Introducing… Wollow

From time to time, we like to shine a little light on things that have caught our eye. One such brand is Wollow, a footwear brand created by Martin Jørgensen, ex of Levis. We caught up with him on his journey to this point.

Martin, can you tell us about Wollow and what motivated the brand?

The main idea behind WOLLOW is the OPEN silhouette. The idea came to me almost 10 years ago and it has been a very slow and quite nerdy development process before l launched in Paris last summer. 

I wanted to develop an idea around a sandal / sneaker hybrid to merge with my passion for product design. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s wearing Converse and Vans and I always had a soft spot for vulcanized shoes and love the whole Americana vibe that was a big part of my 10 years working with Levi’s. 

Another passion for me is vintage cars and car design in general. A beautiful car needs to look good from every angle to be harmonious. I work with that as a concept when designing footwear. 

As a brand we are very much motivated by bringing something different to the market. Both in terms of design, but also in terms of working with sustainable and new technical materials. We really want to show that it is possible to have a responsible approach and at the same time design products that are new and relevant. 

What is your background before Wollow?

I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years. 

I started working for Levi’s in retail. Later I worked at Levis HQ in Copenhagen where I was responsible for the LVC line (Levi’s vintage clothing) and later started my own retail space; working with brands including Acne, LVC, ADIDAS, NB, Vans, WOOD WOOD and Norse Projects. 

Back in 2008 I created my own brand and designed it together with my younger brother. During this time we worked with stores such as Voo Store in Berlin and Reed Space on the Lower East Side in New York. 

I was out of the industry for 4 years where I worked on the OPEN concept and at the same time studied an old Japanese bodywork philosophy. I think that WOLLOW is born from a nice mix of my past experience. 

Describe Wollow as a brand and what the goal is/and was at the beginning?

I work more with ideals and not so much with big goals. For me it kind of ruins the joy of the process to have a huge goal and it puts too much preasure on me. I hate working under strong pressure, It kills all the creativity. 

For me WOLLOW is most of all a creative space where I want to push the industry into a more sustainable direction. I feel we have a strong, unique design with the OPEN and the dream is that WOLLOW will find its own small place in the footwear market. 

Of course we are aiming to create a business, but at the same time we want to inspire and be a part of a movement towards a more responsible approach to fashion. 

You are big on sustainability, can you explain a bit more about these values within Wollow?

On one hand, I love all the ever-changing vibes that are closely connected to what is happening in the world around us. On the other hand I am very aware that we are producing way too much stuff and that fashion is one of the most damaging industries for our planet. As a parent I find it hard to take part in something that will have such a negative impact for future generations.

But I do also find that this specific industry has a unique power of creating cohesions across cultures and religions. This feeling of cohesion is crucial if we want to change things on a global scale. I hope by introducing new materials and ways of working, we can inspire other brands to use new methods and fabrics. 

I try to keep WOLLOW as a very narrow concept. All designs are based on the same shape, which allows us to work with very low minimums when we are developing our footwear. This way, we can work without seasonal stock and we do not put our footwear on sale. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the product itself and its evolution/fabrics used and what’s coming next?

The thing I personally find cool about the OPEN is that we manage to make it totally odour free.

I think we all tried to wear our sneakers without socks on a summer day and it does not smell very nice. So when developing the OPEN is was an obstruction, since we wanted people to be able to wear them without socks.

We found a company that is researching within the area of moisture management and we used their anti- bacterial technology on a recycled polyester that we use as our lining. Together with our chrome-free bio suede, we have created an upper for our footwear that is fully breathable and odour free. 

Our footwear and our components are all made from within the EU, which keeps shipping within the production circle to a minimum. Also by producing within the EU, we are sure that the basics are covered in terms of working conditions.  We are also member of the 1% for the planet organization, founded by Yvon Chouinard from Patagonia, where we are committed to donating at least 1% of annual sales directly to environmental organisations. 

As a next step we are working on becoming a B Corp Certified company. 

Where is the brand selling well and what are the plans going forward? Do you ever want a store/s?

It is way too early for us to say where it is selling well at this point. Now we are looking for the right partners in the different markets to help us build the brand and tell our story. 

We have started to gain some attention around the world and we also feel that the UK could be one of our key markets as it has a strong tradition for high quality, well crafted designs.  I would of course also love to open our own store and be able to welcome people into our universe. But we are just a small start-up company and at this point we do not have the financial power to make that move. 

 Describe Wollow to us in five words? 

That’s is a difficult one. I always admired people who are able to express them selves with few words, but that is not my strength, my mind is not wired like that. So I have to pass on that one. 

Where can we find you?

For now you can read about us at our website where the OPEN is also avaliable in our 6 ongoing colours. In London you can also find our footwear in Aida in Shoreditch in both mens and womens sizes. 

We are introducing a closed silhouette called the Tarmac by the end of September this year.

Mark Smith

I had pizza for tea.

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