1) Welcome to The Garnette Report, the fashion and sneaker world are interested in hearing your story. What inspired you to start your line?
Ever since I was very young, I was always a big fan of sneakers and the very niche market that it was. I found as I got older I was looking for sneakers that can be worn in versatile situations of work or play but with real leathers and better details. At the time I was starting the brand, I noticed that the market had 2 players in this realm. Big brands that uses water down materials for an accessible price point or the very high end version with better materials but the lost of truly nostalgic essence of their counterparts. I set out to formulate A.Posse to be the bridge of these 2 spectrum in providing an accessible, quality, versatile, and mature sneaker line.
2) Where did the name A.Posse come from?
The name of the brand actually took me the longest to come up with. I wanted something short but impactful, something with substance and not necessarily so obvious. My favorite brand growing up was Nike. It wasn’t till I was older that I found out Nike was the Greek Goddess of Victory. A very fitting title to an athletics brand.
From this inspiration and from my interest in Greek and Roman mythology, I started looking up Latin phrases and I came across one that just stuck with me: A Posse Ad Ese. The phrase means “from possibility to actuality” and it just captured my mentality as I was trying to make this little dream of mine come true. The full phrase is too long as a brand name so I just took the first part and modernized the way it’s spelled to just A.Posse.
3) When did you start A.Posse?
To a certain extent, I want to say since I was that little sneakerhead growing up, haha. I was also very creative and ambitious when I was younger so in some ways I always wanted to start a brand when I could. In the more literal sense, we launched in November 2013 and I was doing development for a full year before that.
Before footwear I was in jewellery and luxury product development and I wanted to take the time to transition as a creative with a brand. I took some amazing courses at FIT (one of the perks of being a NYC resident) on how to actually create and develop designs then I focused on finding the right suppliers.
4) Is there a sneaker company that you would love to do a collabration with, whether they’re up and coming or already established?
Collaboration is definitely a key in today’s ever changing market. But I would say the collaboration I have wanted to do most would be with Jordan Brand and on a pair of Jordan 1s. This style has been a bit bastardized with all the colorways they themselves have done over the years, but I think it’s the epitome of what a high top sneaker should be. I would love to have a take on it myself.
5) When designing your sneakers how do you make sure that the person wearing them is comfortable?
This is really tricky with footwear and not many people know this, there is no standard measurement that all suppliers follow on shoe sizing. There is a general guideline to sizing and I try to stick with that. I also think a key to comfortable shoes is the insole padding and I always communicate to my factory that the insole needs to be padded enough.
6) Getting into the sneaker industry is very hard. How do you keep yourself focused and also relevant?
The focus part is probably the easiest, I love what I do. It’s the passion that drives me and a reason I did not mind taking the risk in starting up my own footwear brand. There will always be ups and downs but I am lucky enough to reach back in this passion when things aren’t going my way to refocus and stay course.
Because of my career background was pretty different than what I am doing now, I have had to learn a lot about communicating my brand and concept to the world. I do this by understanding how social media has impacted the way we all interact with brands these days. I have also found doing events like trunkshows, installations, pop-ups and launch parties a great way to further communicate with people who might not of heard of A.Posse before.
7) Would you stop with sneakers or would you eventually move on to making T-shirts etc?
I think the base of the brand and company will always be footwear. It’s just like the way to a perfect outfit, I always start with the kicks I want to wear for the day haha.
Eventually though I would like the brand to grow to other categories. If I have the time I would love to create a few outerwear pieces encompassing the same ideals as the sneaker line.
8) Was there anyone who gave you guidance when you first started with the idea of making sneakers/shoes?
There was definitely a few people who gave me great advice when I was starting out. The 2 most valuable was my good friend Victor Hsu and relative Herman Wong. Victor has been in the footwear game for about 8 years and I would use to hit him up about the smallest details to the largest concepts of building a brand. Those conversations we use to have were truly remarkable and helped me grow my vision. Herman is my cousin in law who just happens to be the sourcing agent for brands like Superga, Kappa and a few others. He gave me great insight in the production end of the business and I truly treasure his patience during my startup days.
9)What advice could you provide for anyone with an up and coming sneaker line or having an idea about starting a sneaker company?
I think what I have learned to be most valuable the past 3 years is understanding your vision and figuring out how do you communicate this to your audience. It is a very competitive field but if you are true to yourself the audience will connect with your brand and vision.
Check out A.Posse’s website: https://www.a-posse.com/