For Tony Ferguson, quality is not a choice—it is a necessity. The former professional skateboarder had always thought about starting his own line of footwear, and finally did so in September with Rone, a collection of high-end skate shoes. “The timing was right,” says the Vancouver-based Ferguson, who through years of working on various other brands was able to cultivate key relationships with retailers and suppliers to create something that is truly a culmination of his experiences in skating and fashion. This is Ferguson’s first solo venture, and while that means being involved in every part of the process—from design to sourcing, and even manufacturing—it has been enjoyable for the entrepreneur to have more freedom to make decisions. “There is no one to run anything by,” he says. “It can be a struggle because different people will always have different ideas.” Now, with Rone, the vision is all his own.
It paid off. While the line is inspired by skateboarding, it is not just for those who board; anyone with an appreciation for high-quality and sophisticated craftsmanship will inevitably be drawn to the brand (which garnered buzz in GQ and Hypebeast before it had even launched). Each pair of shoes is hand-sewn and manufactured with Goodyear welt construction, and only the highest calibre of vegetable-tanned Italian leather is used. The focus for the brand was to create a product that is relaxed, yet made as if it were a high-end dress shoe—to take an item that is normally considered casual, and elevate it to luxury. These won’t be a pair of shoes that are kept in style rotation for merely a season or two; they’re made to last for years, and get better with age.
Part of Rone’s strategy is to partner with retailers who closely share its passion for craftsmanship and artisanal flair. Currently, the only place to find Rone shoes in Canada is at Haven, which has locations in Toronto and Vancouver. This partnership is key for Ferguson, who sees his ideal customer as “someone who appreciates finer details, and is willing to invest in something that will last”.
Ferguson would eventually like to see Rone have its own flagship store. In the more immediate future, he will be focusing on pushing the brand internationally, as he recently signed with a global sales agency. The next offering from Rone is boots, which will still keep in line with the contemporary skateboarding aesthetic. For Ferguson, it’s all about staying true to the vision—and the details.