We are proud to present to you an interview with Seo Ilwon, founder of the Korean shoe brand The Klaxon (here is our first article about the brand).
Lire la version française ici.
FTDF: Can you tell us about the different steps of your career and your background?
Seo Ilwon: I started my career as a men’s fashion merchandiser in 2004. I have always been interested in shoes. And as time went on, I became more and more obsessed with the idea of creating my own brand of shoes. Thus being in my thirties I decided to fully dedicate myself to create a proper brand.
FTDF: How did you come up with the Klaxon concept? And how do you define it and its style?
Seo Ilwon: The concept of The Klaxon has started from our own taste: we make the shoes we want to wear. If we don’t like a shoe, we will not produce it. Fundamentally, we are also very concerned with the practical aspect of our products.
For instance, we prefer to use rubber soles instead of traditional leather soles for a more comfortable wear and easier care.
Design is of course very important but we make no compromise when we select materials. We aim to make a quality product.
FTDF: Where do you find your inspiration when you create a model like the Falconry Mouton Boots? Do you consult archives?
Seo Ilwon: We try to develop interesting items every season. When we started to develop the Mouton Boots, we just wanted to design a winter shoe to protect us from the cold and the snow we have every winter. After drawing a few ideas on paper, we were reminded of the falcony boots our fathers wore while hunting during the winter.
That was our inspiration for the Mouton Boots.
Actually, most of our shoes are inspired by our surroundings and our lifestyle.
FTDF: Are you inspired by other shoe brands?
Seo Ilwon: We do not focus on specific brands. We tend to focus on product and we always try to make something different, to bring something new to the table.
We try as best as we can to make sure that our shoes and design are not similar to what other brands have done.
If we feel like the design is too similar, we daringly throw it away.
FTDF: What kind of materials do you use to make the shoes?
Seo Ilwon: We are using Vibram and Dainite soles and leathers from Horween and Charles Stead.
Next season, we will also use Cat’s Paw rubber heels.
FTDF: Where did your love for the VIBRAM MONTA G.BLOCK ECO STEP outsole come?
Seo Ilwon: It’s a classic model of outsole, but the color is cool.
Above all, it is also great that it is made out of recycled rubber.
FTDF: Who is the "Klaxon Man"?
Seo Ilwon: He is just a lazy awesome guy!
FTDF: Korean menswear knows a rapid expansion. Please tell us more about menswear in Korea (inspirations, culture, brands, etc.)
Seo Ilwon: Koreans very much love fashion and men’s fashion is developing and evolving very rapidly here thanks to the internet. Many young Korean men have a keen interested in fashion which is why the market has so much potential. But the market is still immature, men are just starting to be interested in their own personal style rather than blindly adjusting to fashion trends. I definitely believe that the Korean market will soon be one of the most attractive fashion market in the world.
FTDF: We know you try to export the Klaxon abroad. In which countries can we now find the brand?
Seo Ilwon: Our brand now has several retailers in England, Spain, China, Hong Kong and of course in Korea.
FTDF: Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
Seo Ilwon: I just hope that we will still be making products we are proud of and that our shoes will be available in as many countries as possible.
Thanks to Seo Ilwon for his availability and kindness. Paris, April 2014.