Collecting footwear is hardly an achievement, but amassing 1,291 pairs of miniature shoes has been unique enough to earn a Goan in Australia global recognition
The world’s largest collection of miniature shoes by Victoria-based Wilson Fernandez has now been recognised and awarded for the Largest Collection of Miniature Shoes by the World Record Academy (WRA).
The achievement has been hailed by friends and family as a collection of “an artistic display of teensy-weensy shoes on wall”, “a wall of great miniature shoes", "footsteps of the world on a wall", "Will’s wall of great miniature shoes" ('Wills', a short reference to Wilson).
Says Fernandez, “My collection is from around the globe. The biggest is 18.5 cm and smallest 0.25 cm. These shoes come in all shapes, forms, patterns and designs representing the countries they were collected from.”
The collection include Ugg boots, Dutch Klomps, Japanese Geta, Korean Hwahye, Turkish Sabahs, Indian Kolhapuri, Maharajah Shoes, Pakistani Mojari, Flip-Flops, Moccasins, Sports Shoes, Boots, Converse Shoes, Crocs, toddler shoes, Santa's shoes and many more.
The miniature shoes represent countries like India, Turkey, Austria, Hungary, Germany, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Pakistan, China, Singapore, UAE, Malaysia, Philippines, New Zealand, Hawaii, Holland, Korea, Japan, France, UK and Australia.
The shoes are hand-made, casted, stamped, moulded and are manufactured using various types of material e.g., leather, vinyl, fabric, plastic, straw, wood, ceramic, clay, rubber, paper, glass, crystal and many different types of precious metals, including studded stones and gems.
It was during a trip to India in 2004 that Fernandez first developed a fascination with miniature shoes.
While at a shoe shop in Kolhapur, he came across tiny leather sandals in miniature sizes perfectly replicating their larger counterparts.
“And that’s when the fascination started. Amazed by the detail and craftsmanship of the miniatures, I bought 12 pairs of Kolhapuri chappals.”
“Over the years, during my business and pleasure travels to new places, I started looking for shoes that represent the countries and places I visited,” explains Fernandez.
During his travels thereafter, Fernandez began to seek out miniature shoes that represented the places he visited, sourcing them from craft markets, airports, antique shops and gift stores.
“The wall of great miniature shoes reminds me of the places visited, the best moments of those places, the culture, diversity, friendship and more,” he said.
Incidentally, Fernandez has created an artistic floral design using the miniatures on the walls of his home — his “footsteps of the world” display.
“It never crossed my mind that a unique collection of miniature shoes would one day be the largest collection in the world. I am so happy and pleased for having been recognised by the World Record Academy. I thank my family, friends, and visitors who have supported me through this journey and inspired me to keep going.
“I had a mixed feeling when the record news came through,” Fernandez said. “It is a great honour to achieve this award. I just couldn’t believe it.
“I have dedicated this achievement as a tribute to my mum for the love, encouragement, support and for making me the person that I am today.”
Fernandez said his dad was proud of the award, and thanked the family and friends who’d helped him to achieve “this hallmark of my life”.
“Whatever may be the outcome of the records book I am truly excited about this unique hobby that keeps me happy and creative,” sums up Fernandez.