Interview with VFRANZ
Mens Product Developer
“I work with a team of developers to create the styles and looks that’ll be in stores season after season.”
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
There’s a picture of me as a young kid, it wasn’t even Halloween, and I have on cowboy boots, jeans, a denim dress shirt and a bolo tie. I look at it now and I’m like, “Wow.” I guess it started there, but I put it aside to concentrate on basketball.
Wait, you played basketball?
My dad got me started when I was five. I didn’t enjoy it because I had to wake up early on Saturdays and I never got to watch my cartoons [laughs]. I grew up in a basketball family―my aunts played, my mum played, my dad―it was expected.
I got a scholarship to play in the Philippines, so I played for a university there for a year then I quit and studied womenswear. Everyone was so shocked. Even my girlfriend asked me, “What are you doing? Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” All these questions came up just because I wanted to do something different.
How did you make the transition to footwear?
I’ve always loved shoes. Even when I was playing basketball I wanted to have a different pair of Nikes, I didn’t want the same shoes as everybody else. And my family loves shoes—we’re all shoe fanatics.
How did you end up at Call It Spring?
Good old HR and the internet. I applied and I thought I had no hope of getting the job. It’s pretty tough these days because there’s no face-to-face interaction, it’s just you and the computer and you don’t know where it’s going to fall.
What’s a typical day like for you?
It depends on where we are in the season. During development season, we open a lot of boxes and do a lot of research. I like to take 20 minutes in the morning to check the blogs to see what’s happening in fashion and menswear. When the men’s shows are happening I’ll scroll through all of them to see if what we’re doing for the next season is relevant with what the fashion guys are saying.
What blogs do you hit up?
I like Highsnobiety.com and if I want a laugh I’ll go to Four-pins.com. I like looking at street styles to see what people on the street are wearing. I think that’s one of the most important things. The best research you can do is going on the street, or going shopping, and seeing what people are wearing and buying.
What trends do you think will be big for fall?
The mid-cut leather boot and our new high-top sneakers. We’ve never done a style like that before and I’m really excited to see how they work out.
Which piece are you most excited about wearing?
There’s the casual dress shoe with a thicker sole that I really like. They’re very tonal with lots of black on black.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
The team that I work with. That’s the best part. We’re serious, but we joke around. I think we’re the craziest ones in the building.
Photo by Dominique Lafond