While sat at my booth at Capsule Paris earlier this year, Kevin van Wijk of VICO came over with a wide smile and introduced himself. After a good in-depth conversation about what he and his brand are up to, ranging from his openness to name the factories he uses, to how it was important for VICO to create their own sole moulds and lasts, all while keeping production in Europe, I knew I wanted to try and share his brand and ethos as best I could.
After a few months of playing email tag, we managed to put a little something together. From smelling his friends shoes as a young boy, to where he see’s the brand going in the near future, check out our interview with Kevin, below –
My name is Kevin van Wijk, son of a Dutch father and French mother. I grew up in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and father of 2 kids.
A true shoe addict since a very young age (smelling your friends new football kicks at the age of 6 is quite strange). After finishing my studies in Business Administration I worked as a product manager/product developer for different footwear brands. In 2011 I decided to make the jump and start VICO together with Dave Hendriks.
At the time we started VICO we saw a lot of retro in the market, a lot of brands doing the same thing and releasing old styles back again. We wanted to create a brand with an anti-retro approach with our own identity. Based on the desire to create our own moulded soles, lasts and uppers.
The inspiration for the collections, and new styles more specifically, come from the travels I make and the places I visit. Cities like Paris and London form a huge inspiration. And when travelling you also meet people with different insights and views on life in general and products.
The most inspirational meetings I have are with Patrick Zamparini, our free-lance designer I work closely together with. Two times a year we sit together a full day, no phones, no laptops and no internet. We just talk shoes we discuss and sketch about what directions we want to go what we want to change. And what kinds of shoes we are dreaming of to make. This is often the start of a new style.
The true amount of financial capital needed. And the way small/starting brands are perceived. No one is waiting for you, you need to create your own space.
Extending the product range (we are planning to make accessories) and making better collections. Basically keep creating and maintain the creativity we have now. And we want open up new markets and find new retailers worldwide.
Passion, (European) Quality, Anti-retro.
Do your research properly, imagine all the problems you could face and multiply these by 100. If it is still worth it, GO FOR IT!
First step get your sourcing right, find a factory that suits your needs. Otherwise it will remain at the stage of drawings and sketches. You needs to make it physical, and for this you need a factory.
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