Earlier this week, I travelled to Manchester with two photographers from Mainline Menswear, Terri and Jesus. The purpose of our trip was to chat to Tim Lancaster, the brand manager for Android Homme. One of the leading luxury footwear brands, which is rapidly increasing in popularity. So we’ve asked Tim all the questions you could want to know about Android Homme. Giving you further insight into the story behind the brand, and some aspirations for the future.
Tim looked pretty nervous at first. Surrounded by trainers in an all-white showroom. I don’t think he expected how much camera equipment we’d bring with us and how in the spotlight he would be – literally.
After we’d set up the frame, Tim leaned anxiously against the wall, ready to begin the interview. His darting gaze gave the impression he’d not done much like this before. But as we began talking about Android Homme you could see his nerves melt away.
First off, we wanted to know how he would describe Android Homme, and what they stood for.
Tim Lancaster: Android Homme is an LA luxury sneaker brand. We’ve been going for six years now, but were actually one of the pioneers of this premium level of footwear products. The guys behind Android Homme have always tried to deliver a product that sits in the market below mainline products, but above everything else. We’re very much a night-time brand, challenging in terms of material fabrication. A truly different aesthetic to normal sneakers which are usually sportswear driven.
Mainline Menswear: So how would you describe your target audience or core customer?
TL: That would be anyone who wants night-time footwear, or aspirational products. Guys looking for premium footwear, at a more accessible price. Amazing quality, made in Italy products, but without having to break the bank too much.
MM: Whereabouts does Android Homme fit into the current market trends?
TL: I think they actually do a brilliant job of skirting in between all of the trends. There’s a massive trend in footwear for premium, aspirational footwear. But every time I go to trade shows, I see everyone trying to mimic each other. What Android Homme does is a much different aesthetic; everything is tailored to luxury night-time products. It’s for guys who are going out on Friday night or Saturday night. They need a pair of trainers they can get into clubs and bars in. We like to call Android Homme trainers jewellery for the feet, as that’s exactly what it is. They fit into the whole lifestyle, guys have got the nice watch, the fast car, the luxury holidays, and they need premium footwear to go alongside that.
By this point, Tim was much more relaxed, feeling at ease in front of the camera. So we moved onto talking about the future of Android Homme. Firstly, where would he see the brand in ten years’ time?
TL: In ten years, I think we’ll be producing more premium sneakers. Still challenging in terms of fabrication and sole unit innovation. I see it being in more widespread distribution across the world, and probably with a clothing line to go with it as well.
MM: What about the market? That’s constantly changing and evolving, how do you see Android Homme evolving alongside it?
TL: Well, I think the way that Android is pitched in the market is that, unless guys stop going out on Friday and Saturday night, they’ll always be a place for us. We’re perfectly in tune with that side of the market and perfectly fit with that consumer. Trends come and go, they may last 6 months, they may last 2 years, but a trend will always have a start and a finish. What Android Homme does is fulfil a need, and that need will always be there. Unless guys stop going out then they’re always going to need trainers that look smarter and will allow them to go out and have a good night. So in that sense, where we’re pitched is perfect to maintain the business, and just keep growing from there.
MM: Is there any particular brand that you aspire to be like?
TL: Hmm, tough question. I think Y3 is a very good brand which shows innovation in how it’s developed over the 12 years it’s been going. How it challenges shapes and make ups in men’s footwear. It’s really moved the market on and causes guys to wear new things, normally things that they wouldn’t have even considering wearing three or four years ago.
TL: I think celebrity culture is an amazing thing in terms of commerciality. Obviously, Kanye West is an amazing influencer, and also a fashionista in his own right. Anything he touches turns to gold, so to have any collaboration or working with him in any way could only be a good thing. So him, Justin Bieber, Jay-Z; anyone with 5, 10, 15, 30 million Instagram followers, because that’s the culture of the world we live in.
MM: Whereabouts is Android Homme most popular?
TL: Actually, the market we’ve developed in the UK is the strongest market worldwide at the moment, and Europe is the one we’re most working on developing.
MM: So what would you say to someone considering buying from Android Homme for the first time? What’s unique about your brand that could sway guys from leaving big retailers like Nike or Adidas and buying from you instead?
TL: The aesthetic. Other brands are more casual, sportswear sneakers. They’re just daytime; Android Homme is so much more aspirational. And I keep referring back to this, but night-time is the perfect description of it. It really sets it apart and gives it a different take and a different view.
MM: So we’re looking for something less commercialised than most. With this in mind, what kind of brands stocked by Mainline Menswear do you think would work well with the Android Homme vibe?
TL: Probably something like Versus Versace, as it has a similar sort of aesthetic and consumer appeal. It’s very premium and night-time, with black and dark colours, giving it a similar look and feel, which would certainly go hand in hand with us. Then also very cool brands like Y3 and Blood Brother; it would be great to work with those guys.
So finally, we asked Tim what his favourite pair of trainers were. After looking around the room for inspiration, he eventually glanced down at his own feet, deciding that his favourite was what he was wearing at the time.
TL: Anything on our Alpha line of trainers. They’ve got a tennis pump make up, rubberised gum-leather finish, and really cool fabrication. What I’m wearing now has a sort of coated snakeskin finish, with gold tipping details, which really give them a different look and feel.
At this point, Tim was able to relax. With the interview over, we’d uncovered more of the story behind Android Homme than we’d expected to at the start. The trainers have a clear place in the market, and it looks like they’ll be there to stay.
If you want to check out the Android Homme products for yourself, or any other brands mentioned above, visit our website here to browse our extensive range of stock. The full video interview with Tim Lancaster will be online soon, so you can check out some of the shoes he’s talking about in more detail, and get a glance into where the brand is set up.