Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Interview with Valentijn Merkens (from Amsterdam shoe Co)

There's quite a few shoe brands from Amsterdam out there at the moment. They came up fast. In terms of minimalism, quality and craftsmanship there's a new player on the block that really stands out: Amsterdam shoe co. A shoe brand  founded by Valentijn Merkens. With quite a large collection, his products truly amaze us. Contemporary, simple and on point. We decided to stock Amsterdam shoe Co at our store (!). So here's an interview to get to know Valentijn and his brand a little better:

What is your name, age and were did you grow up?
My name is Valentijn Merkens, 27, grew up in the south of Amsterdam, born and raised

How did your passion for shoes came to be?
I’ve had an interest in the production process behind products for a very long time. I wasn’t aware that I had a passion for shoes until I heard it later on from people around me. Apparently I already had quite a lot of shoes when I was around sixteen. But still, I think for me, the thing I love most about it is creating a product from beginning to end. And shoes are a very grateful and rewarding product to do that with.

Why was it important to incorporate the city Amsterdam into your company?
First of all, I was looking for a very basic name, not a catchy brand name. In the old days your company would just be named after the product you made and the town where you’re located. So that was the Amsterdam Shoe Company, plus I thought it conveyed the right image of the type of shoes that I want to make, it’s an honest, straight forward, simple name.

And with Amsterdam in the name I also had the opportunity to make the wide range of shoes that I want to make within the label’s aesthetic. In Amsterdam the winters can be cold, the summers can be hot, we have an urban city-center and proximity to a lot of water whether it’s the canals or the open water of the lakes and the sea.

What is your ultimate goal with Amsterdam shoe co?
My goal is to make some great footwear that people like. I think we’re at a good point now where we’re creating something that is not there in the market yet. It’s not groundbreaking footwear but it’s something that people are missing. Of course, growth is a goal as well, but it doesn’t have to be the next big thing. We’re doing quite well in the Netherlands and Australia and we’ve added a couple of nice stores in other countries as well so nice and steady it goes.

What can we expect from Amsterdam shoe co in the future?
There are some exciting new things coming up. Some new styles, such as a tassel moc, a wingtip, a boat shoe. We’re definitely going laceless next summer, quite a few slip ons and even the wingtip can be worn without laces because of the elastic goring inside. We also have some new types of leather, such as nubuck, horse leather and a beautiful woven leather. And to finish it off we’re getting creative with some new colorways and outsole types.
Can you name us a celebrity with a proper taste for shoes and tell us why?
Uhm, I’ve never really thought about this. One name that comes to mind is Ryan Gosling, he knows how to appreciate a good loafer, a dress shoe and a boot. That type of versatility can only be applauded.

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