From sneakers to boots, our shoes carry our stories with them. This is one of the things luxury sneaker brand Woollier hopes to find resonates with their shoes. By incorporating storytelling into their shoe, the Dreamer, the brand hopes to have a message that will not only connect, but become a reflection of the wearer as well.
Woollier was born from an idea that was originally a dream. Founded by Aaron Leon, the brand came to fruition after Leon realized he wanted to pursue a different career than his job in finance. As he refocused on his career aspirations, he discovered that sneakers were the meeting point for all of his passions, interests and skills. Although he was never your typical sneakerhead growing up, Leon always had a love for sneakers. In 2014, he connected with artisan factories in Italy to have his first batch of samples manufactured.
The name Woollier comes from Charles Darwins’ theory of natural selection. One of the animals Darwin observed was a flock of sheep during the cold winters. Each winter Darwin had noticed that it was always the wooliest sheep that would survive, with each generation becoming woollier and woollier.
Likewise, Woollier represents the new generation who add their own original concept, design and execution to classic old school silhouettes. It’s about recognizing the rich history of sneakers while trying to refresh them and make them relevant. It includes that aspect of nostalgia, but also keeps the conversation going.
When Leon launched his first collection, Woolliers’ business model was more based on relationships and word of mouth which relied on his personal network. It didn’t implement any advertising, and if you knew it, you knew it. Regardless, Leon was still able to score high profile clients, such as Dwayne Wade.
In 2019, Leon collaborated with stylist Vick Michel to create The Dreamer. The design takes the classic low silhouette but takes it forward by adding an innovative lace construction. Each sneaker is also handcrafted and made from premium materials including calfskin from Italy. The sneaker itself represents a reset that uses deeper meanings and storytelling to support hard-working dreamers. Dreamers are active and not passive. It is something that you have to achieve every day. You have to work hard to make your dreams come true, says Leon about the vision he wants to associate with the shoe.
The story behind The Dreamer becomes even deeper when you consider how its initial downfall was planned before the pandemic hit in 2020. The combination of COVID and social unrest had put Woolliers’ business on hold, and Leon was planning to quit as the future became more difficult. At the end of the day, I can’t have a sneaker called The Dreamer and then give up on my own dreams, says Leon.
Still, one of the benefits of the pandemic was to create casual pieces and streetwear. the orient oneself. It’s similar to the LA aesthetic where even though you’re dressed up you’re still not super dressed because you’ll find a way to make it a little more casual. This aesthetic has also reached cities beyond California and has contributed to the exciting energy of menswear.
However, the sneaker space has also become oversaturated with this energy. To differentiate Woollier in a crowded market, Leon hopes to communicate his unique history and perspective. He adds his story told through The Dreamer to the conversation because it cannot be replicated by any of the big sneaker brands.
To create his creations, Léon always wonders what is missing in his closet, to answer also, what will make Woollier convince others that my sneaker deserves a place in their closet? This goes back to the question of whether or not customers will be impressed with the message Leon communicates through Woollier, and whether they are willing to use Woollier to be reflected in their personal style.
Leon sees Woollier becoming a household name. It is a unique feeling to see someone walking down the street with something that you have made. It’s a feeling that I want more often.
Posted on April 7, 2021