Why This Designer Is Forging Ahead With a Shoe Launch Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Thakoon is bringing back footwear. The designer, who shuttered his luxury label in 2017 and returned with a new direct-to-consumer business model and more competitive price points two years later, launched shoes on his e-commerce site today. And the looks align with his brand’s “everyday,” accessible aesthetic.

“In the mix with the clothes that I’m designing, they just feel right,” said designer Thakoon Panichgul on the launch, which features a white high-top sneaker and kitten-heel mule in black leather. “Especially now, I’m really into practical pieces that are more designed with great quality and less about fancy, trendy footwear.”



Thakoon sneaker
CREDIT: Courtesy of Thakoon

To Buy: Thakoon High-Top Sneaker, $150.

This isn’t Panichgul’s first foray into footwear. The designer came onto the fashion scene in 2004 and collaborated with Laurence Dacade on the latter’s runway footwear. He also previously worked with Giuseppe Zanotti and partnered with Nine West on a capsule shoe collection in 2006. But it wasn’t until 2014 that he took his biggest plunge into the category — launching footwear for Thakoon Addition, the high-contemporary complement to his ready-to-wear collection.

His latest footwear project, however, debuts in the midst of the unprecedented coronavirus crisis. For Panichgul, though it’s a challenging environment for consumers, he’s found it all the more critical to give them something to look forward to. He told FN, “It’s something that has been in the plan and it’s something that we are passionate about. In this difficult time, while we do understand the stresses that people have incurred, we also believe that it’s more important than ever to champion the things we love and continue to excite people even in some small way.”

Thakoon Panichgul
Thakoon Panichgul featured in FN’s May 26, 2014 issue, posing with his Addition shoes.

While the designer did not address whether manufacturing or shipping for his label has been impacted by the pandemic — shoe production takes place in Portugal —  he noted that the company is “small” and “agile,” allowing it to adjust quickly amid rapid shifts. Plus, Panichgul added that customers are “still purchasing items that are relevant to their lives now.”

Thakoon mule
CREDIT: Courtesy of Thakoon

To Buy: Thakoon Kitten Mule, $195.

Like many designers navigating the current climate, Panichgul is also taking the opportunity to have open dialogue with his consumers. “I’ve been trying to take a really personal, human approach to how we communicate. I’ve started to interact more with our customers on social media, doing Q&As and ‘ask me anythings,'” he said. “I think it’s important to be open and present at this time because we’re all in this together.”

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