Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Pennangalan Mitch vs. Current Mood Traitor

 If you are in any way interested in Gothic or alternative footwear, you will know Pennangalan even if you've never heard of them. For many years they were the pinnacle of the 'Goth boot', based in London, producing high quality footwear in both leather and PVC. Shockingly high and heavily embellished, their shoes became the most coveted of all until their somewhat abrupt and not-quite-confirmed psudo-closure around 2015. Though their website is still up, many browsers report an unsecure site and won't load it. Customers can still check out and make payment, but their phone number is disconnected and their TrustPilot shows swathes of people who have paid £200+ for footwear they've never received. Their Facebook lies dormant and their brand is now a bit of a ghost.

I say you'll know Pennangalan because many alternative shoe companies produce close imitations of their footwear. Most notably, Demonia (Pleaser) has a massive range of shoes based on their designs: the Swing, Trashville, Torment, Kera, Concord ranges, to name a few, are all clearly designed after Pennangalan shoes, always in PVC or PU. So, go into any Goth club and you'll see Pennangalan's influence on its dancefloor.
The prevalence of 'knockoff' designs isn't just limited to Pennangalan and Demonia. Amy Nekrotique did a wonderfully informative video on YouTube about vintage Goth footwear and their modern-day counterparts (which absolutely inspired this post). It seems these reproductions are rife, and most people are blissfully unaware, praising brands for their covetable 'designs'.

The reason I bring this up is because I recently purchased a knocked-off design after deciding that I couldn't risk spending my money with Pennangalan. I can't afford to have a couple of hundred pounds floating around in the ether and it felt like a waste of time to knowingly place an order that would end in a PayPal dispute. So, instead of the beautiful leather Mitch boots with the classic Lift sole, I bought the Current Mood Traitor boots.

I opted for the 'Strapped' style as they were more in keeping with the Mitch, and because the standard Traitor was sold out. The similarity is pretty immediate, with the main differences being the colour of the hardware, the style of the laces, and the strap closure. The Traitors also come with white laces, which they are pictured with on the main product photo, although thankfully they come laced with the black. They're also made of matte PU whereas the Mitch offers matte and patent versions of their leather and vegan options.

I am happy with the shoes I bought. They are lightweight, comfortable, satisfyingly vertiginous, and feel nicely put together. I will wear them for clubbing so I don't need to worry about their longevity as much as I would a pair of flat boots, though this is still a bit of a concern. The cleated sole gives them reassuring grip, and the straps, whilst a bit wide for my legs, look interesting and give the shoe a bit of extra height on the leg, differentiating them from the rest of my arsenal.

However, I still feel guilty -- I do wish I could have purchased the originals. I want to support a small, independent alternative brand that makes good products! I don't want to support the theft of ideas and art. However I feel that if we can't buy the original item because it literally no longer exists, knockoffs are unfortunately the answer. I do hope that Pennangalan resurfaces as there is clearly a market for their products.

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