OBS - German Engineering
It’s been a while since the website of a new brand got me really excited. It’s been a fucking long time since I’ve seen a new German brand that has excited me at all. It’s actually mostly my own fault cause’ people become lazy once they’ve found a fundamental amount of brands that they are happy with. Just take a look at your closet and try to find more than three pieces by a mostly unknown brand…
So even though you might have found your APC, ACNE, Stone Island, Supreme or whatever it may be, you’ve gotta admit that it’s absolutely time for some fresh air and fabric in our lives and wardrobes.
After starting Biancissimo, I re-found my love of digging deep into the hidden crevices of fashion and once in a while people help me out on my quest by sending greatness in the form of a new brand. So with this in mind, I recently discovered two German brands that got me very buzzed. One of these brands is called OBS and yes, I got finally found excitement again whilst browsing through their website, even though the official store page took me some time to find due to the sophisticated technicality of their lovely website.
In a time where starting a brand has become as easy as ‘just’ printing stuff on T-Shirts and Hoodies by the same manufacturer (Gildan, I’m talking about you) and the same Gosha Instagram aesthetic is being perpetuated on Instagram, OBS strives to do something really different. Their first release actually just dropped and they’ve demonstrated their very own individual style through originality and the use of high quality fabrics and design techniques. Their approach is far away from your average 150 Euro/Pound/Dollar printed sweater (that’s definitely made by Gildan). If someone hadn’t told me that they were a new brand, I’d assume they had been producing garments for years now, due to their beautiful ‘in-and-outside’ design, their tags and their (already fucking iconic?!) handbags. I have really fallen in love with their sleek designs and I was more than happy to catch the team behind the brand for a little Q&A, before the brand blows up big time.
What is OBS about and who are the people working on it?
OBS is the textile interpretation of today's environment and the circumstances we get involved in and the experiences that come along with them. We consider ourselves as kind of engineers who build bridges connecting the multiple areas we move in.
OBS is kind of a family run business combining everyone's skills to one big machinery. We're a group of fashion designers, jewelry designers, product designer, Coders, producers and business managers.
Can you please tell us a little bit about your fashion background and the idea about running your own label?
Well we actually always had a certain idea how a brand must or could look like in our eyes but there never was the situation where we actually said: ok let´s do a brand now, let´s look for people to work with.
It rather was clear to us to do something – and by something we mean to share our vision and our approach on the whole design–industry, without a limitation on fashion only. We almost grew into this situation through the way we are working and the things we´re interested in, the people we are hanging out with are the ones we are working with, which for us is the only logic way of doing it.
Even though you just released your very first drop all your designs already look like you have really distinct vision of your look and feel. It doesn’t really feel like opening the website of a new brand that is still trying to find its pace and style, which is amazing. Can you somehow explain since when you had the vision of this particular aesthetics of your brand?
First of of all thanks a lot, we appreciate that! So probably the main aspect is that we tried not to stress ourselves out and took all the time we needed to evolve our own style. Our plan was to work on this until we get to the point where we all are really satisfied and we really can identify with the products before releasing them to the public. We also wanted to build a solid fundament on which we could build our brand on. We were aware that there will be kind of a pressure to constantly drop new things from now on. So we tried to determine who we are, what we want and where we want to go, right from the beginning.
Can you please tell us a little bit about your first drop. What are your favourite pieces and what makes them special for you and us?
Our work for OBS is about combining several influences and genres, so in our eyes it's hard to pick one explicit piece as we rather see the drop as one bigger picture. Of course the Pochette stands out as a key piece, but for example the longsleeve in solid grey is a pretty important piece as well - it's about the combination of these different styles. And also this specific range of products is what makes it interesting for the customer and what should make one curious about what is coming up next!
14:32:56 - What role do numbers play in your designs?
Our first drop was all about this „no escape“-theme and the used numbers, in a way, are a metaphor for the always running time where there is simply no escape from.
I am a big fan of reversible jackets and If I got this right your sweatshirt can be worn from the in and outsidealso one of your hats - what’s your intention behind this?Also whats up with your size-tags? I never seen them hanging from a bag or sweater before that way!
Yes you actually got this right, the majority of our products are conceptualized to be worn from the in- and outside. We draw a lot of inspiration from the simplicity but accuracy of for example engineering drawings or technical post-tags... simply put we're fascinated by the way things are build - What kind of machines were used, what materials or hidden technical aspects or the finishing. So showing the inside of our products and to use these huge size tags is a way of emphasizing our fascination for every individual manufacturing step.
Let’s talk about your bags. When did you decide to also focus on this rather special accessory for men and what do you think is the difficulty to design the perfect bag for men?
It´s just not that common that men are wearing (hand)bags – which is actually quite a pity as it's pretty useful and a nice ACC as well. Despite this in some subcultures the so called “fanny bag” is a thing for quite a long time now and it's actually getting more and more commercial. OBS's aim is to connect these multiple areas and subcultures with high-quality products. An approach we're taking for designing products for our upcoming drops. So in a way the Pochette is our interpretation of the fanny bag - the perfect combination of form and function.
So how do you guys work from an actual idea to the final product ? The Pochette bag especially seems like piece of work that must have taken a lot of steps and time to become alive.
Luckily we work together with a pretty talented pattern maker with a very good feeling for proportions and measurements so our sampling process is quite short!
Besides that we actually have no common way of designing our products. Sometimes we start of right from the scratch on a plane piece of paper just scribbling ideas, we also work quite a lot with Stylesheets and technical drawings so we can quickly decide whether things work out or not and sometimes the ideas are really solid and clear right from the beginning.
You got a pretty cool and unusual website (click) for a fashion brand, I guess one of your coders is behind that design right? So what is the idea behind it, and weren't you afraid that some people might not find your online shop at all?
By designing the website we wanted to stick to this idea of showing the way how things are made, it´s the same approach as we have with our clothes which you can wear on both sides - it´s a website turned inside out…everything is working the normal way but you can now just see how it´s processed.
We of course tried to make it as customer friendly as possible but we actually already got a few emails saying that our website isn´t working haha. When you visit our website for the first time you have to be a bit patient and then in a way discover the different functions - what is a pretty nice secondary action in our eyes.
So since there are jewelry designers in your team as well I am quite excited what that could mean for future products. It there anything in your minds or even on your drawing boards already?
For our first drop we developed pins, tie pins and pendants. These small ACC´s are very important for us in order to create a complete look. For our future drops we´re working on such things as earrings, rings, chains, bracelets and more pins of course.
What role does quality play in the creation of of your designs?
With every drop OBS is evolving and we take every opportunity to increase our quality – but I think with our hand-made in Germany leather accessories we already made clear that quality and good design goes hand in hand for us.
There are lots of new (mostly streetwear) brands popping up out of nowhere while most their “designs” are just printed T-Shirt and Crewnecks. OBS actually does not look like a simple try to just open up a brand and see what will happen. So what are your plans with OBS over the next years?
We´re still figuring out the way OBS is evolving, but there are several ways we want to express our vision in the next months and years.
We would like our customer to get a deeper insight into the idea of OBS through a more physical way like Pop-up-Shops or Shop-in-Shop installations. Further we want to exceed our cut and sew pieces and source more high-tech materials. We would also like to work with other brands from very different branches on completely new products.
One thing we´re already working on and which for us is a necessary step to complete our idea of OBS is to start presenting our constant drops within a runway show. It will probably still take some time until the first event really takes place but we´re already looking forward to show our very own twist on this pretty known way of presenting clothes.
What is “German” about OBS?
We are always on time ;-)