Featuring a shade-sporting, cigarette smoking MSN emoticon, and reading “I Am The Boy You’ve Heard About,” wemoto’s The Boy t-shirt from their 2008 collection is both a satirical look at attention starved streetwear heads and an ironic proclamation for the obscure brand from Germany. Non-descript outerwear covering up loud graphic tees parallels this sentiment – wemoto is an original, fresh streetwear brand that mysteriously flies under your radar, but once you uncover the line, it is branded permanently. If you don’t know, now you know.

“Make the party on the t-shirt, and chill with the rest.”

Format: Please introduce the members of wemoto and discuss their respective roles in the company.
Gregor Garkisch: wemoto is the little baby of Patrick Lotz, Stefan Golz, and me, Gregor Garkisch. Patrick is mainly working on our tradeshow rooms and installation. Stefan is doing all the designs and artwork, and I’m responsible for the marketing and sales stuff. The good thing about wemoto is, that we have the same taste, and want to give wemoto the same direction. So I think we all complement one another really well.

Format: wemoto is located in Germany. Please describe the streetwear scene there at the moment.
Gregor: Of course we got a streetwear scene, but compared to other European countries it seems to be really small. Here people don’t dig for let’s say “individual clothing.” Of course they wear skatebrands and stuff, but only the money driven brands. And that’s definitely not what it should be all about.

Format: You all live in small towns in a country not associated with streetwear in the first place. How have you been able to break into the market?
Gregor: Yeah we don’t live in one of the biggest cities in Germany, and of course it had been easier for us, if we would live in Berlin, Hamburg. At the beginning in 2003 Stefan and I used to be students and Patrick worked regularly nine to five. It was not like OK we start a brand and break up everything. It was a naturally process of growing and constant work. So over the years we build up our contacts and stuff. Nowadays we are really well connected and there is no need to move in another city. Stay true to your roots.

Format: What unique opportunities does being in Germany present wemoto?
Gregor: To convert 80 Million people for a good taste of clothing. Wow.


Format: To what degree have you struggled to break into the North American market?
Gregor: Not really, but we used to have some really good store representing in North America. But all of them stopped buying wemoto, because of the very very bad dollar exchange course. But for the current collection we will work out a dollar price list, so that the prices will be stable again for coming customers in North America.

Format: How do you feel the general European market differs from the North American market?
Gregor: Because of our culture, I think the European market is not so shiny and bling bling. You will hardly find someone wearing a gold chain and a watch big as a brick. Don’t understand me wrong, it’s absolutely ok for the US and we are fine with that, but that’s definitely not the European way to present themselves. We like everything a little bit more low key.

Format: Being in Germany allows you an outsiders view of the North American streetwear market. What are your opinions of streetwear in the United States and Canada?
Gregor: We got the feeling that it is huge. Of course we see brands that we feel and others we don’t feel. But no doubt some of the best brands streetwear wise are located in North America. We really love stuff like Ransom, Stussy, or Dr. Romanelli.

Format: To what degree has skateboarding been an influence in wemoto’s aesthetic?
Gregor: We are really skateboard related. All of us are active members in the old man skateboard association, nah just kidding. But we got some years down. I think people who have ride a board seriously, changes their senses. It support their creativity massivly, especially in the time when we started skateboarding, and everything was so undeveloped. This experince has stamping our whole life. And I think that ist he reason why so many artists, streetwear brand owner, designerm do have a skateboard background.


Format: Many of your t-shirts are satirical graphic prints, but for outerwear, you keep it clean and simple. Why the disparity?
Gregor: That’s a good question, and it’s really simple for us to answer. In general we make clothes we like to wear [laughs]. We like t-shirts with deliberate graphics which are funny but still cool. Regarding outerwear we are more into good cuts, materials and some nice colour combinations. So we like them outerwear clean. We don’t like flashy printed all-over hooded zipper or jackets. Make the party on the t-shirt, and chill with the rest.

Format: Please discuss the importance of collaborations to wemoto.
Gregor: Of course we are down for collaborations and we like the idea of supporting each other. But sometimes it’s a little bit stupid, doing one t-shirt collabo after another. We think collaborations are a really dope when you got the opportunity to create a new product, you usually don’t have the possibility to do.

Format: wemoto’s 2006 booth from the Bright tradeshow was featured in Tactile. How important are tradeshows to wemoto? What inspired the booth?
Gregor: Tradeshows are really important to us. You meet old friends make new friends, make some business and basically have a good time. So this year we will exhibit at Bread and Butter Barcelona, Bright Tradeshow Frankfurt, and expected Boutique Fräsh in Stockholm.

The Booth you are talking about was inspired by a 3D CHILL Sign, we saw in one of our accounts. We talked about how dope this sign looks like. Stefan did the design and Patrick was confident that he could build this graphic in 3D with cardboard, so that’s basically it. Patrick was not seen for one month and really built the whole stand with cardboards and glue. He’s a true MacGyver.


Format: ArtSchool Vets hosts a wemoto blog. How have you felt about the transition into this medium?
Gregor: David Fischer from Highsnobiety, who is also involved in artschoolvets asked us to be a part of the site. artschoollvets try to approach the German internet user, that’s why all the writing is German. We think this is a great approach, because as said before Germany is streetwear developing country and need some education.

Format: What do you feel the effect of the Internet has been on streetwear?
Gregor: I think the Internet made everything happen. Without the Internet nothing of this would be there. It’s a whole different approach to fashion. People with little money but with visions and a creative workflow have the possibility to show what they have to offer. Everybody has the possibility to make clothing and start their own brand, just buy some shirts and bring it to the printer the rest is up to you. That’s so dope!!

Format: wemoto runs an online store. What effect does this have on sales versus traditional wholesaling?
Gregor: We set a high value to the traditional wholesaling. We really try to support our accounts, and we prefer when our customers shop at a store where they live. The reason why we launched our own online store is, that our network of shops don’t cover the demand of our customers. Because of our very own online store peeps got the possibility to get wemoto no matter where they are located.

More Info: http://www.wemoto.de/


Shane Ward

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