New footwear brand, Envoy was inspired by Danny and Brodie’s stylish European comrades, who always looked classy in their casual espadrilles. Seeing that there was no similar option in Australia, the boys set about designing a similar versatile style that bridged the gap between beachy thongs and evening dress shoes. While the ever-popular espadrille lends part of its appearance to Envoy’s Summer Shoe, Brodie, 32, is quick to point out that is where the similarities end.
While simple in appearance, Brodie and Danny spent almost a year in the design room ensuring the quality was superior. All shoes are handmade in small volumes and `super comfortable’ with an added supportive cork/rubber midsole, a durable and cushioning natural rubber sole and natural materials wherever possible.
The boys will officially launch Envoy at the Australian Shoe Fair from August 28-30 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre where they are hoping to connect with suitable retailers and distributors who are keen to try something fresh, and back a new Australian brand.
We took five with the dynamic duo to chat further about their travels, which country’s street style inspired them the most, and their future hopes for Envoy.
You spent most of your 20s overseas, which countries did you travel to and through?
Brodie: Lived in London for over 5 years, travelled through Japan for 18 months, travelled through Austria, Germany, Poland, Italy, spent 6 months in France, lots of frequent trips to places like Barcelona, Rome, Sicily, Paris, etc. I became addicted to Italy so just kept going back.
Danny spent 7 years in London. He visited Europe regularly including Italy, France and Bulgaria. During this time he also lived in San Sebastian in the north of Spain for 6 months surfing and learning the language.
You mentioned these were the years you gained most of your inspiration to create Envoy, are there any countries in particular that impressed you with their feet fashions?
The Mediterranean countries, Italy, France and Spain know exactly what they are doing. The men don’t wear flip-flops when they go out for a drink, they don’t wear them out of the house. They wouldn’t be seen dead wearing the kinds of feet fashions that most Aussie guys get around in at the moment, particularly the cheap-looking slip-ons.
These cultures take pride in their foot wear, they are well crafted, made for the climate and look great.
In Australia, men are known for their more casual approach to style, how does the Envoy shoe fit into this look? Do you see these shoes being multi-functional for day and night?
Absolutely. Though our shoes are a step up in quality and style, they are not pretentious. We genuinely think that Australian guys’ sense of style is changing for the better. They have been hoodwinked by big brands and are starved for quality choices. A look through any high street store will tell you the same. The shoes, by virtue of their style and colour choice are perfect for day and night.
How did you gauge the market here before launching the Envoy shoe? Did you know there was a demand for it among Aussie men?
We guessed that the best way to gauge the market was to spend time looking at what everyone is wearing- literally. We’ve spent so much time looking at what shoes men are wearing that it’s now a strange habit. The most commonly worn shoe this summer has to be the canvas slip-on. Our Summer Shoe has a similar appearance but very different quality and structure. Once we had our first prototype last year the response from our peers gave us confidence to develop it further.
What response have you had so far within Australia? And overseas? T
The Shoe Fair is really our launch and we plan to play our cards fairly close to our chest until then. We’ve spoken to some retailers in Australia and a distributor in Singapore, all of which has been constructive. We have a group of very honest people from different backgrounds and countries that we share our progress with and they have been almost as excited as us, not just about the shoe, but the brand idea, the design work and that they will soon be able to buy a quality Australian designed men’s shoe that looks the business.
What do you hope to gain from launching the brand at Australian Shoe Fair?
We’re hoping to connect with suitable retailers and distributors. By suitable, I mean other companies that understand what we are trying to do and understand the potential of a product like this. If we get the right players to back a small company like ours by selling and distributing in the right places, then the sky’s the limit.
With so many shoes out there, what is your brand’s unique point of difference?
Quality and comfort. These are the two big ones, amongst a bunch of smaller differences. They are made in a small factory by hand and we’ve obsessed over the details, like an extra mm on the sole length, getting the factory to invest in a machine that will stitch the jute to the canvas, molding a midsole out of a cork/rubber material and the list goes on. The flow on from the quality is the comfort.
What are the 9 colours you feature?
This is the exciting bit. Black, beige, off-white, burnt orange, mustard, washed blue, washed red, light blue and a funky green!
The latest fashion trend is Neon fluoro colourways in clothing and accessories, are there plans to launch Neon Envoys? If not, is it something you would consider?
Danny and I are 80’s kids and we got smashed with the fluoro stuff – we love it. We have no immediate plans for fluoro. My gut feeling is fluoro was a trend from last year, so I guess we’ll avoid the trends and fashions and keep it all stylish.
What are your personal favourite colours?
Brodie: Blue, red, yellow (and pink)
Danny: Beige and pink
To register for the Australian Shoe Fair, visit www.australianshoefair.com