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Shoelaces and 1984

According to George Orwell, in “Nineteen Eighty Four”, shoe laces are a commodity that can be found only on the black market.

I’ve just finished reading the classic novel. The book was published in 1949, a portrayal of what the future might look like under the watchful eye of Big Brother.

Shoelaces are not the only everyday item that is hard to find in this fictitious 1984. Shaving razors are another item on the list that are whispered about.

Why shoelaces? The author doesn’t delve too deeply into the reason for the restriction. However, consider that at the time of writing, mid- 20th century Europe was in the middle of strict rationing rule. Anything deemed “luxury” was hard to come by. Using vital ration stamps became a well considered art.

By 1940s, shoes without shoelaces had been around for a while, however the fashionable slip on shoe became mainstream during the 1950s and 60s.  So most footwear of the time required shoelaces.

The modern shoe fastened with velcro, especially for children, is a very recent addition to the wardrobe. Velcro was invented in 1941, at the time of writing the use of velcro would not have been widely used or considered as a  common way of securing footwear.

I wonder what Big Brother would have thought about my brand? A place to easily purchase shoelaces of various colors and lengths, sounds like I might be taken to room 101!