Run by the Italian collective 247, which looks after a long list of cool and contemporary brands on the international market, Volta is a shoe brand which fuses the casual feel of trainers with the quality of Italian craftsmanship, providing what the designers like to call an ‘instant classic’ appeal. Heavily influenced by travel and adventure, Volta never strays too far from their original aesthetic - which has seen them become a recognisable shoe brand in only four years.
Instead, they develop from season to season playing with a vast array of earthy colours and fabrics. Now in their sixth season, Volta have divided their A/W 11 collection into three main parts; the Classic, the Boot, and the Strada. In addition, the designers have created two Japanese animal print inspired designs featuring real fur. We spoke to co-founder Mauro Simionato to find out more…
Dazed Digital: What do you think separates you from other shoe brands?
Mauro Simionato: When we designed our first style, the 'Classic', in 2007, we didn't want to rely upon trends or try to pre-empt them. We simply felt that they were what was missing in our own wardrobes, and gave them signature features that would be recognisable regardless of seasons and trends. This is what makes us different from other shoe brands - and with every new product development we try to stay true to this.
DD: What do you find so exciting about footwear?
Mauro Simionato: I've always found that the shoes you wear pretty much show what kind of a person you are. Comfort, style, whether they are clean or not - everything gives hints about someone's lifestyle and interests.
DD: Why is the concept of travel so important to Volta?
Mauro Simionato: Travel is a central part of the Volta aesthetic, and we endlessly take inspiration from the places that we have seen. But we try to maintain a strong sense of our Italian roots - over the last few seasons we have explored more and more of the world of Italian excellence, and tried to build relationships with some of its players. In 2009 we started working with Limonta to produce some incredible wools and waxed cottons, as well as high-tech quilted nylons. We used Limonta water-proof wool on the Woolen Boots in our AW11 collection, and we're really pleased with the result.
DD: Can you talk us through the pieces in your new collection?
Mauro Simionato: With the Autumn/Winter collection we wanted to put something really different into our three Volta models. The Classic, our 'mother' shape, now comes in 20 different colourways and we think of them as our signature design. The Boots are ideal for winter as they have a better heel protection and are enriched with precious Italian leathers and fabrics. They have the style of a workwear boot with the comfort of a sneaker.
The Strada styles were developed to cover 'urban-to-outdoor' needs - they have Vibram(r) soles and have a hiking boot feel with a sneaker shape. And finally we designed two specials for the season - the 'Fur', made from suede and lined in soft fleece; and the 'Animalier', made from leopard-print ponyskin and leather with heavy duty Vibram(r) outsoles.
DD: Can you ever see yourself branching out into clothing?
Mauro Simionato: Yes, definitely. Creating Volta footwear has taken a lot of energy from my company and me, Twentyfourseven but we always keep our eyes open and our minds flexible to different projects. Right now we're about to launch our first e-store, which will be called the 247 and it will be full of great designs and stories. What's next after that? We still haven't decided yet.
DD: Volta is only a few years old, what's been the best thing to happen to the label so far?
Mauro Simionato: I think the best thing that has happened to us is the community that's growing around the brand. The kind of people - usually creative minds and professionals, who live outside of fashion trends - who buy Volta and feel happy and tell it to a friend. They are the ones we work hard everyday to satisfy, and the ones giving us the best satisfaction. Throughout these few, intense years we've always tried to keep both eyes on the streets, turning our heads towards the customer.
The customers who liked and embraced the brand from the beginning, did it in a very selective and honest way I would say. Our promises were few and clear, and customers felt like taking the challenge and buying a pair.
To be in with a chance to win two pairs of Volta boots - one for him and one for her - please answer this question... To see the boots you can win, check out the image gallery. The beige ones are for the ladies, the black pair is for the boys...