If you aren’t familiar with Travel Fox then grab a seat. Established in 1985 in the Marche region of Monte San Guesto Italy, Travel Fox would go on to carve out their own lane in the highly competitive world of footwear during the 80’s and through the mid 90’s. The company was known for shoes that featured high quality materials such as Italian Napa leather, solid comfort and silhouette’s that stood out among the feet of youth in cities around the world.
They were expensive, finely crafted and of course sported as a status symbol. Like most brands, marketing also played a key role in the success of Travel fox. Their racy advertising during a much more conservative time period stood out among other footwear brands but was immediately banned because of the suggestive nature of the images. In their prime, the company boasted 80 million dollars in sales annually but would eventually fizzle out among legal issues. Fast forward to 2016 and Travel Fox is back in the American market for the first time in nearly 2 decades. DeFY. New York recently caught up with Shawn McIntyre of Vissinternational to talk about the past, present and of course the future of Travel Fox.
Hi Shawn, I appreciate you sitting down with DeFY. New York.
DeFY: Lets go back to the beginning. Where did the name Travel Fox come from?
Shawn: The name Travel Fox originated as a combination between Taiwanese manufacturers Hongson international and and their designer counterparts in Monte San Guesto Italy :
Travel representing leisure, comfort , soft .
Fox:sexy, smart, style.
DeFY: Who were the original owners? Are they involved today?
Shawn: The Owners /manufactures were and still are Taiwanese manufacturing giant Hongson International who incorporated the fine art of Italian design and craftsmanship to produce casual footwear (the art of casualism) that has been a fashion forward icon from its inception. I
DeFY: Lets talk marketing. Travel fox had what a lot of people considered as very racy ads that were supposedly banned. Where did the company advertise?
Shawn: TravelFox advertised in Playboy magazine, Rolling Stone and GQ magazine and even Time Square. There were also some commercials.
The marketing was viewed as so ahead of its time that it won the highest awards in marketing (Clio awards) but was immediately banned because of the suggestive nature of the images. It sparked controversy in an era that was highly conservative in comparison to today .
DeFY: At one point TravelFox was doing an average of 80 Million dollars in sales annually but would eventually go out of business. What happened?
Shawn: That’s correct, TravelFox was doing average of 80million annually in the US market way ahead of any of the bigger brands today with their head office situated in the Rockefeller tower. The brand eventually became embroiled in a huge legal battle with another major brand over a logo infringement involving one of the labels carried at that time by Hongson International .To this effect TravelFox’s retraction from the market was eminent .Under Hongson TravelFox would rest dormant for the next 18 years, their manufacturing relegated to 50 brand name stores in Taiwan while continuing to acquire other major labels to become a manufacturing/owner powerhouse in Asia .
DeFY: Ok, so lets talk the return. Over the past several years I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me personally about where they can purchase Travel Fox footwear and or what happened to the company. What can old and new fans alike expect moving forward?
Shawn: In 2015 with Vissinternational as the official North American distributors we celebrate and reintroduce to the market the TravelFox 30th anniversary line .
We’ve been prepping the market since 2014 with availability in selected sneaker stores in New York ,Miami, Africa and the Caribbean in which we introduced a clean version of our flagship model 900 classic series.
DeFY: Where can fans of the company go to purchase Travel Fox sneakers and or follow all things Travel
Shawn: We intend to engage the market with high energy cross promotion events and marketing campaigns in a lifestyle setting with top celebs and athletes across all genres , while creating a strong social media presence across all platforms .
Go to your nearest retailer tell them you want Travelfox so it’ll be in a store near you !