“It was Rem D Koolhaas idea from the beginning to create a lifestyle brand,” said IIaria Capriglione, communication specialist and social media manager for footwear brand United Nude to FashionUnited during its Spring/Summer 2016 presentation. Central to the brand’s presentation, which took place in United Nude’s flagship store/retail theatre on Spuistraat 125, in Amsterdam was it debut unisex accessories collection launch, which is part of the brand’s stealth collection and its first step to becoming a lifestyle brand.
Featuring a backpack, a clutch, hat, umbrella and laptop sleeve as well as an analogue and digital watch, the accessories collection builds on from where founder and designer Rem D Koolhaas left off with the launch his award-winning Lo Res Car. “The accessories collection features the same lines, the same design principle Rem used when designing the Lo Res Car,” explained Capriglione. “It is based on taking an already existing 3D design (in this case, a Lamborghinini Contact) and then bringing it down to a lower resolution until you are left with the basic form of the shape.” If this design technique sounds a bit unusual to some, it would make perfect sense to the label as United Nude is anything but your usual brand.
United Nude aims to develop into lifestyle brand
Founded thirteen years ago by architect Koolhaas (not to be confused with his uncle, the architect Rem Koolhaas of OMA) and Galahad Clark (from the UK footwear retailer Clarks) Koolhaas shook up the footwear industry with the launch of the Möbius shoe. Now seen as the first high heel “to cross the border between industrial design and fashion,” Koolhaas created the brand’s signature look and feel around the iconic shoe. Over the years the brand has collaborated with numerous designers, such as Iris van Herpen as well as other architects, like Zaha Hadid, to create one of a kind shoes which push the boundaries of fashion, innovation and design.
However, now Koolhaas feels that the time is right to begin expanding the brand’s current offering of footwear with the addition of accessories as he aims to develop United Nude into fully fledged, lifestyle brand. “He may have started with shoes, but he always wanted to have a lifestyle brand,” noted Capriglione. “Coming from an architectural background he always had these ideas for products outside of the footwear field, stemming from other sources of inspiration.”
United Nude presents first accessories collection for men and women
To ensure the new category sits in line with the rest of the brand’s offering for Spring/Summer 2016, Koolhaas combined the brand’s signatures with the same design technique used to make the Lo Res Car, resulting in a collection which offers the recognisable geometrical design and architectural influences United Nude is known for. “As you can see, here with the clutch the lines and form are very similar to that of the car,” added Capriglione, pointing out the clutch’s asymmetric form, hidden magnetic closures and teak wood detailing.
The collection backpacks, which resemble a geometric turtle shell, are made from polycarbonate, canvas and nylon. Available in two sizes, Capriglione notes that Koolhaas first designed the smaller, sleeker backpack, but once he began wearing it, he realised that size-wise it was a bit too small for “tall guys” so he went back and recreate the large stealth backpack for men as well. “He decided to go back and make a larger backpack for taller men, like himself,” she said with a laugh. Although the backpack has already attracted much attention, it is the watch collection which really stands out in the store.
“Rem is actually very passionate about watches and an avid collector,” noted Capriglione when questioned were the inspiration for the timepiece range came from. “So he decided to create his own range of watches.” Divided into two lines, United Nude first launched its Analog stealth watch, which is said to be a ‘contemporary play on classic 60’s and 70’s watch designs.” Crafted from hardened plastic, silicone rubber and crystal glass, the watch case shape looks as if its edges have been sliced off, which was inspired by the Lo Res design. Available in nine colour combinations, the watch was designed to act as a ‘functional timeless piece, expressing individual style and character far from the overwhelming rise of the smart devices.’
United Nude watch collection to act as countermeasure to the rise of the smart device
Designing a watch which is meant to act as a countermeasure to the rise of the smart watch seems at odd with a brand as innovative and technological advanced as United Nude. “But Rem is definitely more of a traditionalist when it comes to watches,” said Capriglione. “He favours simple and functional watches, which have little to do with wearable technology.” Of course, she does not rule out the possibility of United Nude ever launching a smart watch, but points out that at the moment most watches on the market lack both the design and function to make them unique.
However, United Nude did not rule out all tech when making it watch collection, which is why the second line of time pieces is the Digital stealth watch. Crafted from stainless steel, the watch has a clean cut, elegant design which is derive from one of the biggest digital watch classics. Available in 4 four colours with inter-changeable leather straps, the watch is water resistant and available for pre-order ahead of its launch in April. The reasoning behind the watches two different styles is linked to Rem’s belief that watches, much like shoes, are statement pieces which consumers use to express themselves. United Nude debut unisex collection for SS16 is now available in stores as well as online.