Needless to say, we wonders what his source of inspiration is – what or who is it that makes him buy that particular piece of clothing, that specific design object or spend his time at that exact place. “Internet, and especially social media is a massive source of inspiration – not always in a good way”, he explains. “The ability to potentially tell or show a tremendous amount of people scattered all across the world about those pair of sneakers, that jacket, those posters or this café in that city – in an instant, and get instant feedback, is probably the easiest way to draw inspiration.”
He continues by telling about his love for architecture and design – the kind of beauty that lies in a perfectly constructed building, an amazing piece of furniture or an extraordinary photo. We sense a glimpse of a sudden excitement when he dives into the works of architects like Le Corbusier, Richard Neutra, Ricardo Bofill and the Norwegian modernists Arne Korsmo and Geir Grung. “The thing is, for those guys, their initial thought and plan was so important to them, it surpassed everything else. For instance, when Geir Grung built his house Villa Jongskollen outside of Oslo in the 60’s, the whole structure had 18 violations to the current Building Laws when the inspector came. Geir Grung gave him a lecture in what his opinion was regarding the violations, threw him out, and closed the door behind him. The house was built without paying attention to any of the violations, and still stands there today, as solid and beautiful as it did in 1963.” He smiles and says that to be amazing in something, regardless what field, it often includes a combination of stubbornness, creativity and a dash of rebelliousness.
A nod to the barista signalizes a second round of espressos to be made, as he whips out a cloth, removes his glasses and wipes them clean. We take a moment of silence to smell the coffee and reflect on the topics of our conversation, lingering at what he said about the qualities, or disqualites that often can be found in outstanding individuals. Quickly pushing the thought aside for later, we navigate the conversation back to fashion, and his role in the upcoming launch of the voltfashion.com universe.
“The Volt webshop is going to be tremendously exciting, and we’re really pushing our boundaries to be able to present a universe that not only reflects the physical Volt stores, but also by adding a certain flare, a more personified online shopping experience for our customers – and that’s where I contribute,” he explains. “After all, through the 10 years of existence for Volt, we’ve experienced, evolved and refined - which is a constant process, so many aspects of the shopping experience. Based on feedback from our customers and close contact with all of our colleagues in each and every store, we’ve come to notice an array of things that matter. When it comes to shopping, and especially menswear, you have to work with the whole picture. For instance, if you focuse only on brands or prices – you’ll loose in the end. We want the shopping experience to be - an experience, in a positive way. From the moment you enter, there are all these senses that needs to be addressed, and affected. What kind of greeting you’ll receive from the staff, what kind of music is playing in the background, what sort of visual impressions you get by the interior, the items on display – all these things and more are important factors that can’t be ignored. Have you noticed how several stores has started added room scents? Our nose is one of the easiest senses to stimulate, and the sense closest linked to memory. It’s all about creating an experience, and preferably a pleasant and memorable one.
“With the webshop,” he continues, “the missing ability to affect some of our senses, like the nose, is quite obvious. Therefore, we’ve enhanced and refined some of the other. We’ve put a tremendous amount of effort in the visuals, our online shop will be really visually appealing. When it comes to the human aspect, the service provided by our staff in our stores, that’s the toughest one to transfer to the digital world. The way one often can rely on staff expertise whilst trying to find a new outfit for example. “Hey, the guy at Volt Nordstan always knows exactly what fits me, and my exact taste, I’ll swing by him on my way from work.”
“That’s where I come in”, he continues. “Whenever you see the HSVP icon in the webshop, you’ll know that there will be guidance, tips on everything from how to dress for special occasions, what you ought to buy to be on point with the current trends or simply read an interesting piece about a completely different subject than fashion. You know that guy I told you about at Nordstan – in the digital universe, I’m that guy.”
So, to try to sum it up, we ask, the HSVP icon will act as the personification of the staff in your stores? Precisely, he answers, the bearded icon with the round glasses will be your buoy if you suddenly find yourself somewhat lost at the eternal ocean of fashion. Look for it, and you’ll be inspired. Hopefully, he adds, smiling.