The duo behind Crime London, sisters Lisa and Jessica Kistermann, have been quietly building their footprint in sneakerwear.
If you’ve had the good fortune to be among the world of debauchery and good vibes of Ibiza, you may have heard of the label. Crime London’s flagship store is in the party capital and they have loyal fans in the creatives who frequent the island.
The brand has begun to expand beyond the Ibiza elite. Celebrities like Sofia Richie and Alessandra Ambrosio have been seen rocking Crime London.
The footwear label launched in 2012 after Jessica and Lisa had an idea while studying together in London. They noticed a lack of premium, high-quality sneakers at an affordable price. Thus, Crime London was born.
The sisters have an infectious warmth over the phone, bouncing off one another with ease. Just a few minutes into our first call, and it’s clear they have the gift of the gab. The conversation flows effortlessly as we go through some preliminary topics at their request. As easygoing as the two of them seem over the phone, they are tenacious entrepreneurs through and through. “We’re control freaks!” Jessica exclaims to me over the phone as Lisa giggles in the background.
Growing up in a household with an Italian mother, a half Greek, half German father, and attending an American school, the sisters are used to connecting with people across culture and language. They were often left having to make new friends as people cycled in and out of their schools. Jessica and Lisa have harnessed their ability to foster relationships with others to secure business partnerships and inspiration from other creatives. On a recent trip to Miami, they put together a Crime London pop-up in Wynwood and shot a campaign video for their next collection. From just one trip and with the help of friends, they created three to four months of content.
“The lifestyle and the background of traveling and connecting with people – if you’re always willing to push yourself forward and go outside of your comfort zone, things happen,” said Jessica over the phone.
Needless to say, travel and networking have been seriously curbed due to the pandemic. Many young businesses have struggled to keep themselves afloat in the uncertainty and stress of the last year and a half. “We’re thankful to have a very strong business background,” the sisters explain, “We are pleased by the strength of our online business, our deep connections with our customers, and the strength of our relationships. Retail sales suffered severe reduction, but our digital business has been able to persevere, and the demand on our platform has increased.”
Being successful in the sneaker industry takes business savvy, but it also takes guts. The industry is sharky, with a handful of brands still dominating the footwear market. The Kistermann sisters are also setting up shop in an intensely male-dominated industry. The Crime London founders shared their thoughts on the gender bias in their field, “Despite having come a long way in recent years, the sneaker industry is still missing the mark when it comes to gender inclusivity. Whether it’s women missing out on exclusive collaborations because our size isn’t stocked, being overlooked for opportunities in favor of male counterparts, more media coverage on men’s content, or falling prey to the narrative that women can’t be sneakerheads, there are a number of ways that the lack of inclusivity in the industry is evidenced.”
The Kistermann sisters flag that some of the hottest sneaker drops only release US size 8 and above, excluding people with smaller feet, who tend to be women. “Having women in decision-making roles and innovation roles within brands and media would be truly beneficial to the overall sneaker and streetwear scene. It’s clear that progress is being made, but more work still needs to be done,” they write in an email.
At just a glance at the Crime London Instagram, the sisters look at home promoting their business on social media. However, the two understand the pitfalls of social media. “Our generation is influenced a lot by social media and “the hype” which can pretty much make you or break you basically overnight, especially for younger brands like us. Everything looks easy and fun but there is a lot of downtime and hard work that we would not be able to overcome without our team working on a daily basis.”
The two don’t have personal pages, instead choosing to focus their attention on growing Crime London’s presence online.
Jessica and Lisa have much to celebrate. Their latest FW21 collection was inspired by escapism and the rave and clubbing culture that they so dearly missed over the last year and a half. From the roaring ‘20s to the acid raves of the ‘90s, their latest collection is a toast to the newfound freedom people are finding as restrictions relax.
In the fashion industry, collaborations are the new black. When asked if the Kistermann sisters have any dream partnerships in mind, their excitement emanates from the words in their email. “So, so, so many, not sure we could make a top three list. It would definitely be more a collaboration crossing industries rather than with another brand. We have something exciting coming up…but not quite ready to share it yet…so stay connected.”
We trust the Kistermann sisters to make magic with a little help from friends and a lot of business savvy. Keep your eyes on Crime London as they gear up for something that will surely be exciting.END
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