German football player Lukas Podolski is what you would call a true hometown hero. Born in Poland, he moved to the Cologne area with his family at the age of two. Here, he went on to become one of the top performers – and most beloved characters – for local club 1. FC Köln. His connection to the city still remains tight, even after the striker moved to other clubs later on. With several local businesses, ranging from ice cream, kebap and burger stores to his “Strassenkicker” label, Lukas stays rooted in the community. His current stint at Japanese side Vissel Kobe now spawned another project that gives Cologne its very own streetwear concept space.
The driving creative force behind this new location called “Standart.Space” is none other than Andy Chiu. The self-proclaimed “Germazian” already pulled some strings for sportswear giant adidas in Japan, working as the director for Originals und Action Sports. With Standart, he now helps to build an entirely new project from the ground up. The store’s site is another storied one though. Formerly the home of skate shop “Made In”, the premises prove the perfect spot for the duo’s common vision. A well-established location in the heart of Cologne ties in with Lukas’ dedication to city. And the light and open venue proves to be an appropriate canvas for Andy’s idea of a modern concept space.
In August 2019, Standart opened its doors to the public. Heads from Cologne and the surrounding region finally got a glimpse of the store and its illustrious inventory. Right at the entrance there’s a coffee bar that invites customers to stay and soak up the unique atmosphere. Real plants add a natural flair to the clean aesthetics of the store. Flashes of the underlying brick wall then hint at the location’s rustique history. Across the checkout in a small wooden cabin, there’s a sneakerwall with the latest releases from brand’s like adidas, PUMA, VANS, Sonra and more. Enthroned above, a selection of Bearbricks already indicates what more awaits in the back of the venue.
Art and street culture magazines provide appropriate reading material, while the rear section houses an array of coveted streetwear. Next to essentials like Stüssy and Daily Paper, hard-to-find Japanese brands from Wacko Maria to Human Made round off the line-up. But of course the portfolio isn’t near complete this early after the store opening. Soon, labels like ACRONYM, Visvim, Neighborhood, WTAPS and sacai will complete the range. Naturally, hearing of all that greatness taking shape made us want to dive deeper into the vision of Standart. So we took a short 10-minute stroll from our own Cologne offices for a little chat with Andy.
Lukas Podolski’s involvement is something really special. How did you two meet each other?
Well we both had two mutual aspects in our lives: living in Japan and having a very close relationship to adidas.
What is Lukas’ connection and how did you find out you were on the same wave length?
We became close friends quite quickly. We have the same point of view at a lot of things in life and similar humor in many ways I guess.
What’s special about Standart Space compared to other stores?
With Standart we are offering a space with good vibes, energy and curated products that not everyone has in their portfolio. It might sound bizarre at first but our aim is not necessarily to motivate people to buy more but buy the right product at the right energy, at the right space for the right purpose.
You mentioned there is a disconnect with the generations. How do you want to change it and can you explain?
First and foremost – it might not apply to everyone but our observation is that kids of today don’t necessarily have or are interested into the background information to what they like or desire. Information flow became so fast that everything seems to get more and more unified. We can see this everywhere in the world in every genre – that’s why it is harder and harder to find unique experiences, style, energy or products. When people all of sudden like and chase artworks of FUTURA because Mr Abloh integrated him into his show – that’s quite interesting to see. We don’t necessarily want to change it but deliver certain qualities and values that we believe in, such as service, knowledge, culture, background and soon some more initiatives.
What is your connection to art?
I have a long art background and even studied it. Art applies to many things in our lives and seems becoming more and more important since everything seems to come and leave easily.
Can you explain the space? Take us on a walkthrough?
The space kicks off with a chill out space where you can get a coffee and enjoy a mural. Currently by Kevin Lyons which we will change in regular period of times. We wanted to make sure that you can get familiar with the overall space and energy first and not have zillions of shelves in your face. Followed by our café area where you can get small snacks, beverages, and accessories. The curated products then starts in the third and forth section. We tried to give the products its deserved space unlike having every shelf or racks packed with products. We truly believe in less is more.
What brands do you guys have in stock? What’s special about the portfolio at Standart?
We have a quite unique selection of brands and products but also have evergreen products. At the end I think it’s up to the individual that makes the product special and not necessarily the product the person who wears it. We all have seen this person with expensive clothing and footwear that looks like a dork. So the person at the end is the white canvas in our POV.