During their university studies in London the young sisters, Lisa and Jessica Kistermann, were inspired by the sounds and vibes of the cities underground districts. The alternative and edgy rock scene of Shoreditch, Camden Town and the heady cultural clash of Brick Lane breathed life into Crime London collections.
A style that epitomizes the look of East London. Life is given to Crime London, where the past lives again, revisit the old and its timeless value, make cool that which is often left in the imagination of the vintage community, create a product that transmits the sensation of life experience. Groove is a rhythm, a sensual pleasure, involvement, a mix of cool & funky.
We met with the founders and creative directors of Crime London, a brand creating handmade vintage sneakers. Lisa and Jessica Kistermann, two sisters owning one very successful brand, they tell us all about how they got in this business and what’s to come in the future.
We spoke Fashion, competition and even some sibling rivalry with the Crime sisters. Take a look at what happened when Debut met Crime.
Debut: Our first question is, why the name Crime?
Crime: There’s actually so many different reasons, we started by saying ‘partners in crime’ because we’re sisters, We were never really that close, but its like the past four or five years that we started bonding by living together so we really have this sort of connection and that’s how we came up with the brand.
It’s something that bonds us even more, our work.
We love East London, which was sort of another Crime terminology, its edgy, dark, as you can see the brand mood is pretty underground and black and very dark but at the same time it doesn’t need to necessarily look negative.
Debut: How difficult is it to work together being sisters? Do you clash often?
Crime: Yeah but we’re so straightforward with each other that it ends fast. We just fight with each other and whatever and in an hour its like we’re over with that. Usually I think we fight once every six or seven months, not that much.
Debut: Do you find it hard to be taken seriously as female designers?
Crime: Not only the fact that we’re female designers but also that fact of being young designers is the worst combination you could possibly have. I mean we never wanted to be in fashion. I studied business she’s just finishing her degree in International Business and Russian as a language. So we kind of did the same course, we were business oriented. I’m actually still asking myself how we ended up in this business.
I mean I thank god every day that we have this background and a little bit of knowing what’s going on in the business world cause I do realise that when I’m talking to people at least I can pull barriers of what I know and make myself feel more confidant about what I know.Not that the world is sexist but it still kind of is, especially when you’re young and having to cope with older people.
Debut: Sounds tough! How would explain a typical workday for you?
Crime: It depends what season and what month, I mean right now we just finished our trade shows so we’ve been around on tour. Every day is different, and even if you think your day is going to be like that, it never is, you can’t really tell how your day is going to be. You just do it, you just get stuff done.
Debut: That’s right, although it sounds busy! How do you manage studying at university and working on Crime?
Crime: I kind of have my feet on both shoes, I can manage both, so when we have meetings, I’ll fly back to organise myself but yeah I get my work done in uni.
Debut: Obviously you have to juggle a lot with university, how do juggle life, like dating, socialising?
Crime: Our priority right now is our kid, Crime, I wouldn’t give priority to anyone or anything else. I thank her, that I’m with her all the time because if I was alone oh my god, I wouldn’t want, It’s me and her all the time alone just going around older people and you’re not really sure if what you’re doing or if you’re doing it right.
Debut: You said that you didn’t always want to be in fashion, can you not pinpoint any inspiration maybe?
Crime: We chose business because it left doors open to any path you wanted to take even if you weren’t sure. We’re pretty artsy but at the same time even in this art which is fashion, we want to do shoes that people like but at the same time, its so hard to do a shoe that looks nice, its much harder to get something that sells out. So do we want to do a brand that looks cool for us and our market or do we want to do a brand that is maybe less cool and less trendy and less fashion on spot but then it’s easier to wear, casual to wear, you see it around. When we see our shoes around it actually feels weird. I’d rather see that happen then have me on like the cover of Vogue, which is also cool but when you see its there live.
Debut: Who are Your mainstream competitors, we thought they would be Converse or Vans?
Crime: Ash I think is our main number one competitor, even for example he’s just in front of our showroom that we have in Milan, he’s just in front.. Even at the fairs we exhibit we’re like one stand next to each other
Debut: So do you not see them as competitors?
Crime: They are competitors but most of our competitors we’re pretty chilled about it unless they do something which is not right, but besides that we’re friends with so many other people from the footwear industry, we don’t want to have bad tension with anyone.
Debut: What can we expect in the future from Crime?
Crime: We really want to hit the states. I think when you hit the states you’re pretty much international. Even I have to say now days, Korean and Asian markets are pretty much a lot of futuristic fashion, but we’re more street wear so it’s a different market.
Debut: What would you say are your top UK based brands?
Crime: Actually, you know hole, the guys from Camden Town, its called Rabbit Hole, those baggy jerseys and they just have one store. We actually do take some of their stuff sometimes for shooting that we do, we know the guys are chilled, and I love how they sow everything just under their store, they have a lot of manufacturing going on, they take care of their goods.
Debut: You say a lot about how London in particular you use as an inspiration. What else inspires you?
Crime: All our friends inspire us, anything that is new, anything that we don’t know is an inspiration cause you’re trying to understand something that’s still not in your knowledge so you’re like wait am I getting it right. So I think it’s anything that gives you an emotion.
We get a lot of inspiration from music.
Debut: What celebrity would you say would be most suited to wearing Crime?
Crime: I mean id love to have a famous rock star just a famous cool, grungy, rock star or even Angelina Jolie cause she’s so aggressive, very edgy, beautiful, feminine but I don’t know still has that something.