Interview – Ohw? Footwear Co-Founder | Stephen Gill

Recently we featured Ohw? footwear in our must-cop list for winter ’14 on SLAMXHYPE. They’ve been creeping onto my radar for quite sometime, and thought it was about time we reached to them to get a better feel about what they’re up to. Having teamed up with design agency, The Foot Soldiers, all their styles offer intriguing details and beautifully shaped last silhouettes.

Check out what Co-Founder, Stephen Gill had to say about how Ohw? is different than other brands on the market, what advantages they gain from owning their own factory, what inspires them and much more, below.
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Can you tell us a little about Ohw?

Ohw? is the shared vision of two footwear professionals with many years of experience. Our aim is simple – to bring a fresh approach to men’s footwear with contemporary and functional designs manufactured in our own factory in China.

How is Ohw? different from other brands?

Unlike many companies that source their footwear from outside suppliers, we have full control over how our shoes are made. We emphasize this because we believe our customers should know the provenance of the shoes they buy.
Designs are kept simple and uncluttered to allow us to showcase the skills of our factory, the standard of our manufacturing and our attention to detail.
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How do you balance the business side with the creative side?

The design process is naturally where it all starts and where our passion lies. A critical part of this is the skilful shoemaking resource we have in our factory. However, the business functions are equally as important. Having the organisation and people in place to move the brand forward, and working with the right partners, is essential.

Can you describe Ohw? in 3 words?

Quality. Contemporary. Individual.
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Where do you see the brand in 5 years?

Working to the same plan with the right distribution and retail partners, but on a larger scale.

How does owning your factory affect your design/development process?

Ohw?’s design process takes place in the UK, beginning each season with numerous ‘field trips’ for creative inspiration. We collaborate with leading footwear designers to translate our pick of the latest trends and then work closely with our production team in China to develop these from concept into reality. Having our own factory allows us to be more adventurous and have better control over the overall process.
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What inspires you?

Products that stand the test of time – and not necessarily footwear. We take inspiration from classic, uncomplicated designs . Our design motto is ‘less is more’.

Do you have any advice to designers trying to create their own brand?

Don’t dilute what you do. Stick to a core concept and build from there. Find good partners.
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CKLAB-AD3

 

Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks | Instagram @MrBailey_ | www.MrBailey.co.uk

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