Italian outdoor footwear brand Demon — founded in 1963 and dormant since 2004 when the family decided to close up shop — is back. It’s still family-run and the name remains unchanged, but this version of Demon is darker and more style-conscious than ever before.
Brought back to life by the Deon family in 2018, under the vision of Alberto Deon as the main art-director, Demon is now sold exclusively by Slam Jam. That co-sign already gives an indication as to what direction and demographic circles the brand wants to be moving in. A lot of that has to do with Deon’s age and own interests, as he functions as a jack-of-all-trades in reviving the company.
“I had the idea to exhume the brand several years ago,” Deon explains. “Right now, I function as the creative director, which means I do a little bit of everything. I re-imagined the products’ design, as well as the graphical identity of the brand itself.”
Following the brand’s release of three new styles — the Poyana, Graelòn, and Carbonàz — in late 2020, Alberto explained his vision for the new-age Demon and how it manages to balance its heritage while going in a totally new direction.
Why was the brand discontinued initially in 2004?
It's quite a typical situation. With the passing of the generation between my grandpa and his children, some things didn't work out, so the brand was put aside for a little bit. Fortunately, the brand was kept alive in a bureaucratical sense, and I was able to exhume it.
I say exhume because what was brought back to life is what Demon represented in its industry and territory, far more than the actual design. The identity of the brand has been completely switched to a new type of sensitivity, which is mine and my generation's.
How has the brand repositioned itself?
When the brand was created, Montebelluna was very much an industrial focal point for Italy and there was not the awareness around design that we have today. So, I think that when we resumed the brand, my idea was to reinterpret the brand’s heritage and archive of details and information. I had to undertake a sort of curatorial approach in selecting and orchestrating the elements of the new designs.
How would you describe the heritage of Demon now?
Well, the product is aimed at being an exact combination of something that is traditional and familiar but also something that is forward-looking and innovative. I don't want to bore people with the design but I don't want to also be in that boat of people trying to exaggerate things and pump volumes and pump trends.
What makes the brand different from traditional hiking brands?
Obviously, it's more of a lifestyle brand rather than a hiking brand, but hiking is our [language]. Hiking serves as a world of references. It's a world of detail. It's a world of familiar objects or designs.
What materials do you guys use?
We use Vibram soles. That's the starting base for everything in the outdoor environment. We use PUtek and we use Cordura. Actually, the materials side is the one that, from our perspective in our project, is the most adhering to the outdoor.
What is your vision for the brand going forward?
We have been working with fossils and are using 3D scans and disruptive technologies to study stones. Archeological findings and the depth of this exploration is the future of the brand. We want to keep refining and refining and corroborating the vision of the brand. The idea is always to go deeper and closer to our idea of what this region and, in turn, the brand’s heritage is.