If Romeo wore sneakers (and also happened to be a stylish hipster) House of Montague would surely be his brand of choice. Former FIT student and designer Martin Ahn takes us inside for a look at his fashion forward footwear collection that includes a wide range of handsomely made sneakers in a variety of styles and colors. The Capulets would be totally jealous.
House of Montague exclusive lookbook video
two+seven: Congrats on this new found business! The collection is fantastic and we are so excited to hear more about your business an as a designer. I know while attending FIT we spoke a lot about next steps for you and that creating a footwear line was in the works. How do you feel finally having this dream come true?
Martin Ahn: It is sort of unreal in away because I started drawing some of these sneakers even before I attended FIT, about 5-6 years of ago, so having the actual shoes in my hand the first time was fucking crazy! I remember just sitting and staring at the protos send from our factory in Portugal for an hour or so before even going into the details and small correction that had to be made. The dream is becoming a reality and it feels weird when people are complimenting me on the shoes during tradeshows we attend. We had the fashion director from Monocle magazine coming straight to our stand, which was hidden down in the farthest corner, to look at the collection. It was weird to hear that he really liked it and wishing my partner and I good luck for the future. But all in all it a fantastic feeling to work and succeed in make ones dream a reality, now I just have to keep pushing so I may live the dream in the future.
2+7: So of course we want to know all the deets on the founding on the brands name “House Of Montague”? Where did this originate from?
MA: Well the name comes from the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. It’s the name of the house where Romeo is from but I first took notice of the name in a song by the Artic Monkeys. I had other names for the brand in mind but somehow House Of Montague just stuck with me and slowly everything came together like a puzzle. The name went well with the logo I had in mind, which is a crest and the fact that I named all the shoes after girls, like Romeos obsession with different women. Therefore, I decided on House Of Montague.
2+7: Ex-girlfriends eh? Most of us want to forget about our ex’s but you seem inspired by them. How did this come about and how do they influence the collection?
MA: Well, unlike a lot of people I have a pretty good relationship with most of my ex’s but the shoes in the collection are actually to some point inspired by the person they are named after. Not saying that when I designed each shoe I was thinking of the person in that specific moment but the first shoe I designed was the style MALENE, which is inspired by a Chuck Taylor silhouette. My first girlfriend back in the 9th grade, Malene, always wore Chucks when we dated, so it was kinda obvious that she would get the first shoe. Another silhouette, ROZANNA, is inspired by a derby shoe and named Rozanna, because like her personal style, its classic but with a twist. So the shoes relates to each girl in some way.
2+7: If you could describe House of Montague in a few words what would they be?
MA: Classic with a contemporary twist.
2+7: The collection seems it would meet the need of different men. If you could pick “the guy” that would wear the collection what is he like?
MA: I am that guy, I design shoes for my self to be honest. I always think about what I want in a shoe and what I believe is missing or could be fun to change in current silhouettes.
2+7: Where do you pull inspiration from?
MA: The Inspiration comes from everywhere but I always start a new design by looking at shoe silhouettes that I like and build from there. I spend a lot of time looking at pictures that captures people on the street, blogs like the Sartorialist, Jak and Jill, and Guerreisms are great because they capture peoples individuality and uniqueness. Music is of course another big source of inspiration, I NEED music when im drawing or else I cannot work.
2+7: Where are you sold?
MA: At the moment House Of Montague is only sold in stores around Europe and Asia but we are shipping to the US through our webshop found on the website.
2+7: What’s next and where do you see the collection going?
MA: Next move is to keep it going and be consistent in every collection I put out, which is the most important. I believe that if we stay consistent and introduce fresh ideas in every collection success is evident, just have to be patient. We are trying to expand through out the european and asian markets with help from agents and distributors, and acquire the best accounts in every major city in Europe and Asia.
“Hopefully we are able to introduce some new “girls” in the coming seasons but I think four is more than enough for guys to handle around the world for now. ” -Martin