Where is streetwear headed? This is a question that weâ€™ve all heard one too many times. From â€˜nowhereâ€™ to â€˜everywhereâ€™, streetwear blogs and mags alike have never really found the answer. The first insightful response is made by Karl Oskar Olsen, Creative Director of Wood Wood, in his interview with Format Magazine.
Wood Wood is a Scandinavian label that not only holds streetwear appeal, but has also shown at New York and Copenhagen Fashion Weeks. Featuring muted tones and loose silhouettes for Spring 2009, Wood Wood has found a happy medium between sailor stripes, graphic tees, and khakis for the upcoming Spring season.
â€œWe like to see it as a very wide demographic; as I donâ€™t want it to be a smaller intersect of people that are aware of it. Wood Wood is made for the people.â€
Format: Please state who you are and your role at Wood Wood. Â
Karl Oskar Olsen: I am Karl, Creative Director and Head of Menswear. Brian (Piv Jensen) is Graphic Designer and Head of Collab. Lotte (Bank) is Head of Womenswear and Design Coordinator.
Format: What is the mission and vision behind the brand?
Karl Oskar Olsen: First, when we started the collection we wanted to make something that reflected all the brands in our store. From brands like Bernhard Willhelm, to Comme Des Garcons, to Maharishi, to Nike. Then we came up with the style we are working on now and the consumer we think is the most interesting. Our mission is a company secret.
Format: When and how did Wood Wood come about?
Karl Oskar Olsen: We started it in 2003. First, we just had a shop with tee shirts and small collectorâ€™s items. But soon, we realized that to keep motivation up, we had to keep moving and then we started up our own collection.
After that, we just worked our way to where we are today. We have shops in both Denmark and Germany and very soon two more stores will open.
Format: How does Scandinavian streetwear fashion differ from the rest of the world? What sets you apart?
Karl Oskar Olsen: In my world, streetwear is dead. I think more and more that people are trying to have a more mature approach to their consumer. And by doing so, their streety silhouette has disappeared. In Scandinavia, there has been a boom of new interesting brands that have a more minimalist and down to earth feeling of material and design. Thatâ€™s the main difference from the rest, I think.
Format: You have a more grown-up look in comparison to other streetwear brands. Who is the demographic for Wood Wood?
Karl Oskar Olsen: We like to see it as a very wide demographic; as I donâ€™t want it to be a smaller intersect of people that are aware of it. Wood Wood is made for the people.
Format: You showed for theÂ first time at New York Fashion Week. Why did you decide to show in this environment? Do you feel that it gives more credit to your brand?
Karl Oskar Olsen: As both Brian and I were writers as kids, we always felt something special for NYC. As all our heroes came from that city. Making something there was therefore a dream come true — even if the actual facilities for the show werenâ€™t perfect, it worked out fine. I believe that we tried to break boarders ever since we started up and focused internationally instead of going big in little Denmark, which is fairly easy. Therefore, I think it makes sense to the crowd that follows us that we were representing at NYC Fashion Week, even if we are not so â€˜fashionâ€™. Next time, maybe another city, we will see how it goes.
Format: Who are some of your favorite fashion designers?
Karl Oskar Olsen: Rei Kawakubo and Bernhard Willhelm.
Format: Please talk about your Converse 1HUND(RED) Artists Chuck Taylor Hi sneaker. How did this come about, what was the process like and were you happy with the product?
Karl Oskar Olsen: It seems like a very long time ago that we got involved in this collab. The shoes have been delayed for a while now. But apparently close to dropping. We are super happy how it came through and the small details that weâ€™ve done were fully understood by Converse.
Format:Â You teamed up with Danish Bicycle manufacturer Vision to produce a full carbon fiber framed road bike.
Karl Oskar Olsen: Yes, we have strong relations to road racing as we are cyclists ourselves, or at least me and Brian. Tommy Petersen who owns Webike is a good friend of the house and he convinced us of the idea to try and make the worldâ€™s lightest road race frame. It was a reat con amore project, and we had great fun doing it. The result is amazing. We launched it in Paris and from there it has been showed in Zurich and next in London. We feel that it is very important to have elements like these as a part of our brand so that we donâ€™t get tied up in the endless work of making collections season after season.
Format: What other exciting collabos do you have in the works?
Karl Oskar Olsen: Thereâ€™s one to two extremely inspiring projects in the making, but these are still to be revealed.
Format: Who are a couple designers that you’d love to collaborate with?
Karl Oskar Olsen: Arne Jacobsen and Ray and Charles Eames, but unfortunately they are all dead.
Format: You set up a temporary space in the Comme des Garcons Warsaw Guerilla Store. How did this come about?
Karl Oskar Olsen: They invited us to contribute to the store in conjunction with Comme des Garcons in Paris. We taped the whole store in different patters and had cardboard interior all over. It came out really nice and Comme seemed to like what they saw.
Format: Where will Wood Wood be in 5 years?
Karl Oskar Olsen: Hopefully, the same as now.
More Info: http://www.woodwood.dk