Interview x Leonel Gonzalez – Owner Labyrinth Footwear

We recently had the opportunity to interview footwear designer, Leonel (Leo) Gonzalez, Owner and designer of the Perth, Australia located, Labyrinth Footwear brand. Leo is super energetic guy, with a talent & great passion for footwear design. For me, it’s always great to see someone start their own brand, and listening to how they got started and how they avoided certain pit falls when setting everything up, is an invaluable source of inspiration and knowledge. We asked Leo how he got started, where he plans on going with the brand, and a lot more, check the interview out below…

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[highlight] Can you tell us a little about yourself? [/highlight]

 

First of all I’d like to thank you guys for allowing me this opportunity to come out in one of my favorite sites. My name is Leonel aka (Leo) born in Dominican Republic and raised in New York City. I started drawing at the early age of 7, Siete which is my nick name. It means Seven in Spanish which is representative of the age I started drawing. My biggest passion is drawing and design. I started out freelancing in Manhattan NYC for various big names and then continued on to work with Detny Footwear as a designer, growing with this initially small business also allowed me to gain a lot of knowledge about the business aspect of the footwear Industry.  In 2010 I moved to Perth Australia, where my wife is from to start a family and pursue my dreams of having my own footwear label and business. The following year I registered my company of Labyrinth Footwear and today I have my own label starting to grow which I am very happy and proud of.

 

[highlight] What made you want to start your own brand?  [/highlight]

 

My passion and love for design and drawing, sneakers in particular and wanting to put something unique and edgy into the market, and to feel that excitement and pride when you see someone loving and appreciating what you are so passionate about doing.

 

[highlight] How would you describe your brand in three words? [/highlight]

 

Urban,Edgy,Street.

 

[highlight] What are the challenges of juggling the business side of footwear with the design aspects?  [/highlight]

 

Is being aware of your market and the trends currently out there, and going BEYOND that with something edgy, different and competitive in price and quality. Also I think being a NEW brand the other biggest challenge is being competitive in price against the bigger players and gaining the TRUST with your brand to your customers out there, these things happen with time.

 

[highlight] What can we expect from you in the near future?  [/highlight]

 

You can expect a lot of new fresh & edgy urban designs, with the international market in our view, we hope to be growing internationally in very near future. Plans to do collaborations with unique and talented individuals that can help Labyrinth standout and continue to be different and edgy in the market.  Manuel Drmol De Jesus is the new member of my team labyrynth very excited about having him on board check this talented man out, you will not be disappointed.  So you can also expect to see cool urban edgy Clothing & Accessories such as hats, T-shirts in the near future and also luis matos my mentor and partner doing his best as always.

 

[highlight] Any advice to young designers out there wanting to follow in your footsteps?  [/highlight]

 

It is certainly not an easy business to be in, but that’s what makes it fun, exciting and challenging.  It is very important to be passionate about what your doing and believe in it strongly, as it takes a lot of dedication and work to make it successful, it is a tough industry and you have to be ready for the kickbacks!! But to keep pushing and believing in what your doing. ‘Follow your dreams’ that’s the key as Bruce Lee says, be water my friend, in essence adapt to anything, no matter where, if your pure you can fit in. Take Care guys it was a pleasure i will keep u guys up with news and look forward to collaborating with concept team peace out.

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Big shout out to Leo for interview, you can check out more on the Labyrinth Footwear website, or follow Leo on twitter to stay up to date on all things Labyrinth.