VAN DER is a new men’s clothing brand with creative direction from international artist and photographer Kai Z Feng, who has worked with several big names around the world, including Vogue Magazine and the Burberry brand. VAN DER clothing was founded just this past year and aims to offer effortlessly cool, affordable and comfortable pieces that are all understated and exclusive. The brand has Scadinavian influences of clean cuts and lines, and produces not only t-shirts, but scarves, jackets and sweaters as well. Although Kai is originally from China, the brand was established in London, and also operates in New York.
We caught up with Natali Chanany of VAN DER to discuss what the brand is cooking up this year.
TM: Firstly, what is your role in working with the Van Der clothing brand?
NC: I’m the head of press and marketing, which is a lot of fun and very exciting; with the advance of the internet there are so many ways to speak to people from around the world, and really share our brand and lifestyle.
TM: How long has Van Der been around?
NC: VAN DER has been around since November 2010. However, as a T-shirt maker, the label’s founder, Gregor, has been making and selling T’s since 2007.
TM: You told me Kai was busy with some photo shoots, does this mean there’s more to come from Van Der very soon?
NC: Definitely. We are currently thinking of cool T-shirt prints as well as other pieces. Currently, we are getting a huge response from girls loving the shirts and wearing them themselves. So, a women’s line is also being worked on.
TM: How does Van Der operate between London and New York? Do you have multiple office locations, or stores in both spots?
NC: Currently, we sell everything exclusively online via our online store. But our team is spread across both cities in two offices, which means Skype is used. A lot.
TM: Is there any difference in how you market to your customers in London and the ones in New York?
NC: VAN DER is about a lifestyle – with globalization it is easy not to need to segment ourselves too much. People around the world tend to harmonize some way in fashion. From London, to New York, to Paris, to Shanghai – if you are looking to dress effortlessly cool with a minimum amount of effort, then it doesn’t matter where in the world you live, because VAN DER appeals to that.
TM: How about the overall response towards the brand so far, is there more hype in London over it than in the states?
NC: So far, we are getting a good response globally- our pieces are sold online and we offer international shipping, so that means you can pretty much buy VAN DER where ever you are.
TM: I notice the collection is made up completely of shades of black and gray. Is this the permanent look for the brand or will there be splashes of color here and there?
NC: I think our first few pieces, because they came out around winter time, really work well in line with our ethos of being simple, clean and understated. Black, gray, white – these colors are basics. If you do not have good basics to start with, an outfit cannot be made. I always imagine it as not being able to build a house on rocky foundation.
TM: Some of the t-shirts are blank, and some people might be wondering: are these available in bulk to be used for print by other brands, similar to American Apparel’s blanks?
NC: We can sell wholesale. If someone is interested, they can find contact details for wholesale inquiries on our website.
TM: From seeing the designer’s previous work, I have a feeling Van Der would participate in fashion shows. Are there any coming up?
NC: So far, we do not have any fashion shows lined up. But, we will be considering it in the future. A few people have eagerly asked us that.
TM: What can we expect from Van Der over the next few years?
NC: In terms of clothing – except a lot more T-shirts, a women’s line, sweaters, scarves, and being able to buy our clothes in select stores. In terms of the brand itself, continuing to be affordable but exclusive is our main aim.