When it comes to Volta Footwear, the key design word is versatility. You could wear the dress shoe-meets-sneaker on a walk through Rome, a concert in New York or at a cocktail party in London. It’s an everyday shoe that has the functionality of Timberlands and the luxury of a Prada loafer.
Lead designers Mauro Simionato and Giacomo, head designers of Volta sat down with Revolver to discuss their vision and brand awareness.Could you share with us some background on Volta and yourselves?
Volta is a brand by Twentyfourseven (www.twentyfourseven.it), an Italian company with worldwide networks. Besides Volta, Twentyfourseven owns 247showroom, an international fashion-design showroom, and Soda Studio, an art-direction and design agency. Twentyfourseven is made by 4 partners and approximately 15 more people, all under-30s, working together as a multidisciplinary team.
The offices are all under the same big roof, in Milano!
Why did you start Volta? What was the core inspiration behind the line?
Mauro: We were tired of wearing sneakers and afraid of wearing thick boots or classic shoes. We realised many people were thinking and feeling the same and we noticed there was no footwear brand giving us the right solutions.
We decided to start our own. We had an unexpectedly warm welcome.
Giacomo: I always been a footwear freak and as I felt the coming back of the “casual footwear” I decided to think about something to update this concept instead of just replying it in a cool way. So that’s why Volta is an ‘’instant classic’’ inspired by the past but designed for the future
What’s the one thing you would like the public to know about Volta that they are unaware of?
Mauro: After you try them on, they look even better. But we didn’t work on design only. We worked a lot on comfort.
After you walk on them for one entire day, they become some of the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever had.
Giacomo: After you wear them all the girls and boys will find you more charming and give you lots of compliments…
Was it a goal to create a unisex product, did this add to the challenge behind the product?
Mauro: The design of a one-style unisex product is a challenge for sure, and a big danger, but when you look at the classics and try to make your own, it becomes probably more easy to make one strong statement than some random poems.
Giacomo: I totally agree with Mauro and also I think that unisex for some specific items is a very modern concept. Volta is a product with a very wide range of customers with different lifestyles,etc. so we make it for everybody.
What other shoe makers and brands are you following and interested in?
Mauro: Among contemporary brands, I like Shoefolk, Rokin, some of the F-troupe
are great looking, and I bought a pair of Common Projects and they look good even if a little too fashionable for me. Among older brands I like Tricker’s and Allen Edmond’s and I like all the classic brands that Giacomo owns a pair of. In this big Americana going on, I like Quoddy and all those heritage brands like Russel’s…and Footskins are good. I don’t like Redwing but it seems i’m the only one in the world and I feel sorry.
As a footwear lover born in ‘77…I had shoes from most of the brands that are hot now, ages ago…so actually I’m more into new brands that are trying to design something new… For example I lrespect very much Visvim even if it’s a brand with totally different approach from us.
Has the current recession affected your design philosophy?
Mauro: Current recession is part of the causes of nowadays needs,
Volta were designed to fulfill those needs. I guess the answer is yes then.
Specially on clean-simple lines and reasonable price.
I mean… the price was for us one of the most important leverages for our shoes, as much as design or comfort. I think that part of the success that we are having now its based on our very honest retail price.
What is the most important garment in a man’s wardrobe; the one big-ticket fashion item that is worth its price tag?
Mauro: A napolitan tailor-made suit. Or an original M65 fish-tail parka.
Giacomo: A perfect fitting blue blazer.
What advice do you have for men shopping in today’s market?
Mauro: It is a good moment for men shopping today
, because the trend is for good higher-casual taste. Though, there is bad stuff, there is good stuff and there is sublime stuff. Sometimes the three categories have the same prices and the same retailers. it is up to us to recognise, chose and enjoy.
Giacomo: There is lots of good stuff around…I must admit that suddenly the general taste its pretty flat…so as Mauro said its hard to understand what is really good from a fake on-trend product. My idea is to mix good stuff with really cool researched vintage and try to find a personal view of the general ’’americana’’ trend and not to follow it as a religion