IDYSM: Who are you/what is Cabinet Noir?
Ed: First of all thank you for featuring me and Cabinet Noir. We are honoured to be included in this amazing line up of interviews you have done.
My name is Edward, people call me “Edit” in the Hip Hop world, and I’m the founder of Cabinet Noir. I’m a sneaker lover and have been buying sneakers ever since I got my first job (which happened to be working at a sneaker store). My addiction is incurable.
I have retail experience of over 10 years working at major companies such as Foot Locker, adidas, and G-Star Raw. This experience gave me the right tools to build Cabinet Noir.
Cabinet Noir means “black room” in French, which was a secret office to monitor postal communication during the reign of Louis XV. The idea of a hidden room where no one knows its operations was kind of appealing to me.
Cabinet Noir is a concept store for everything premium and rare.
IDYSM: What makes CN unique? What do you do differently to have that point of difference?
Ed: We believe that our number 1 product is customer service, and that is the basis of how we operate as a store. Subtle things like re-lacing your new shoes, free shoe cleaning on Sundays, styling tips and product knowledge will always be offered to every client.
Besides bringing limited edition goodies, and premium products, we also like to bring weird things that allow us to tell stories, such as Loopwheeler cotton tees, Sea Island cotton socks, glow in the dark denim, things that look out of the ordinary, and old school stuff.
IDYSM: Perth is geographically very isolated, but I have been to few places with a more passionate crowd for hot product – what has the reception to CN been like?
Ed: Perth is such a hot property right now. There are so many awesome stores and I can say that we have the best streetwear scene in Australia hands down. Mainly because we’re so isolated that we support our local scene more than any city I know.
We had such an incredible reception when we launched the store late last year.
I feel major part of it is because we have such an awesome crew. Every crew member is so likeable (and good looking) and its hard not to come down without at least saying G’day.
IDYSM: The interest in premium labels seems to be rampant everywhere at the moment. Why do you think this is?
Ed: Well it depends by what you mean with “premium”. If you mean premium labels as designer labels then I think the main driving force is media. Often we see a lot of these premium labels featured on fashion blogs and often we are exposed to seeing iconic celebrities (ie Kanye, Pharrell) wearing them.
But if you mean “premium” as high quality, then we have to give credit to some fashion blogs for giving free information. Consumers are getting smarter nowadays, they know what they’re looking for and they are not afraid to spend more money on higher quality goods.
IDYSM: What defines premium product for you, and what does it take for something to be worthy of stocking at CN?
Ed: Premium to us usually means a higher quality, using mixture of materials and textures with a great attention to details. There are a lot of brands that prefer using old methods to produce apparel and footwear, and that to us is very appealing.
We also like to stock stuff that aren’t necessarily popular. We don’t stick by the rules and the current trends, we like to bring unique products here and there, which allows us to tell stories.
High Quality + Stories = stocked at Cabinet Noir
IDYSM: Where is the sneaker industry at right now?
Ed: We’re still stuck in the retro running and basketball era. However I start seeing more and more of designer sneakers on the streets.
That being said, there is a strong push towards court/tennis shoes. It’s evident as we see adidas pushing their Stan Smiths collection, Le Coq Sportif with Arthur Ashe and Noah Comp, and even Puma is releasing their Boris Becker signature silhouette in the near future.
IDYSM: I’m really interested in the fact that we seem to be stuck between common trends of retro running and progressive tech. Do you think this is a defining era or do you think the 2010’s will be seen as an era struggling to find a sneaker identity of it’s own?
Ed: There’s definitely a huge progression in contemporary sneaker designs. Major companies like Nike and adidas usually aren’t afraid to experiment with new silhouettes and new technologies, so there’s always new excited products up and coming.
I do like independent brands out there staying true to their aesthetics and their brand identity. Brands like Visvim, Roos, Ewing Athletics, Losers, Gourmet, ETQ, Filling Pieces, and Diemme always get my juices flowing.
I think 2010s is all about simplicity and lately we see a huge wave of monochromatic stuff, which I love. But I do miss the 90s where everything was crazy and colourful.
IDYSM: Like brands such as Sneakerboy, it’s been possible to show that Australia is a great breeding ground for Premium fashion retail experiences. I understand you’ve been working hard Internationally to source brands – how have you found the Australian market is seen from overseas?
Ed: Australian market is so tiny compared to Europe, Asia, and America. Tokyo alone has more population than the whole of Australia lol.
However Australia is very tourist friendly which allows retailers to sell high end/premium brands. That being said, we cannot rely solely on tourists. It is our job as a supplier to educate the customers about the brands and give them styling aids to make sure they walk out of the store feeling like a Million Bucks.
IDYSM: What does the future hold for CN?
Ed: The future is bright for CN. We are launching our online store soon, and we have few projects we’re launching soon.
We hope we can one day work with major brands to release our own Cabinet Noir collaboration #luxurygoods too 😀
IDYSM: Last question, and it’s the one I end all In Their Shoes interviews with; what’s on your feet right now?
Ed: Damn I usually rock my J’s on weekends, but on weekdays I like to wear random stuff. Today I’m rocking Wolf Grey Penny 1, since I’m really into my Big Bang Theory at the moment.
“Penny (knocks 3 times) Penny (knocks 3 times) Penny” – Sheldon reminds me.
For more info on Cabinet Noir click here.