Interview with Seo Ilwon, founder of The Klaxon

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.Seo Ilwon

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.vestadbeige3

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.vestadbrown1

For instance, we prefer to use rubber soles instead of traditional leather soles for a more comfortable wear and easier care.7_4

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.falconry the klaxon 1

That was our inspiration for the Mouton Boots.FALCONRY-SUEDE

Actually, most of our shoes are inspired by our surroundings and our lifestyle.falconry ver 02

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.7_6

If we feel like the design is too similar, we daringly throw it away.pallasbootsgcxldarkbrown3

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.7_3

Next season, we will also use Cat’s Paw rubber heels.Cat's Paw

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.vibram

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!

Seo Ilwon 2

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.7_1

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.the klaxon team

Thanks to Seo Ilwon for his availability and kindness. Paris, April 2014.

UpperShoes ouvre à Paris

vitrine parisVoilà une nouvelle qui devrait ravir bon nombre d’entre vous: l’enseigne UpperShoes ouvre sa première boutique parisienne! Elle est située dans le quartier de la Madeleine, plus précisément au 1 Rue Caumartin, à quelques encablures du flagship Crockett & Jones de la rue Chauveau-Lagarde. D’après ce que nous avons pu en voir, la boutique propose des prestations haut-de-gamme, à l’image des autres points de vente que nos lecteurs lyonnais doivent connaître.boutique paris upshoes

UpperShoes est un détaillant multi-marques spécialisé dans la chaussure Homme et Femme de qualité. D’origine lyonnaise – la ville y- compte désormais 4 boutiques – UpperShoes a été créé en 2002 avec le rachat de la franchise Church’s de Lyon avant d’étoffer son offre de souliers avec l’arrivée d’autres marques.

Boutique lyonnaise 8 Rue Jean de Tournes

Boutique lyonnaise 8 Rue Jean de Tournes

A ce propos, voici plusieurs marques proposées par UpperShoes: Alden, Arfango, Car Shoe, Church’s, Cordwainer, Corthay, Crockett & Jones, Edward Green, Heschung, John Lobb, Kanpekina, Pertini, Premiata, Santoni, Yuketen. Il est possible de commander via leur site Internet.uppershoes2

Nous l’avons dit ici à plusieurs reprises: la France connait un déficit cruel de détaillants de qualité, contrairement à d’autres pays. Et la plupart des détaillants parisiens ou provinciaux proposent bien souvent des produits de qualité très moyenne, ce qui a pour fâcheuse conséquence de tirer l’offre vers le bas, notamment celles des marques françaises et de leurs boutiques en nom propre. Nous nous réjouissons donc du développement de l’enseigne UpperShoes et même si la plupart des marques proposées sont déjà trouvables à Paris, l’ouverture de ce point de vente est une bonne nouvelle pour le marché parisien du soulier et pour le quartier de la Madeleine en particulier. Après Calceom Rive Gauche, au 129 Rue de Sèvres, qui proposait déjà des marques intéressantes comme Zonkey Boot, Alfred Sargent ou Gaziano & Girling, la Rive Droite a droit à son tour à un détaillant de souliers digne de ce nom.