and fashion cultures that are developing in Oklahoma City.
Z: Let’s talk a bit about Zuriick and your involvement with us. When did you first come across the shoes?
RW: I found Zuriick by combing through blogs online a number of years ago.
Z: What was the first, favorite Zuriick design you owned?
RW: It had to be the Akes...I went through a period were I practically slept in them.
Z: You’re in good company, then. What were your initial impressions of the brand?
RW: I love how clean and simple the design is, but yet how timely and relevant the styles are. The purple sole was very intriguing. It's like a little secret between the brand and the customer. That has proven itself true, since Zuriick has some of the best customer service out of all the hundreds of companies we have worked with over the years!
Z: Well thank you for saying so! How has your view of the shoes changed as the brand has matured?
RW: I love the leather-soled styles like the Shug and the Nico boots and others. I love the different fabric uppers.
Z: What is your current favorite style?
RW: I am loving my Nico boots! They have broken in to perfection.
Z: If you had to classify your sense of style in everyday dress what would it be?
RW: At this particular point in time I enjoy wearing things that are fun and interesting but hopefully have a sense of classic relaxed maturity with just a tiny hint of sexiness! I am a 35 years old husband of 15 years and father of 3 boys, so stylish appropriateness is always in the back of my mind. Every day that I get older I feel a little less self-conscience and more comfortable with my body, style and age. With that said, I’m probably more likely to wear a relaxed pair of linen pants and a thin soft, loosely-buttoned woven shirt and less likely to go trompin’ around shirtless with a pair of Levis.
Z: Where do you go to eat/hang out when you’re in your favorite area of the city, and what area is that?
RW: One of my favorite restaurant/bars in the area is VZDs. Very classic, dark wood feel, balcony seating overlooking the stage and old show posters on the walls. It has excellent food (especially for a bar) and an even more impressive history. VZDs has supported acts over the years like Ramones, Bo Diddley, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More just to name a few. I can't ignore the Saturn Grill, which happens to be right next door to Shoe Gypsy. We have many overlapping customers. Saturn Grill has a fresh, made to order menu that customers appreciate.
Z: What is a typical weekend night like for you?
RW: I don't know about typically, but something that comes to mind is the 2nd friday night of every month.
The plaza district in Oklahoma City hosts an art walk where droves of people park down little neighborhood streets and walk up and down 16th street to experience art, music, food and handmade products. Big Truck Tacos and Elemental Coffee bring the grub and beverages and stores like DNA Galleries and Collective Thread might be doing a massive 10-foot mural outside their stores while featuring local and regional artists inside. Z: What local music and venues are good in the area? RW: When talking about music in Oklahoma, you can't ignore names like Wanda Jackson, Leone Russell and the Flaming Lips. New bands that are making some waves are bands like: The Non, Other Lives, Colour Music and Sherree Chamberlain, just to scratch the surface. Thank you for your time Ryan. We never knew there is so much going on in Oklahoma. We have our sights set on VZDs when we’re in town next.