What happens when a London nightlife staple and an Amsterdam street institution join forces? The answer comes in a capsule collection by Deviation and Patta, made possible by the sneaker gods of Converse. Attending the London launch party—aka Deviation’s rowdy 10-year anniversary starring Benji B as well as Patta Soundsystem—Glamcult sat down with Deviation co-founder Judah and Patta co-founder Guillaume ‘Gee’ Schmidt for the story behind the popular pieces.
Something we noticed right away when looking at the capsule collection is how your two logos have been merged. Tell us about the Patta x Deviation relationship.
Gee: I guess it’s very personal as well as organic. Before we knew each other’s entities, in the early days Edson [Sabajo of Patta] already knew Benji B. When Benji would come came to Amsterdam—I think he just started doing Deviation back then—he’d always stay at Edson’s crib to couch surf there. Obviously Edson is one of my best friends and my business partner, so I got to know Benji as well. Fast-forward to the future: the relation stayed, we kept doing our thing and Benji was still doing his stuff. And then I got to know Judah along the way. We started off quite organically. We weren’t too talkative in the beginning but when the spark is there all is good. We have a lot of mutual interests, in that sense it’s always been friendship first.
Judah: For me it’s exactly what Gee is saying. There was a time, years back, when I was working at Stüssy and I heard about “this crew from Amsterdam called Patta”. You tweak to those things. When I met Edison for the first time, we clicked straight away. Along the way I met Gee, as we have a lot of common friends in New York, London and Paris. Like he said it: it was a natural progression of friendship.
Both Deviation and Patta are, in their own way, street/nightlife forces. Did the people that come to your events and stores, night after night and day after day, inspire this collab?
Gee: Surroundings inspire you all the time; from flipping through magazines to walking down the street, especially when you’re out of your own zone. When I’m in a place like London, I see new styles and how people wear their stuff. When it comes to style and taste, London is dope but also the Amsterdam streets… what happens on the street or in the club, those are the best places to get ideas. And then we have to flip it to our own language, our own universe. In that sense Deviation has been very important to Patta, because it’s the first place where we felt at home when we started partying in London.
So, where along the way did Converse come in?
Gee: I’ve been talking with Benji for a long time, aside from the whole Deviation project, to do something garment-wise. But it never really came to fruition. This year is Deviation’s 10-year anniversary and we picked up that conversation. Benji said: “Yo, can we do something?” And I thought: You know what, I think we can do a dope partnership with Converse. They have the musical backbone, and both Judah and Benji love and wear Converse. I sent an e-mail to my friends of Converse working in Boston, and they proposed it to their leadership. Everybody was warm and welcome towards it. Deviation is obviously an institution, that’s a win for Converse. And it goes right into the heart of what we’re doing on a daily basis. For Converse it was a superb opportunity to bring this collab to a bigger scale. It started small but grew. I didn’t really have an idea in the beginning, but I talked a lot with Judah. The main idea of the collection comes from his mind. And then we sparked back and forth, which is quite unique because that’s not really our thing, collaboration-wise… [Laughs]
Judah: We were geeking about certain things, sending pictures back and forth and commenting on them or not commenting on them. The thing is: when you naturally like a brand, you can really get into their psyche. You know what fits or what doesn’t fit, and how you can juxtapose it. The first thing we spoke about is the fabrication, which was the foundation. I think Gee might have already known what silhouettes he was after, but then I came with the suggestion of Casentino wool. There’s a story behind that.
Yeah, the wool really stands out. What’s the story?
Judah: It was a curveball, all right. Casentino is an Italian, inexpensive fabric that was originally made for farmers but adopted by the upper class, almost like taking that and re-appropriating it. Knowing that story, I thought: that’s us! We’re on street level but we appreciate the finer things—the perfect balance of high and low. Then Gee and Vincent [van de Waal] came up with the idea of the shoe, the accents and the touches.
The collection offers eight pieces in total. Was that the starting point?
Gee: No, not at all. We started with two shoes, but we did want to do a head-to-toe look. Converse was very enthusiastic about the Casentino wool so they asked us to do an extra shoe, which became the One Star CC. We kind of built it from there. For instance, the hoodie was Judah’s idea and we thought it was very original. The trench was something we wanted to bring in because we saw Judah and Benji wearing those all the time. We stepped into Deviation’s world and pulled it into ours, making sure that each quality piece didn’t become super expensive.
In your interview with Wonderland, you both really seem to know your Converse history. Now that you’ve done a little Converse collection together, how do you feel?
Judah: Gee, you’ve done a lot of collaborations already! [Laughs] But for me, this is a massive achievement. To actually convey an idea that gets the green light from Gee—he’s at the top of his game, like an oracle that people go to. What I love about Patta is that they never stick to the format; they always go left of centre with their own ethos and their own mission statement. I admire that. As for Converse, I feel like I understand it. From a very early age I’ve identified with it. When you come from a working class background, brands are everything. So that brand has always been with me. It’s a great feeling, having contributed to that—and having it on my feet. I’m usually humble but I can actually say: it’s a dope shoe, it’s a dope collection.