We chat to the creative minds behind contemporary men's footwear label ohw? about why they have put style, function and, above all, traceability at the heart of their brand.
ohw? is the shared vision of two experienced footwear professionals who aim to bring a fresh approach to men's footwear with stylish and functional designs manufactured in their own factory in China.
Unlike many companies that source their footwear from outside suppliers, ohw? have full control over how their shoes made and are immensely proud of the standard of their manufacturing and attention to detail.
"Authenticity is at the heart of our brand," explains co-founder Stephen Gill. "We believe our customers should know the provenance of the shoes they buy. From having our own factory to handpicking the people we work with, everything we do is a reflection of who we are. This is the reason we chose the name ohw? (who? reversed), which indicates that everything we do can be traced backwards. Each pair of ohw? shoes is even individually hand-signed by the person in our factory doing the final quality check."
Ohw?'s designs, while trend-led, are kept deliberately simple to showcase traditional shoemaking skills such as hand-stitching and size markers along the cut edges of the upper materials (the traditional way that shoemakers indicate the sizes of cut pieces). They use only the best leathers and combine these with advanced materials, such as hypoallergenic Ariaprene and combination rubber/phylon soles (more usually found in the midsole of sports shoes) for optimum performance and fit.
In typical ohw? style, designs for Spring/Summer 16 are uncluttered and elegant, in a muted palette. Here are our favourite three designs…
Loving the tan leather body and suede laces. Reminds us of a traditional workman’s boot but with a contemporary twist in the stark white heels.
This smart, classic, understated ankle boot has a cheeky splash of turquoise suede. Yep, we’re sold.
Something about these reminds us of Marty McFly’s boots and 'power laces' in Back to the Future II. That’s enough to get a thumbs up from us.