Interview with Jochen Smuda (UCON) by Michael Bayr (Be-Mag)
ANOTHER NEW LINE… IS THIS GETTING ROUTINE FOR YOU BY NOW? ARE YOU STILL SATISFIED WITH EVERY NEW LINE?
We’re really excited! Sure, it’s bound to become somewhat routine over the years, but we still love every piece we do and we always try to keep it fresh. We’ve been around 9 years now and, honestly, it’s hard to belive that we are still there and still doing our thing. I think what you mentioned is a very important point. Satisfying yourself with each new line is pretty much the most difficult thing. Speaking for myself, I am very satisfied.
WHAT IS THE NEW CONCEPT BEHIND THE ARTIST’S LINE?
For every collection we feature a new artist. These artists are people we’ve followed for quite a long time. We love and respect the art they are doing, and we try to push each other with our collaborations. They love our quality and design of products and we love the art they do. That’s basically the best foundation to start a project together. We have Chris Gray for the Spring line, a very young and talented designer from Manchester. For the Summer line we’re working together with Mario Hugo from NYC.
CAN YOU GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF WHO ELSE YOU ARE WORKING WITH IN THE FUTURE?
We’re working with Falko Ohlmer for the Fall 2010 line and we’re also following a lot of other artists for future projects. The artist’s line is something new for us, but it gives us the chance to collaborate with people coming from totally different directions. For us as a small company it is great to draw on all those different influences and ideas from artists all over the world. I think that it’s very important to help us evolve as a brand. UCON is still very young and small and I think we still have the flexibility to try different things and be different from so many of the other brands out there.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR THIS YEAR?
We will again visit some streetwear trade shows. Actually a very important tradeshow for us, called BRIGHT, just moved to Berlin which makes it a bit easier for us. We have a huge Fall 2010 line in the works, and we will enlarge the Silhouette line for the future, because we see a huge potential in that. The Elle collection will continue to grow in the future and of course we are still supporting rollerblading through events, media, etc. There are a lot of plans and directions on where we want to go, but I think that would really take too much time to go into detail. I think the most important to know is that we are motivated and ready to continue with UCON to become that one fresh rollerblading label everybody has heard of.
HOW WAS WINTERCLASH FOR YOU?
It was very impressive, really very impressive! The atmosphere was great, I met a lot of people I hadn’t seen for a long time. Hopefully we will have another one next year. I just met Jojo last night eating a currywurst at 2 a.m. around the corner from here and we talked a bit about how everything went. It is really difficult for him, and I hope for Robert and him that they find a solution to make it happen again. It is a great event with so much potential!
WHAT ARE THE SPECIAL THINGS TO NOTICE IN THIS NEW UCON COLLECTION?
I think everybody has different tastes and likes different things, so it’s hard to tell. For me it’s the artist’s line, the new colors of asym and synchro… plus the new caps are definitly special!
HOW IS LIFE TREATING YOU IN BERLIN? DO YOU FEEL A LOT OF CREATIVITY HERE?
I love Berlin! I guess it’s that one city I always searched for. I’ve lived in some other cities before but always missed something. Berlin is uncomplicated, funny and just different compared to the other cities I’ve lived in. You can meet great people, you have a lot of people here with similar interests, you have nice clubs and bars to go out and you can get great and cheap food from all over the world. I’ve met so many new friends here and I am really thankful to be here.
WILL BERLIN BE THE NEW ROLLING CAPITAL OR EUROPE?
l Honestly, I don’t care… You have great spots here, a lot of skaters live here and it is always fun to roll around. But who cares about the “rolling capital of Europe”? It is just a great city