IDYSM: Hey guys, how’s it going?
Andreas: so much on my mind right now…actually pretty good
Joerg: Crazy times… and I’m happy with it ;-)!
IDYSM: Tell us about VOR – what is it, and what’s your role with the company?
Andreas & Joerg: VOR is a premium footwear brand. Me and my business partner Joerg Rohwer-Kahlmann founded it in 2010. We are detailin` freaks, have extreme enthusiasm and we decisively follow our self-proclaimed goal to create enduring beauties.
It`s not about reinventing the wheel, but about trying to reduce everything to the max. Working with the best materials available and finishing the thing with the most elaborated twist is what we`re after.
IDYSM: Germany is undoubtedly one of the pioneering nations, how inspiring is that heritage for what goes on at VOR?
Andreas & Joerg: Well, let’s say that’s something that always comes along with us, but never really was the main inspiration or motivation. It’s all about the products – there’s so much that made us go crazy for something, no matter if these shoes came from an European or American brand. Nonetheless we would definitely say that our German heritage generally has formed and influenced a lot… let’s say some ‘clichés’ about Germans might also apply to us ;-).
But generally spoken, we have been inspired and influenced by so many multi-cultural things on our way until the foundation of VOR… our roots are definitely here, but we are breathing the air from everywhere.
IDYSM: What do you hope VOR will add to the lineage of Germany’s sneaker history?
Andreas & Joerg: VOR is and will be an authentic and enduring premium footwear brand from Germany with a strong personal spirit and an always very close relationship to its customers. An owner-operated company that will always concentrate on few elaborated products, but therefore providing outlasting and timeless top quality footwear that inspires our consumers towards a refreshing, but reliable and sustainable sense of style in today‘s world of fast-paced trends.
IDYSM: You specialise in timeless classics, what specific influences do you draw on?
Andreas & Joerg: We actually cut our very own path in interpreting any shoe or sneaker style we personally like. So in any given sneaker style there is some basic silhouette e.g. you got Dunks or Forums when it comes to Bball.
We try to abandon anything we think is ‘unnecessary’ and try to focus on the essence of the chosen style. The “essence” is then reinterpreted in our very own way with subtle new elements, a touch of a modern twist (it’s not our mission to simply add another heritage-inspired product to the mass of such footwear) and all translated with premium materials and very skilled workmanship. Specific influence can come from any field of life but as we two are `Schöngeister` (aesthetes) we get inspired by `den schönen Dingen des Lebens` (the finer things in life). We like architecture, interior design, cars, beautiful products in general, travelling, delicious food, music – you name it.
IDYSM: Everything from the build quality of the shoes through to the packaging that doubles as a display case is about celebrating shoe excellence, what do you hope people get from VOR?
Andreas & Joerg: Simply the right thing. A very thought-out product, made from great materials and components, perfected with elaborated, non-fancy details which can add a lot of extra value but no extra (wasted) costs. The customers usually haven’t been aware of what was missing until now – but realize now what they can expect and get as alternatives to all the various mass products.
IDYSM: Where do you see VOR product fitting in the global shoe landscape?
Andreas & Joerg: Well, as mentioned above, we are not trying to reinvent the wheel… but we definitely want to add some delicious spices to the big mass of footwear products. We will at no point release a product just to have something newly released. It will always meet our very own high expectations, not just simply being a ‘fashion product’ (without any negative meaning), but a product with a lot of thought-out ideas and details without being ‘loud’ or ‘in your face’. We are truly convinced by what and how we do it and that VOR is recognised more and more as an authentic, classic and premium brand yet being discreetly different to its competitors to successfully broaden our occupied niche.
IDYSM: Who does VOR product appeal to? What countries, what age, what style of wearer?
Andreas & Joerg: To everybody who appreciates well-made, thought-out and non-mass market products. That is one of our main ideas behind VOR – we always wanted to make superb and refined footwear without any compromises – whoever values things like that will like VOR. No limitation, everybody everywhere is welcome. And fortunately enough, we have customers all over the globe, Japan, Australia, USA, Europe, who like so much what they see and have discovered that they order a pair without having had the possibility to try them on – which is a strong sign of confidence!
IDYSM: We seem to be coming out of the vulcanised shoe domination that existed a couple of years ago. Do you think consumers are now often wanting higher quality shoes that they can invest in and cherish?
Andreas & Joerg: Right… but it’s hard to compare vulcanised shoes with what we do. Vulcanisation is an old outsole construction technique, just think of Chucks. It has a different right to exist. It’s something very iconic, too! It has been there and it will be always there, just with some trend-inspired peak levels that push the awareness of the whole thing to everybodys mind. Same thing with high quality sneakers – they are existing since quite a while now and you could always find customers who appreciated them. Some simply because of having “expensive” goods around them, some because they like and support the use of better materials, craftsmanship and finishing quality in genreal. But what has probably changed is that more and more people (“young” and “old”) start to be tired of simply too many releases of always the same brands in a very short time. So they start looking around what is existing next to it and discover the “alternatives” which many of them are better quality shoes. And some of these are quite exclusive stuff, too, (like our VORs) which makes the whole thing even more exciting.
IDYSM: What does the future hold for VOR?
Andreas & Joerg: Well, there are some really fantastic things in the pipeline, product and non-product related… unfortunately, we can’t talk about them at this stage!
Let’s put it this way, these ideas and plannings keep us positively busy day and night (even dreaming of them ;-)) and will definitely create some essential impact.
What we can definitely say is that we already deeply immersed ourselves in the work on our Generation 3. But as you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
IDYSM: And as always I have to ask…what’s on your feet right now?
Andreas : I’m naked right now…only wearing 2A samples-unlaced as a slipper
Joerg: Some of the final samples of our brand-new “Black & Offwhite” Edition that will be released this autumn. Beauties ;-)!