Cult South Korean handbag brand Gu_de is expanding its footprint — literally.
The label will launch its first range of shoes for spring 2020, riffing on the sophisticated design motifs that have contributed to its success.
Founded in 2016 by Seoul-based designer Ji Hye Koo and her business partner husband, Ethan H.K. Song, the label gained fast notice from homegrown retailers like Beaker and went on to amass a roster of international stockists including Net-a-porter, Selfridges and Moda Operandi.
Prior to launching Gu_de, Koo primarily honed her skills as a footwear designer in the fashion departments of South Korean conglomerates like Samsung. “I love shoes and I wanted to design the kinds of shoes that I would wear,” she told WWD.
Gu_de’s structured bags, often constructed of crocodile-stamped leather, have become street style catnip — with styles mimicking tiny canteens, briefcases and doctor’s bags. They fall into the new cheap-and-chic category of high-design accessories offered at a lower cost. At $450 to $700, Gu_de’s bags fall well under luxury purses by big, European houses.
The label has replicated this pricing structure with its shoes, placing its initial three styles in the $400 to $500 range. As is the case with its bags, all of Gu_de’s shoes will be produced in South Korea.
Three initial styles — two sandals and one flat — are minimal in their approach, with clean lines and sparse details. Each incorporates rings from Gu_de’s formica chain handbag straps in their design. They are scheduled to arrive in stores between January and March 2020.
“I consider the shoes a natural fit with our bags, they are matching in terms of colors and details like our formica ring-shaped materials,” Koo said. “According to my experience, comfort is just as important as the design. I have made an effort to make pretty and comfortable shoes through multiple fitting tests.”
The label’s shoes are in market, with stockists to be announced at a later date.