73.000 square meters of land, 28 million people. Compared to the United States of America, home of streetwear and founder of countless iconic brands & retailers, The Netherlands and Belgium are significantly smaller. Still, brands like Filling Pieces, Arté and Daily Paper have all made their significant impact on streetwear. The one who paved the way? Patta, the Dutch retailer-turned-brand that has recently released their collaboration with C.P. Company. Nightingale spoke with Lee Stuart to talk about the impact of Dutch streetwear on the world, as well as the brand’s own impact on streetwear.
The origin story of Patta is one of the most telling ones in Dutch fashion. The world was different. Back in 2004, streetwear was segmented into three markets: Europe, Asia and America. A coveted item released in the American market would not likely be available in Amsterdam, Guillaume Schmidt and Edson Sabajo knocked on the door of their best friend’s father. With a reasonable amount of money to spent, the two went to New York – Brooklyn and Queens specifically – and sent suitcases full of sneakers back to Amsterdam. 15 years later, the two have built an empire with stores in Amsterdam and London – soon opening a new store – and a brand that has traveled even further.
The first influencers of Amsterdam
People like Schmidt, Sabajo, and Stuart were – in a sense – the first actual influencers in the Dutch streetwear scene, as what they brought back to Amsterdam from the States shaped and evolved the Amsterdam streetwear look. These days, their accounts range from the biggest brands in the world like Nike, adidas and New Balance to more niche brands like Awake and Rockwell. And while their recent off-kilter collaboration with C.P. Company might seem like an unusual pairing on the surface, the two have more in common than you might think.
Amsterdam has had an incredible history in football and casualwear culture. Brands like C.P. Company and adidas were always part of the Ajax supporters’ uniform, just as Patta has created a new uniform for the contemporary Amsterdam youth culture. With this collaboration, the two brands are bringing two contrasting scenes like casualwear and urban culture together for the very first time.
A celebration of the form-follows-function mentality
“We met the people from C.P. Company in Paris during the release of their collaboration with adidas. After a long conversation about the industry, but also showing our mutual respect for each other’s legacy, Enrico Grigoletti invited us to the Massimo Osti archive. Here, we took a deep-dive through C.P. Company’s rich history in search of a middle ground,” shares Stuart about their first encounters with the sportswear brand. “From that moment it was clear that we just had to do a collaboration. Our first instinct was to find innovative fabrics and hues that felt compatible with our Amsterdam weather. This also meant finding technical fabrics that could react well to wind and rain, but also breathe and dry quickly.”
This form-follows-function mentality is something that the Dutch have become known for. Their view is pragmatic, functional and sober; without any unnecessary embellishments or design additions that would get in the way. “Throughout the process, we were all searching for something new that enrichened both entities and elevated existing garments and accessories,” explains Stuart.
This exercise in functionality was essential to both Patta and C.P. Company and can be found throughout the collection’s garments. A testament to this function-follows-form mentality can be found in the tiniest details, from the choice in water- and windproof fabrics to the placement of mesh behind zippers.
Additionally, Jacket sling-styled straps were added to the fishtail parka, enabling the garments to be carried over the shoulders. C.P. Company garments like the Google Fishtail Parka, jerseys and beanies were all tested and analyzed by the Patta team. Guided by the technical expertise of Paul Harvey, C.P. Company designer, elements were added or distilled to guarantee the highest form of functionality. “We even tested some of the jackets and vests on the bike, as Amsterdam is a biking city. Small strings and other design details that might get stuck behind the saddle had to be altered in order to work in the Netherlands.”
A platform for Dutch excellence
Between their collaborations with Nike and C.P. Company, their retail locations in Amsterdam & London and their streetwear brand, which currently can be found in 24 stores around the world, it might be difficult to label Patta as just one thing. When asking Lee Stuart how Patta would define themselves, it became clear that their vision and legacy is based on something broader than just product.
“We’re broadly oriented, and the stores are just a facet of who we are. We have created our own brand, curated exhibitions, become a platform for emerging musical talent and even show important movies during some of our movie nights: it’s all about creating a platform for culture to thrive,” explains Stuart about the vision behind the retailer-turned-streetwear brand. “Patta has become an international brand, and the world has become smaller thanks to social media. But still, the influence that Amsterdam has on the rest of the streetwear community is impressive, even disproportionate, and something that doesn’t always get acknowledged. The collaboration with C.P. Company is our homage to Amsterdam.”