Proper Interview: David Cullen, Unseen Footwear

A long time friend of Proper and head honcho at Roulette store David Cullen is also the brains behind Unseen footwear. An independent luxury trainer brand whose amazing products are designed in the UK and created in Italy using premium materials. So check out what Dave had to say when we (virtually) popped over to his home in Jersey recently to see what he had to say.

So David, first question, what are you wearing on your feet today?

Hi Guys, Thank you for having me. Today I’m wearing a pair of box fresh Unseen white leather trinity’s. This has been our no.1 style from day one.

Have you always been into trainers?

Yes I’ve always been into trainers but I wouldn’t class myself as a sneakerhead. I appreciate design but you won’t catch me queuing up overnight outside a store to cop the latest release.

Being based in Jersey and owning a footwear brand that’s designed in London and created in Italy, how has this year’s drastic events affected the running and production of Unseen?

Where do we start from this year? Italy was first to go into lockdown so our AW20 production was put back 3 months. We were also faced with issues communicating with buyers in the UK because some of them were put on the furlough scheme.

And how has the lockdown affected you on a more personal level?

It’s been challenging and tough at times. Everything moving forward was pretty uncertain and you have to make sure you prepare for the worst. I did however keep myself busy, I was going into the store every day to help facilitate the online orders. I dropped off local orders in my car and also done drop offs daily to Royal mail and DHL. I got plenty of miles in running most days too.

In a world full of different trainer tribes what type of person puts Unseen footwear on their feet?

I feel that the type of person who would buy into the Unseen footwear concept also would buy into the likes of APC, Acne, AMI, Barena, CP company, Oliver Spencer, Norse Projects & Stone Island. I’d also say that they have been a sneakerhead in the past but these days have decided to pick quality over quantity and have an understanding and appreciation or well constructed products. The different styles that we have designed take inspiration from a former favorite sneaker that you wore in the past.

Rather admirably Unseen are much more in favour of understated quality as opposed to hysterical type hype.The ‘sneaker’ world can be pretty ridiculous at times can’t it? What made you take this approach and is it difficult to be heard in a sea of Yeezys and professional resellers?

You’re very correct, I think its very ridiculous but we seem to all want something that we can’t get easily. We therefore put a strategy in place that we would only work with selected retailers. We are happy to not be involved in the re-sell market and grow the brand organically by working with good retailers.

I’m also intrigued as to how products get their name, how do you come up with the ones for Unseen?

I was born in Jersey and currently live on the island. It is split up into 12 Parishes and I decided to call the most commercial shape the Helier after the town Centre St. Helier. I used to run through Trinity from my family home so that’s what the running inspired Silhouette got its name. The Clement reminds me of where the basketball courts were situated and the Saviour was were we had our skate park.

Unseen appears to be big on sustainability too, what measures have you taken to make your footwear as responsibly as possible?

As a brand we have a very low Carbon footprint. All of our components are sourced within a 15 mile radius of the finishing factory.

Have you got any advice or preferred method for keeping your trainers clean?

We work alongside Liquiproof and sell the products on our website. For me personally I spray all my footwear with the premium protector before I wear them and after a days wear I’;l spray them with the premium freshener.

Looking to the future, what’s in the pipeline for Unseen?

We are developing 3 updated styles in Italy as we speak that will all be unisex. We are going to launch a 100% sustainable sneaker with the new campaign that we are very excited about and put a lot of time and effort into getting the sneaker exactly how we want it. We are looking forward to working within the female sneaker market and growing the brand naturally.

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