Woollier’s Latest Sneaker Is Simple, Distinct and Classic
With superior craftsmanship, exceptional service, nostalgic relevance and artistic perspective in mind, Woollier’s Founder and Creative Director Aaron Childress has found success with the brand’s first sneaker, the handcrafted Cambrian High-Top, the staple of the brand’s S/D Collection. Made from large cuts of Italian calfskin, the limited run Cambrian High-Top is as stylish as it is sophisticated, and can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion.
In addition to the Cambrian Hi-Top, Woollier is readying the release of its new Cambrian Low-Top model, as well as The Royal, the company’s second sneaker line. Heed recently caught up with Aaron Childress to learn more about the exclusive sneaker. Check it out!
Heed Magazine: Aaron how are you man?
Aaron Childress: I can’t complain! It’s another day in California, so it’s a lot to be thankful for.
HM: I’m very impressed with the sneaker! Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the design for the high top Cambrian?
AC: Basically it combines elements of simplicity with elements of distinction. For the high top Cambrian, the inspiration came as I was watching old Muhammad Ali films. It was really inspiring to me just thinking about how to capture that combination of power and elegance and then I looked at the boxing shoe and I liked that as well so that was the starting point for conceptualizing that sneaker, so that’s where the silhouette for the high top Cambrian came from.
HM: What type of person wears this sneaker?
AC: The high top and low top Cambrian are meant to be more foundational sneakers. They’re meant to be worn as a staple piece in anyone’s wardrobe. When I think about those sneakers I think about having a few good shoes that elevate any outfit. You can dress it up or down and it’s very flexible in that respect. We have clients who are athletes that wear the sneaker and we actually have clients who are web developers that wear sneaker. It’s a sneaker that you can mold to your own style very easily.
HM: How do you pick colors when designing a sneaker?
AC: For me, it’s a process of figuring out what I want to wear. I wouldn’t put out anything that I wouldn’t wear and secondly what I think should be in the market place. I wanted to have unique coloring with the sneaker because it’s a basic silhouette, but it still has elements of distinction. So, for the Cambrian you’ll see that it has the turn-stitch collar which you’re not really seeing out there and we used one large piece of leather for the body of the shoe. We were trying to go for a color that was sort of atypical.
HM: What makes this sneaker special and why should people invest in it?
AC: So, I think that what makes it different is, aesthetically, my collection is all about juxtaposition and I like to call it ‘nostalgic relevance’. That really means a nod to the past with an eye towards the future. When I think about how they originated and the fact that they’ve become a high end product? It’s almost full circle and what I mean by that is the first rubber-soled shoe was used to play croquet and that was a past time that was enjoyed by the European aristocracy at the time. Now fast forward, when you say sneaker now a lot of people think counter culture or street wear and that’s because of how it’s popularized in the U.S. Sneakers were only worn for athletic reasons until the 50’s when people started wearing them as a symbol of rebellion. So, creatively I was inspired by both of these competing narratives. I kind of relate to the term ‘nouveau riche’, because it speaks about a non-conformist mindset. It’s French for ‘new rich’ and it was really supposed to be a pejorative term to describe how the newly rich spends there money, but to me it’s more about earning your own way and being proud of what you’ve accomplished. If I were to describe what our brand is about, it really embodies the qualities of the ‘nouveau riche’ counter culture with the sensibilities of high-society. So, if you’re looking for a shoe that balances the simplistic with discernible qualities and does that well, I think we’re unique in the space. A lot of players will do detail on top of detail or minimal on top of minimal, but we kind of come in between those two categories.
HM: Talk to me about the material that you chose.
AC: All of our sneakers are handmade in Italy and we use premium materials. Our first collection was made from polished calfskin. What you’ll see from our shoes is a real focus on construction and quality of materials, but also what you’ll see is that it’s going to be limited. We’re not mass-producing, and that’s sort of our niche.
HM: What’s the price point?
AC: The Cambrian high top is $485 and the Cambrian low top is $425.
HM: That’s definitely a premium sneaker! So, do you foresee creating a more affordable shoe for the everyday stylish guy who can’t afford a $500 sneaker?
AC: I can’t say what’s not going to happen. The brand is very much art influenced because I draw from unconventional sources of inspiration. Even the numbering on the sneaker is inspired by a numbered edition art print, so that’s the only branding you’re going to see on the shoe and it kind of mandates limited production. I think as long as we have that branding, I think we’re going to playing in that space. I wouldn’t compete against the Nike’s or any of the other brands that do mass production well.
HM: Where do you see the shoe in 5-years?
AC: Really, if I’ve done my job I just want my customers to love the shoe and so far that’s been the case. We focus not only on the product, but we also focus on the experience. I personally fit a lot of my customers in my showroom in Santa Monica so it’s really about building a relationship with our customers. If I look 5 years down the road, hopefully I’ve built a very successful business that caters to what my clients want. You know with the ‘Royal’ it’s designed to be a statement piece and I think it has the potential to be an iconic shoe. I would hope to see that type of vision play out in the future with the brand.
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Both new editions to the Woollier family are now available on Woollier’s website at www.woollier.com
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