12 Sep

COO of Buffalo London Mirko Ostendoerfer Talks Future of the Ugly ’90s Shoe

The “ugliest ’90s shoe” is back in business! As we already said six months ago, the Buffalo platform shoes are making a huge comeback. In fact, the brand just opened its first flagship store in the city where it all started; Berlin. We went to the official opening party and had an interesting chat with Mirko Ostendoerfer, who is the current COO of Buffalo, and Alexandra Preusche, Buffalo London’s global PR and marketing manager.

Due to the massive chunky sneaker hype and the ’90s revival that has been ruling the fashion scene for the past seasons, a comeback of the Buffalo platforms was something unstoppable. Add some Buffalo-loving celebs to the mix and you’ll get something that is very hard to ignore. In fact, they’re quite popular nowadays. We heard there are waiting lists, just to be able to buy the infamous shoes.

From raver to fashion scene

As we all know by now, the Buffalo shoes first saw the light in the ’90s. It was a popular item in the ’90s rave and techno scene, starting in Frankfurt, Germany, but later going global when the Spice Girls started wearing them a lot. Except for Victoria Beckham aka Posh, who apparently hated them and only wanted to wear heels.

Posh Spice wasn’t the only one in the ’90s who really hated the platform shoes. A lot of people agreed with her and absolutely hated the shoes. And most of them still do so today. “We follow up on this, we always read our comments on Instagram, for example. It’s a product that polarized the people.” said Mirko Ostendoerfer (COO of Buffalo) when we asked him about it. “You’ll always have the haters, but luckily for us, there are many more lovers. The trend is different now, it’s not the same trend as it was in the ’90s. It’s also a different kind of consumer. Buffalo London shoes are much more a fashion product than a rave or techno product – especially in Germany it was like this. The funny part is that people in other countries really don’t relate Buffalos to rave, techno or Berlin. For them, it’s a new trend and they think it’s a nice chunky silhouette, just like the other brands are doing right now.”

Jazelle Zaunaughtti aka UglyWorldWide and Patrick Mason at the Buffalo London flagship store opening in Berlin

The new generation

As for the ones that did not actively experience the ’90s, it’s an entirely different story. When we asked Ostendoerfer about how they are dealing with that new generation, he said, “It’s very easy. I look at my daughters, they’re 14 and 18 years old. They have no clue about the ’90s. They like the silhouette, the platform and they really just love the style and that it’s different. You can also see it with other brands, the trend is getting back to higher platforms, a little bit wider shape of the sole etc. It’s perfect to come back as an original now.”

And if that wasn’t enough, fashion icons and artist from all over the world are sporting the platform shoes. What the Spice Girls did in the ’90s is now being done by an army of pop stars. A perfect example is Kim Petras, who is currently one of our favorite upcoming artists. She has been wearing the shoes a lot and she owns it in every way possible. When we mentioned Kim Petras to Mirko Ostendoerfer he said he had never heard of her. A shame!

As for other members of the army of pop stars, Ostendoerfer said the following: “Many stars are wearing our shoes at the moment; Rita Ora, Ariana Grande, Gigi Hadid, Sza and many more. Dua Lipa was doing a full tour with buffalo shoes. The good thing is; we would never ever pay them to wear the shoes. We want the brand to be authentic, and we want people to really love the shoes when they wear it. We do the same when we choose our models for campaigns, etc. It needs to be authentic!”

Kim Petras wearing Buffalo London

(High end fashion) collabs

The high end fashion part is a really important aspect of Buffalo London. last season, the shoes were featured on fashion week runway shows like Junya Watanabe for Comme Des Garçons, but also Vivienne Westwood and more. “We will also do more collaborations with designers. We will be represented in a lot of fashion week runway shows in Paris in September, I can promise.” Mirko Ostendoerfer tells us. “We also have an upcoming collaboration with 032C. There are a lot of things coming up. This is also how we want to develop the brand.”

The COO also teased a shoe x shoe collaboration that is going to drop in December 2018. As for the shoe/sneaker brand they are going to collaborate with, he didn’t want to spill the tea yet. A Buffalo x Adidas/Nike/Reebok/etc. collaboration would be very interesting though! We’ll keep our eyes open for this.

The future of Buffalo

The fact that the time was right to re-release the iconic Buffalos is something we can’t deny. The chunky/ugly shoe thing is a real hype, but hypes don’t last forever. Ostendoerfer told us they are fully aware of this and they’re always thinking about their next step. “The next step is platforms.” he explained. “In the end of the ’90s Buffalo had more than 3.000 different styles. It’s a lot and we all have them in our archives. We will bring back the really succesful styles and launch new products and colorways often. Just like sports brands are doing it. I think we can play with it for a long time.”

Photo credits: Buffalo London



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