Launching a concept fashion store in a highly competitive retail scene takes a big leap of faith. When it works, it’s because it feels like a room inside the home of some impeccably stylish visionary – with the added frisson that the contents are for sale. Wood Wood, a brand with a growing reputation on the European streetwear scene, exemplifies this ideal with its innovative retail ventures and sharp eye for style.
Karl Oskar Olsen and Brian Jensen established Wood Wood in Copenhagen in 2002, having met as students at the Danish Design School. The shop’s name was partly inspired by a character from the movie Goodfellas, Jimmy Two-Times, whose nervous tic compelled him to say everything twice, and also by the wood-panelled former wine cellar in which it was located. Jon Sanders, creative director at the company’s Berlin store, says: ‘The new owners walked in and said, “There’s so much wood ... it’s like everything you see is wood.” So it was named Wood Wood.’ Olsen and Jensen quickly established their creative credentials by bringing together edgy graphic designers with big names such as Converse and Adidas to create limited-edition sneaker collections. Wood Wood has expanded to Stockholm as well as Berlin, and its newest outlet is located in Vienna’s busy central shopping district, Neubau.
The Vienna Wood Wood store initially existed as a temporary pop-up shop, in partnership with Vice magazine in Austria and Berlin’s Pool Gallery, selling cool, directional labels such as Jeremy Scott, Bernhard Willhelm and Head Porter. It proved so popular that the Wood Wood team decided to turn it into a permanent fixture. New York-based international style blogger Bee-Shyuan Chang admiringly describes it as ‘a mishmash of street, art and fashion’. This formerly transitory project is now confidently predicted to become a frontrunner on Vienna’s experimental fashion scene. It is run by Magdalena Vukovic, a former fashion editor of Vice Austria. Olsen summarises its mission statement thus: ‘ Vienna is a pearl – beautiful, green and full of blossoming, young, artistic talents. Still, it could use some spice, edge and colour on the fashion front, so here we are with a big bag full of candy.’
Olsen, a former graphic designer and interior architect, is responsible for the Vienna store’s decor. He plucked choice examples of vintage Danish design from Berlin fleamarkets to complement the display shelves and cabinets built for the shop by his friends. The overall effect is one of a store run by interesting, erudite people, well versed in contemporary culture and keen to share their diverse opinions, taste and discoveries.
The inhouse line is best described as an easy, intelligent array of street fashion. Wood Wood’s spring/summer 2010 collection for men includes oversized, preppie-style sweaters, fishermen’s jackets, anoraks and boating hats; the women’s range showcases loose, breezy dresses and full skirts with handkerchief hems, flowing tank tops and high-waisted harem pants.
The overall look, well received when it took to the catwalk at Copenhagen Fashion Week, is youthful, clean and sharp, yet also relaxed and unpretentious. Creating an internationally recognised brand that maintains its cutting edge is no easy task but, with their popularity growing and their reputation intact, it seems Jensen and Olsen are already out of the woods.
Wood Wood, Zollergasse 29, 1070 Vienna, +43 (0)1 929 1218