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With respectful nods to history, VINNY’s penny loafers is here to keep style just as relevant as fashion for current and future generations
”Every outfit has two starting points: either the choice of top or outerwear or the choice of footwear. Ever since my early days I’ve always been a victim of shoe addiction so it was only right for me to start with what I love to most.”
28-year-old Virgil Nicholas was born and raised in Copenhagen by parents of Congolese descent.
— Due to the fact that my brothers and I had a wardrobe of pink polos, yellow trousers and brogue from before we could walk, self-understanding, personal character and style nonetheless has always been top of my mind, he says, adding,
— Therefore, without knowing it before actually standing in it, it was quite given that I was going to end u designing my own products although the road to here has been a long time coming with numerous projects and label below the belt. Nothing has felt more like home than VINNY's though.
Yes, we’ve seen you working for several leading Danish brands during the last few years. And now starting your own. How come?
— As with everything else I’ve done my heart is always worn on my sleeve and VINNY's is no exception, since Vinny is my son Vincent-Laurent’s nickname. With respectful nods to history, both style history and my own, VINNY's is here to keep style just as relevant as fashion for current and future generations. The brand is a reaction to years and years of observing, listening and working with both old and young men that could always find excuses for not taking care of themselves in either physical, mental or both ways. Men that would always take the easy way and not minding how they presented themselves. And with sneakers being omnipresent it gets even harder to understand or figure out how to actually set a statement for yourself. So out of a deep love for classic menswear, hip-hop culture and everlasting style, I felt it was time to create a brand that would always be the proper choice for those who want to stand out effortlessly despite surrounding trends. Starting with footwear.
Why footwear? And why a penny loafer?
— Every outfit has two starting points: either the choice of top or outerwear or the choice of footwear. Ever since my early days I’ve always been a victim of shoe addiction so it was only right for me to start with what I love to most. So many amazing brands create gorgeous clothing across the spectra but far less find way to classic men’s shoes. And no wonder: the heritage brands that have been doing this for generations should be respected indeed but for those that do not yet have that kind of spending power but are beginning to feel a need for more than a pair of trainers and tennis shoes in their weekly rotation should have a decent and respectful go-to, says Nicholas. He continues:
— The penny loafer is my all time favorite silhouette beyond any sneaker or dress shoe. In my opinion the penny loafers is universal and transcends fashion and lifestyle niches and subcultures, which is important to me. As much as I can and in everything I do, I put inclusion first. Most importantly, the penny loafers is also one of the few silhouettes that you can wear with more or less everything and still look your absolute best. With the Townee, which is our first penny loafer, I like to think that we have made a version that will make any bearer look effortlessly better on any day, which ultimately is VINNY’s core purpose.
How sustainable is it?
— From an environmental perspective, sustainability is difficult in any kind of manufacturing: the second we start producing — especially something that already exists — one can argue that it is excess of Mother Nature's ressources. From a product perspective, on the other hand, styles like the penny loafer only gets better as you use them. It is with shoes such as the Townee that you develop your own patina and story. So much that one might not even will want to get rid of them at their most outworn stage. That’s what I want with VINNY's and the Townee. To create as long-lasting products as we possible can, improving our ways one batch at a time. Our products are made in Portugal, which enables us to ensure proper factory conditions, no excess production and transportation by air. Lastly, as much as VINNY's is an ode to the current and future generations it’s also about heritage and giving back. Therefore we will commit ourselves to aiding both with economic and physical resources in one of the most overlooked countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
What else do you have coming?
— So much gold! We are going ”HAM” on the penny loafer for the first couple of drops and then you can expect more classic silhouettes interpreted by us. Derbies, boots and who knows: we might just look into other ways of adding leather to complete your look.
VINNY'sVirgil NicholasVINNY's Townee