I’m Kevin Sefton, the founder of Govan Originals.
Before this story began, I was a (slightly maverick) consultant, helping companies think about their direction, dressing smartly and valuing the Soho shirtmaker who would always give me good service. A technology assignment took me to an old shoe factory where I learned all the steps that go into making high quality footwear. I spent time with the various experts and witnessed the blending of their traditional crafts with more modern techniques
I’ve always been interested in manufacturing, but this encounter struck a particular chord with me. I am particular about the shoes I wear and am often frustrated that “proper” shoes seemed to be limited to a steady stream of near-identical designs. However, I felt I now had an opportunity to make the shoes I always wanted: that were well made in the traditional way and adventurous in their design. If others felt the same as me, I thought, this could be an exciting business; I had found a new startup challenge!
To put this together, I started going to fashion shows and researching what was on the market. It became an intellectual and commercial as much as an aesthetic challenge. At London Fashion Week, I met Joscelyn, a footwear student at the London College of Fashion who was also frustrated by the limited offering among men’s shoes, and had lots of ideas as to what could be done differently. Over time, Jeremy, Arthur and Ellie joined the team. Jeremy had worked in marketing and graphic design for Bally, Arthur was a French intern who’d seen some of the initial designs I’d posted online and Ellie had experience with the British Footwear Association. Together we found a superb family shoe factory in Portugal with a track record of working with large fashion houses.
We wanted to produce shoes that looked elegant from a distance, but would show more and more details and as you got closer. We experimented with various themes and colours, before settling on using mixed textures to achieve what we were looking for. It wasn’t without the odd hiccup, such as the day when forty right soles arrived for forty left shoes, but we learned that the next day was always better.
And here we are today, proudly wearing our first edition collection. On behalf of our friends and everyone who has taken us to this point, we hope you enjoy what we have created as much as we do.