Every other Thursday, The FADER asks employees and employers at our favorite shops around the world what their most cherished in-store item is for our column Staff Affections. This week, Elizabeth Raiss caught up with Herbert Hofman of VooStore in Berlin to chat about Common by Common Affairs' bomber jackets.
Tell me a little bit about the concept behind Voo. We founded Voo almost exactly three years ago. We own a bar on the same street and wanted to do something else in the neighborhood. Our store is in a courtyard on Oranienstraße that’s set back from the street. The space had been a locksmith shop and we kept that whole look, so everything is quite raw– we didn’t paint the walls or put in new floors. Our district, Kreuzberg, is very multicultural, but nothing like Voo existed here before. We wanted to carry well-known labels but we also wanted brands that weren’t high end, price-wise. It’s nice to have a mix. If you’re not interested in buying clothes, you can also just come to Voo and look at books or magazines and have a coffee and just hang out.
How has Voo’s high-low approach evolved? Well, we started during the financial crisis and everyone said ‘You’re insane to do this, no one wants to spend money on clothes or luxury goods.’ But when you have different price points in a curated environment, it’s always about style. It gives us the chance to be democratic, to find styles that are nice no matter how much they cost. You can run around in sportswear that isn’t luxe but when you combine it with the right pieces it can look amazing. That’s our approach.
Can you talk a little bit about the brand Common by Common Affairs? It’s so nice to find a new brand like Common. It’s just two lovely Swedish designers who are really cool. They do a lot of research to find durable materials to ensure their pieces will last a long time. Everything is quite basic, but with a little twist, and you can immediately tell that it’s a design piece, not just a jacket. We’ve carried them for three seasons and we’re mega happy with them. They have such a strong image and strong style; their bomber jackets are just amazing. They’re quite creative but they know how to make pieces you’ll actually wear; nothing is too arty.
How have customers been responding to Common's pieces? In the store we watch people touching the fabric and they can just feel it’s really strong, that it will last a long time. We’ve actually sold a lot of their clothes to girls. The cut of their bomber jackets are kind of unisex and look amazing on girls. That’s in line with a lot of what we do at Voo, it’s not black and white. We put men’s clothes on the women’s side and women’s clothes on the men’s side.
How do you see the brand's aesthetics complimenting Berlin's overall style? I think the collection fits perfectly with the laid back style of Berliners! There's great shapes and details but no "in your face" fashion statement. The clean aesthetics fit perfectly.