Designer spotlight: Interview with Vittorio Cordella, CEO of Joshua Sanders
The man behind the fun, textured slip-ons adored by the street style set speaks to Buro about his past, present and future
Since the skate shoe infiltrated the ranks of luxury fashion a few years ago (thanks, Phoebe Philo), it rapidly became the go-to sneaker for the fashion tribe and masses alike. Many brands adopted the smart yet casual silhouette and put their own individualistic spin on the slip-on, but none quite like Vittorio Cordella, CEO of Joshua Sanders.
If the label does not ring a bell, think again: The textured slip-on with the smiley face motif? You'll probably recall visuals of the street style pack snapped racing between shows, with that very pair carrying them through the hectic shedule of fashion week. And no, it is not just a fad. The Joshua Sanders sneakers have reigned the streets for a few seasons now — Cordella uses the term 'street couture' in reference to them — and shows no signs of waning.
In an interview with Cordella, he sheds light on the importance of sneakers, hardwork and passion, and his travels that have influenced the aesthetic of his shoes.
First and foremost, how did you get involed with the brand Joshua Sanders? I met Joshua Sanders himself after he designed the first collection, but following that, I stepped in, and pooled together a team of people that's multicutural, open-minded, with a cosmopolitan view of the world. I believe this is the key to success for the brand. I also personally curate and add the final touches to the brand's collections.
Tell us about yourself. I am curious, ambitious and hardworking. I came from a background where I learnt to be humble, and nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. If I wanted something, I had to work hard to get it. As far as work and passion goes, I travel around the world as much as possible to learn about the traditions and cultures of different places, and to discover new realities. I've always thought that one day, all the things I've seen and learnt would help me develop something really special.
SNEAKERS ARE THE FUTURE TO ME. 30 YEARS AGO, YOU WOULDN'T WEAR THEM TO WORK UNLESS YOU HAD TO GO TO GYM, BUT NOW THEY HAVE BECOME A STATUS SYMBOL OF SORTS.
How does that translate to and influence your designs? The sensations I've felt during every single journey in my life have helped inspire my designs. Simple details like furniture, music, food and even people walking around, do have an impact on it.
Sneakers seem to be the mainstay of your label. Why sneakers, and what does it mean to you? Sneakers are the future to me. 30 years ago, you wouldn't wear them to work unless you had to go to gym, but now they have become a status symbol of sorts. For me, this represents the younger generation changing the rules of the world, and it is also why they are a large part of my label.
We love the vibrant shade and of course, the unique textures and motifs on your slip-on sneakers. What was your inspiration for FW15? Definitely my travels. I have a City capsule collection for FW15 and I've developed a special patch and symbol for each city (London, New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo) which allows customers to identify with where they're from, or perhaps which city they love. Having that in my designs — a sense of recognition — has garnered great response from them.
Which three cities inspire you the most? Hong Kong, New York and Miami.
Take us through a day in the life of Vittorio Cordello. I get up at 7am everyday and shuttle between meetings, talking to my team, searching for new materials and getting in touch with some of my customers for feedback. Of course, checking the social media platforms is something I do too, and I actually deal with the accounting of my company as well like planning our budget. I also design and organise the space in our showroom. And finally, I head to bed at around 12am.
You use the term 'street couture' for your designs. Why? The concept of street couture for me is a mix of street (of course), art and beauty. In relation to my sneakers, I had the intention of bringing them into a whole different world.
What is your ideal outfit? A hawaiian shirt with a white T-shirt underneath, paired with blue trousers that are cuffed-up. A panama, pair of sunglasses and sneakers from the new season of Joshua Sanders complete my look of course.
What is the one item in your wardrobe that you can't live without? I'm torn between a white T-shirt and a pair of baggy but elegant black pants.
Are there plans for Joshua Sanders apparel in the future? In the near future, we definitely will develop a Ready-to-Wear collection, but perhaps not on a full scale. We still want to keep the DNA of the brand, which I would say is curiosity and attitude.
Joshua Sanders is available at the Club21 b boutique and online here.