Velt is a footwear label designed by Stefan Rechsteiner and Patrick Rüegg that explores the possibilities of new, contemporary shoe design produced using classic methods. Its success is based on a creative idea and conceptual dialogue that allows the appropriate results to be accomplished with conventional materials.
The results of their work are collector’s items, which, despite their conservative nature, boast a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ and can be combined with everyday wear. Velt’s high standards, and the young label’s efforts to develop a shoe for today, were recognised by the jury of the most prestigious design award in Switzerland; with their debut collection, Velt won one of the 2013’s Swiss Federal Design Award.
Patrick Rüegg and Stefan Rechsteiner insist that design and manufacturing coexist because only then can a holistic product be fashioned. The duo develop their ideas and prototypes in their Berlin design studio, and these are then manufactured in their factory in Switzerland.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. We both come from Zurich and we met up during our studies in product design at university nine years ago. We became friends and we spent a lot of our free time together since. As we both were already working on shoe projects and also for shoe brands, it was clear that we would come up with the idea to start our own label. The vision of Velt was then born and we officially founded it in 2012.
We had the idea of a men’s shoe label, as we both were unsatisfied with the shoes we could find on the current market. We think that for our generation, sneakers might be too informal sometimes, but classic leather shoes too dressed up. We wanted to create shoes for everyday situation, shoes that you can wear at day but also after work.
In the beginning of 2013, we launched Velt in our hometown Zurich. We then three months later won the Swiss Design Award with our first collection.
How long have you lived in Berlin and what brought you there? Stefan: I am having my 10th anniversary this year in Berlin.
Patrick: I have been living here for five years now.
We both came to Berlin because of Love. We love to tell this, it sounds romantic, but its true!
How has living in Berlin affected your work? Berlin is a great place for inspiration. You have the feeling that the whole world is to be found in this city. And of course, there is a lot going on in the culture scene and you can discover new inspiration every day. People are very open-minded, so we think it gives us more freedom in designing in nonconforming ways.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? So many things can be inspiring and they can be found in our daily life. Watching the people while sitting in the coffee or seeing an amazing exhibition. But what we really love, are things that are recognizable as footprint of the time we are living in. It is really important for us to create contemporary shoes. We would love to look back in the future saying: that was very 2015.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We are right now working on the upcoming Spring Summer Collection 16 and we are sketching a lot. It’s so nice to be in this state of the project; there are a lot of ideas that needs to be drawn down on the paper. It’s the part we love doing the most. And of course there is much more going on in the next month in our studio as we just moved into a new working place.
If you were a drink what drink would you be? Patrick: Gin Basil Smash, or Aperol spritz, something that reminds me of a nice holiday in the south.
Stefan: I am a Berlini-HA-Ha
What designers are you interested in right now? We don’t have one favorite designer. The interest and focus are changing from season to season. It can be very refreshening to see what new points of view young designers bringing to fashion. So from big brands up to unknown designers you can find inspiration.
What past trends in fashion should never come back? Never say never. Tomorrow everything can change. And in men shoes there were not many things tried so there is still lot to come.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops. We start with collecting a lot of inspirational images. Not necessarily of shoes. It can be a pattern, an object, a person, a colour combination. After our research we focus on hand drawings. The goal is to reach a big amount of varieties. It’s not about quality but quantities. We want to see all possibilities. Than we slowly focus on going into details and technical drawing to creat first prototypes and finding the materials. For the final shoes it can takes up to half a year doing severals prototypes.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? He should walk away in our shoes and never take them off again. Ha-Ha.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city to be? Patrick: One of my favorite spot n Berlin right now is the Thai-park. You can sit there for the whole day with having amazing food.
Stefan: Our Studio