A Q&A with Peter Kolks, Co-owner of Pop Trading Company
Q: Peter, for the people who don't know Pop Trading Company, can you please introduce them in your own words?
Peter: Pop Trading Company is most likely best described a menswear inspired skateboard brand, or the other way around. We are rooted in skateboarding, but our interest goes beyond that. We try to look at skateboarding and apparel in a more considered way.
Q: Why Pop? Can you tell us more about the name?
Peter: Pop means your snap when you jump on skateboard. The higher you jump, the more pop you got. When we started out we were doing distribution for Palace Skateboards and Polar and that, so we sold skateboards to stores, literally trading in Pop...
Q: Please tell us more about your decision to move into producing your own clothing, why this choice?
Peter: We already had an interest in this part of the business and I was working with Parra at the time who then said that we should really look into doing something for ourselves as we already had a team of skaters, with content and our own way of filming, promoting, well basically we had a whole brand identity apart from actually making product. So when multiple told us to look into that avenue we figured fuck it. So for AW16 we made our first little range of 10 products and straight away sold it to some good stores like Streetmachine in Copenhagen, Slam City Skates in London and Supreme in Paris.
Q: Last week we had a very interesting conversation with Gary Aspden about targeting consumers on stories and the fact that it’s so fucking silly. We’re tired of hype. Calico likes to share identity and love for product. From our perspective, the skateboard scene is obviously used too much for these kind of projects and “fake” or too targeted stories. Is it frustrating for you to see this happening nowadays? In other words: "What’s your view on today’s skateboarding industry and specifically your view on brands who target skateboarders from a ‘lifestyle, social media sauce perspective?”
Peter: Well its a double edged sword, always. I mean we deal with brands that sometimes can put out some very bad campaigning, then there is also the none skate brands that use skateboarding as a vehicle to give them more "edge" or whatever. For us its very simple. We have been skating since we were 11 or 12 years old. Its all we really know and Pop for that matter is the personification or productification (if that is even a word) of that.
Our views on aesthetics through the eyes of an era in skateboarding that influenced most. I reckon the people we target will feel that. You can't really buy that feeling, its just there or it's not.
Q: Then let’s talk about the new Spring / Summer collection. What was your idea and focus behind this collection?
Peter: This collection combines the heritage of the late 90’s / early 2000’s tech skate era, reminiscing of old and forgotten brands like Axion, Fourstar and Alphanumeric. Next to that we have Pop classics such as logo staples, the stripes, technical jackets and the introduction of some knitwear pieces.
The collection also showcases reworked replicas of heroed pieces from the era in skateboarding that shaped our current day look at aesthetics.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the projects with Vincent van Gogh Museum and Delta?
Peter: Well the Van Gogh thing was more of a casual one as the imagery is public domain now, so basically anyone can work with that. We really saw potential in that all over Sunflower shirt, so to give it a bit more body we made a few extra pieces.
Delta on the other hand is someone we have worked with before on our B.Y.O.B.S.S events in Amsterdam. He built a skate able sculpture last year and this was kind of the follow up on that. Boris (Delta) is a great guy and we are very honored to be able to work with him.
Q: Word on the streets is that there’s a special Converse collaboration coming up later this season?
Peter: The streets are not to be trusted though ;)
Q: Now we talk about collaborations, what would be your dream collaboration? One! (haha!)
Peter: I guess doing something with Nike would be cool. Someone like Paul Smith or Mackintosh would be fun as well. Hell I think Nijntje was already our dream collab, haha.
Q: You grew up in the mid-90’s. As you probably know we’re music fans with a specific taste from that period. Can you describe your own personal music taste?
Peter: My taste goes all over the place man, I was really influenced by skateboard videos so I guess I have a very eclectic taste, cause these videos had all types of different music in there. It can be something like Radiohead or Mobb Deep. I am a big fan of Elliott Smith, but also love all the old Dilla, Madlib stuff. Music is amazing, it can really give more depth. If you watch our videos as well a lot of time goes into sourcing the right music for the right edit. We usually work with artists we know and respect, its a very cool way of doing things and supporting each other.
Q: Now back to the new drop, what’s your favourite item from this drop and why?
Peter: I really like the Grey zip-off pants, but also been wearing the knitted check sweater. Both have a distinct style, kinda sporty, but you can mix it casual. I just feel good wearing them ;)