Grenson has long been a favorite of the SLAMXHYPE team so it comes with great pleasure to see the folks at GiltManual sit down with Tim Little the ad world exec turned creative director / owner of Grenson. He has a clear goal to reposition the british footwear company among the upper tier of the men’s footwear labels, and with his ad world sensibilities he approaches the old world brand with renewed vigor. Tim speaks upon his appraoch to upcoming seasons, his collaborative efforts, as well as his adidias days.:
Now that the last collection is out and placed in stores do you go back to the conceptual drawing board?
Next season is about three-quarters done already. It gets earlier and earlier these days because everyone wants the shoes earlier. They overlap and it starts to get weird. I often forget if I’m doing winter or spring/summer. What’s difficult is when there is a snowstorm outside and you are working on some new lightweight shoes, you know, for the beach.
Tell me about your process—from going back through the really rich archives, to doing things like the Glenn boot.
What we’re really well known for is the brogue, the classic wing tip. When I got involved I took the real classic beauty they had from the ‘50s and kind of reinvented it. From that shoe we’ve developed different versions—a really chunky version, a lightweight version that is more summery… Suede, things like that. Then there are shoes like Glenn. I saw this article with a picture of an Italian marching boot from about 1900. It was slightly awkward looking because it was so old, but we changed the last and we changed the materials a little bit and then I just made it look a little more up to date. Sometimes a shoe will start just completely from scratch.
You do some really great collaborations, like the Glenn with Tenue de Nîmes. How do you decide on the people you work with?
The one thing we do is we only work with brands and companies we like. We don’t like the collaborations that don’t make sense—a café in Manhattan collaborating with a shoemaker in England, you know, what are they doing? We’ve kind’ve kept it at a minimum. De Nîmes is a great one. And Tres Bien in Sweden—they’re a fantastic brand, a fantastic store. What they like to do is choose one of our shoes and then kind of customize it to them.
You ca read the rest of the interview on GiltManual.