Editor_Jiyoung Oh

Photography offered by grds


Please introduce us about your brand.
grds creates inspired sneakers. Those who make grds inspire others, and those who wear grds inspire others.
grds sneakers are all known to be made in Italy. What is the reason for making it in Italy in particular?
When I started the initial brand, I did not have the ability to design and develop it myself. So I went to the company to develop and produce Korean footwear in Seongsu-dong, Busan, but it was hard to find a person who could implement the idea that I wanted to realize.
grds' products are comfortable to wear, simple design and detail, and durable. What is the most worrying and nervous part of your product?
Comfortable fit should have a nice last and material, and make people feel comfortable when walking. My father is a foot specialist and I have been receiving his know-how for 20 years and I have been very careful about the balance of design and technology in my outsole. It took eight months only for developing the outsole, and it was a lot of trial and error before it was finished.
Before launching a brand, or even now, it seems that you are constantly worrying about materials and fit to complete the best sneakers for "daily walkers." It seems that the trial and error have been going through a lot. 
As I mentioned above, it took eight months only for developing a pure outsole, except for the outsourced design period. I look at Swatch carefully, choose colors and make samples but sometimes I do not like it. It takes time to make sample again and receive it from Italy. The hardest thing is that the silhouette, material and design detail of the shoe should fit exactly, but if you do not like it, you have to keep making it until you like it. Each one of the very small details like eyelet material and size, color and thickness of the sewing thread, suede material, and logo detailing are constantly modified, and finally the finished product comes out.
From May 11th to 14th, a pop-up shop will be opened to showcase brand archives and 2017 S / S collection under the theme of 'grds, to inspire' in Hannam-dong. What kind of story are you going to put there?
Describes past, present, and future of grds. The past shows that I have done my personal work or studying before creating a brand. I compressed the whole process of creating a brand. It now covers topics in design, technology, craftsmanship and prototypes. The design shows the meaning and work of B.I., and how to develop shoe design. Next, technology demonstrates the process of incorporating proprietary technology based on this design. Craftsmanship introduces Italian partners who work with the shoes process created by Italian craftsmen who embody design and technology. Finally, the prototype exhibited 150 prototype 'prototypes' from early 2014 to May 2017. The future shows the direction of 'inspirational sneakers' in simple words, spaces and images. 
What are the concepts and features of this 2017 S/S?
The 17S / S began to look for the formative beauty found in everyday objects with the theme of 'study of form', and during the research, the furniture and architecture made in the Bauhaus movement were impressive. The design of Bauhaus is functional but beautiful. Especially, the strong primary color which symbolizes Bauhaus is widely used, but I wanted to apply it beautifully to my shoes. Typically, mule-shaped sneakers use neoprene and band on the rear axle to comfortably wrap their feet and wear them off. And the basic slip-ons and tennis sneakers put on the intense Bauhaus colors and show simple but functional and beautiful.

What is the sensitivity of grds?
Faithful to the basics. Simple but fit well anywhere.
grds' slogan is 'sneakers to inspire.' What, then, is the opposite of what grds is inspired to do?
It seems to be inspired by artists. I was inspired by Olafur Eliasson in my early twenties. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and discuss with him at PKM Gallery Solo opening for the first time. I also like and support the work of artist duo named ssbkyh Shin Seung Baek/Yong Hoon Kim from the beginning. Music, books, videos, and many other elements are influential, but I also get inspired when I do nothing.
You have been leading the brand for about two years, starting in May 2015, and how it seems to have led the brand in the meantime?
In the early days, I worked with one employee and had to do most of the work alone, such as planning, public relations, Italian manufacturers and domestic company meetings. In short, I have been working 24 hours a day because I had to do everything and as the brand became bigger, I hired one more employee. Now, I have an employee in the office and another person is in charge of the store entirely. They are motivating employees to work autonomously and efficiently. I think it is my role to create an environment in which we can freely communicate ideas and ideas. I trust the staff, but whatever I do, I finally review and confirm it so that I do not make mistakes. I do not want to work moderately.
What are you most interested in these days?

What if there is a new plan for grds this year?
I will introduce an editorial in June with domestic brands with a theme as 'Seoul', and in the second half of the year, we are planning more interesting things together.

Maps Magazine