words by iqmall
images by thaartist

Out of love and necessity rather than profit and novelty. That’s Patta. The Dutch brand that has only grown in prominence since their start in 2004 – a sneaker spot in Europe that stocked the unimaginable.

Founders Edson Sabajo and Guillaume ‘Gee’ Schmidt went against the grain, to bring a splash of much needed life into a uninspiring Dutch streetwear scene. With wads of cash in their pockets, the pair travelled to the United States, visiting obscure sneaker stores to bring home a surfeit of sneakers that were only available in these parts. This do-it-yourself attitude is what defines Patta. An unwavering security in their beliefs and carving their own lane in this crazy streetwear scene. We caught up with Edson when he was in Indonesia for Urban Sneaker Society with Ageless Galaxy.

As the guy who runs Patta from its inception, how has the stuff you put on shelves in 2004 compared to what’s on offer in 2019?

It’s a long story man, I mean when we started we were a sneaker store we had no accounts. We had shoes from all over the globe, we start selling it, at one point we were saying, “Ay man, we should do shirts”.

And the shirts went very well, so why not start a clothing line? So you can now understand that Patta is a community-driven company, independent. No investors no nothing. So we always have to invest, always one-time in a project. So now we have 3 Patta stores, one in London, Amsterdam of course and Milan. We have Patta running team, we run all over the globe, Patta sound system, of course music and just started the Patta foundation. We have a lot of things in our portfolio. So yea, a lot of things have changed.

You’ve gone on record to say that the Safari Air 87 was the shoe model that sparked your love for sneakers? What about it set off this love affair of yours?

Yea, that’s definitely one of those. I mean Jordan 3 too, but Safari 87, it had to do a lot with hip hop as culture has greatly influenced my life. It made me who I am, I’m still a fan of the shoes, fashion & that’s how we approach every job, we don’t see it as a job, we do it like a hobby, we just expanded it Into a worldwide job with no investors no nothing. It’s all of our money, all that we’ve got.

With the introduction of the internet and how it has revolutionized the world and how we consume information, where do you look at to gain inspiration now if we’re following the same model you used back in the day?

Back in the early 2000s, region exclusives are a huge deal and a bummer to most sneaker enthusiasts worldwide. This fad has died off but has starting to re-emerge as a marketing tool of sorts.

How do you feel about the exclusivity?

Yea but you know, you have a whole different other stuff, you have different models. Example, for Asia, America or Europe, you have shoes that you can still find. For instance, like over here, you still have those Air Force ones that I just saw at the ODD stores. Like in America, that shit is just sold out. So if you can buy like 20 pairs now, you can make a lot of money now. And probably some stuff sold in Europe, people over here (in Asia) are going crazy. But definitely the game is different but for me it’s just shoes man.

Café De Duivel and music in general is a huge part of your life, can you share with us what that part of your life looks like?

That’s our home stomping ground in Amsterdam. That’s also a staple when it comes to hip-hop like I said before. Hip-hop is a big influence in my life, and the De Duivel was a cafe that opened up in ’92. Still to today, they are the only place in the Netherlands maybe, that you can still play during the weekdays.

There’s a live DJ and it’s just crazy. It’s a nice little vibe where you need to go. Everybody that comes to Amsterdam to stay in my house or a hotel or whatever I’ll always bring them there, because I started playing there in’92. If I’m in town, I’ll still play there at De Duivel. You have to experience it, it’s a really nice vibe.

What is football to Patta and yourself? What did you think of Ajax’s run in the Champions League?

We grew up with football and Ajax is Ajax you know. Most of the time they ask me what’s my hobby. I have 4 hobbies, one of them being football, soccer, all day. When I was in Singapore, I went into Limited Edition, they have a football department, I found this Singapore team t-shirt. So I got it and it was dope, you know what I’m saying’? With football, we’re all over it.

The second hobby I have is music, I’m a DJ so every time when I go somewhere, doesn’t matter where I’ll be looking for records. I could talk hip-hop all day. Third is women, I love women so I’ll find my wife. Fourth is fashion/sneakers.

With it being my hobby, it gave me my job, that’s why I can travel all over the globe doing it as what I do right now. I’m very happy, very blessed.

You’ve once said that fashion is cyclical. It’s one big cycle that rotates trends and fads. What do you think is the next thing to come back into the prominence?

That’s a very good question, for me, it doesn’t matter what comes back, I do my own stuff. What I really want to see is originality. I think that’s the thing that needs to come back. There’s a lot of duplicates, imitations, a lot of people are talking, everyone thinks they are the best.

But originality, is still key, I also want to see more independence. It’s possible to be an independent company and do stuff. So hopefully, let’s put it this way, I want to see more balls in the industry. Not be like the same old same old.

But we’ll see, for us at Patta, we just do what we do, hopefully people like it. But if they don’t then that’s their issue. I just go on and on and keep on creating with whoever I’d love to work with.

Streetwear has come leaps and bounds since it’s first form of screen printed tees and edgy branding. The last decade has seen the genre crashing head-on with luxury fashion. While fleeting brands jump on bandwagons as quickly as they fall off, Patta has long been a gatekeeper of the essense of streetwear. Protecting the values of streetwear – rejecting the norm, going against the grain and consistently sticking with the process. Patta has always done things right. In a time where streetwear brands are valued over a billion dollars , launching stores every few years, Patta and their 3 stores will hold the fort down as stalwarts of streetwear. And long may they keep going as they mean to.