Founded in 1905, Quick is renowned for its clean and straightforward aesthetic and also for its proud sporting heritage, most notably on the football pitch. A Dutch national icon worn by the likes of the great Guus Hiddink, Quick almost faded from memory after its bankruptcy in the late nineties. But thanks to the tireless passion of Rini van Trigt and John Ouwejan who revived the brand in 2001, Quick is once again producing footwear with a European sense of class. We caught up with Rini and John for a 'quickie' and managed to get our heads around what it means to be flexible and strong!
Hey Rini and John, tell us a little bit about Quick... what is your biggest claim to fame?
Our biggest achievement has been resurrecting the brand from practically nonexistence after its bankruptcy in the late ’90s. Today we are selling shoes and apparel from Japan to Canada and many countries in between. We are being looked at as one of the few historical brands.
Do you think there are some qualities about the brand that are particularly Dutch? Were your shoes made locally in past decades?
As with many other brands in the past, our efforts were mainly focused on our home territory. This meant design, development, and production was all done in the Netherlands. Obviously this had an impact on the product. The Dutch like simple, clean and straightforward design that cares more about the quality of the product.
The old Quick logos are still quite modern looking and rather stylish. They're lovely pieces of design...
Like I said, Dutch design philosophy is visible in our approach to our sneakers. But also our logos, which we merely inherited, are simple and clean without any bells and whistles or pointless gadgetry.
I was really surprised to learn the brand was over 100 years old. Has Quick always been making shoes during that entire time?
104 years to date! It is pretty amazing actually when you think of it. How many brands out there have been around for such a long time? Although many know our brand because of its tight link to soccer, these are not the only type of shoes we make. Quick did skating shoes, running shoes, cross trainers and indoor shoes. Recently we developed an FIA approved racing shoe for the Formula One racing team we sponsored.
So how did Quick come back from the period it went bankrupt? What were the circumstances?
In the attic of the third generation Janssen family, who founded the Quick brand back in 1905, we found all the artefacts, product registrations and memorabilia of the Quick brand up till 1995 - the year of the bankruptcy. With our pure enthusiasm for the brand and its meaning to so many people in the Netherlands who were brought up on a pair of Quickies, we talked them into a relaunch with the promise that we would make sure this brand would be around for another 100 years. The rest is history. Nowadays, also because of its international expansion, Quick is more successful than it has ever been in its history. The great thing is that we still own a lot of artifacts from the old days. A little museum at our offices close to Rotterdam displays many unique pairs dating back to the early ’20s.
We loved the Quick anthology you released which has an amazing amount of classic euro-football history. We’re a little out of our depth when it comes to Dutch soccer... Can you explain how closely linked Quick was with the #1 sport in Holland?
As far as boots were concerned, Quick was soccer and soccer was Quick.
Concise! Which great players used to wear your boots?
Van Daele, Kindval Swart, Nanninga, Janssen, the Koeman brothers, van Hanegem, Rensenbrink, all great names playing in Quickies. But also nowadays top Dutch trainers like Bert van Marwijk, Louis van Gaal, Co Adriaanse and last but not least, Guus Hiddink where playing in Quickies during their career.
I imagine it is now very difficult to compete against the huge multi-national companies when it comes to sports sponsorship?
Actually we are developing again. Sneakers are a great platform for the relaunch of the brand due to the massive library we have of old and original products. Part of our history though is soccer, which in itself is a reason to start challenging these multi nationals. We are sponsoring soccer on the highest level from August onwards again. We have just signed a three-year deal with AZ, the current Dutch champions, be it only for apparel, but we are present in the Champions League for upcoming season.
Tell me about FC Fabulous... I loved the pics of the Quicks on Chicks!
Our answer to 'seen it all before soccer'. My personal favorites; Ronalda and Inga. I guess for those whose football apathy drops for a while they are the ideal team to get you watching again. No further comments!
You mentioned Quick also made shoes for a Formula One team?
Spyker was and still is a Dutch carmaker. They construct the most awesome and powerful racing machines. They output only like 50 or 60 a year so it is difficult to find anything on wheels that is more exclusive. Their history is simular to ours. Established in the late 19th century, they disappeared for a while to be brought back by a couple of enthusiasts in early 2000. When they told us about their plans to enter into Formula One we only had to think for ten minutes to come up with the decision to join them in this adventure. We became sponsors of the team and official supplier at the same time and are now one out of six companies worldwide allowed to produce fireproof shoes under FIA approval for car racing.
OK, that's quite an accolade. Let’s talk sneakers. So far we have seen the Ottawa model and the Sportstar. I assume they are vintage models that have been resurrected?
Yes, Ottawa was an indoor soccer shoe and Sportstar a gravel tennis shoe. Both back from the ’70s. Next one on line is the Highstar, which is the same bottom as the Sportstar, the difference being it is a high top. We are launching it in its original materials with Boxing leather on the vamp and suede reinforcements. This style is true back to basics with a very clean and mono colour make up.
The Gibson desert boot looks rather tidy... is that an old model?
The Gibson was just a crazy experiment. Besides sneakers many of us dress also with the original Clarks desert booties. We thought of making a combination between these two. With a pair of scissors we took apart the outsole and upper of a pair of our Maurissen SL and did the same with a pair of Clarks. Then we put together the Maurissen outsole and Clarks upper, which resulted in the Gibson. We also tried the other way around, but to be fair that completely failed.
Most of the current models would appear to be from the sixties. Do you have any retro runners or even some later high-tech models that you could bring back?
There is still so much stuff in our office to be relaunched. We have even created a little museum to display everything for our customers and for our own inspiration. The original company had been developing sneakers and trainers up till 1995. We only took over in 2001. Models we are relaunching now date back from the ’70s and the ’80s. So there is still a lot to come from our archives, as well as exciting stuff from our own developments.
It seems like you guys are very focused on primary colours - red, blue and green are a big part of the Quick look. Is there an historical basis for that?
We have done this for two collections now. Actually only for our archive models. The colours are originals used three decades ago in Quick apparel collections. We thought it would give a very bold but simple look to the shoes. Just as we like it. It seemed also that others have appreciated these signature colours.
You’re still based in Holland... what are the plans for the distribution? Are Quick shoes sold in Europe and the USA? Where can we find them?
We always will be in Holland but are rapidly expanding our export business. We are currently active in twenty-five or so countries, ranging from Japan and Korea all the way to Canada. In between we sell in Russia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia, France, the Scandinavian countries and many more. We are looking at a few options in the US as well now. Recently we also launched our webshop for people from countries we do not yet have any distribution for.
Thanks guys - for more info clock www.q1905.com