A bit Rock & Roll with the deep love to nature

Interview with Michael Kopplstätter, founder at C.R.A.F.T. Jeans

Style icons like Kate Moss love them, the skinny jeans by C.R.A.F.T. With its casual Rock & Roll attitude the jeans brand from Vorarlberg has made a name for itself all over the world. No matter if it’s New York, London or Dubai – only the best boutiques sell the premium brand’s collections. And customers on the Arlberg can also look forward to browsing through the latest models in a C.R.A.F.T. store in Lech. La Loupe had the opportunity to talk to the label’s boss, Michael Kopplstätter, and ask him questions about the fashion classic. Now we know how to best take care of our favourite pair of jeans and what trends we can look forward to in the coming season. 

L.L. / Since the jeans’ ascent to fashion stardom in the 1950s there was no decade when denim was not in. How come this material is so stylish?

M.K. / Denim and a cool jeans cut are the epitome of a laid back lifestyle. The blue wonder can be styled to look classy, by combining a pair of dark blue jeans with a classic silk blouse and a cashmere jacket – but I can also give it a rebellious touch by wearing distressed denim with a t-shirt and biker leather jacket. The possibilities are endless. Denim can be worn with everything: casual or dressed up. And denim is not ‘about fashion, it’s all about wearing it with confidence’. And that’s what the C.R.A.F.T. customer is like, too. She is confident and knows what she stands for. Our jeans underline her personality. That’s what celebrities like Kate Moss and others value about our brand. 

Michael Kopplstätter
Michael Kopplstätter

L.L. / C.R.A.F.T. stands for Rock & Roll, for skinny and biker jeans and leather jackets. No wonder style icons like Kate Moss love the label. What’s the philosophy behind C.R.A.F.T.?

M.K. / C.R.A.F.T. Jeans stands for craftsmanship, but not only, there’s a secret story behind this. As one of the pioneers of skinny and biker jeans, C.R.A.F.T. is very popular with connoisseurs, style icons, and celebrities with the rock-gene. We are innovative style leader and stand for a modern, effortless, clean, European style with Rock & Roll details. Fit, craftsmanship, and best quality are our basic principles.

We live the 1960s lifestyle, Jane Birkin and Anita Pallenberg are sources of inspiration. Songs by the Rolling Stones and David Bowie are on loop when new designs are developed. C.R.A.F.T. is the jeans experience to rock your soul.

L.L. / C.R.A.F.T. seems very urban. Which makes it all the more surprising that the label’s foundations were laid when you and your colleagues were in a chalet in the mountains. And your two stores are in Lech and Dornbirn. The C.R.A.F.T. Rock & Roll charm and the tranquil, almost picturesque natural backdrop of the Arlberg and Vorarlberg – how does that fit together?

M.K. / We had crazy times in New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles. My roots in the nature, the mountains and the ocean were always there though, and when I came back to Vorarlberg we were able to put that together in a combination that works. A bit of Rock & Roll with the deep love for nature ...

And, of course, C.R.A.F.T. jeans are available in selected, exclusive shops all over the world. 

L.L. / What styles and brands can customers of the C.R.A.F.T. store in Lech look forward to?

M.K. / Our store in Lech am Arlberg is rather unique in the Alps, it brings an urban lifestyle to the mountains. With its range of exclusive brands, the store offers a mix of European chic and slouchy California style. We are casual cool and present ‘favourite essentials with highest quality, rock chic details and vintage feel.’ C.R.A.F.T.-women travel the world and are inspired by an ‘effortless cool style.’ We have the ultimate favourite piece by every brand, to be perfectly combined with C.R.A.F.T. jeans. Upcoming designer like Anine Binge from Los Angeles and Rag & Bone from New York are also available here. Other brands that are known for offering the best high-quality basics – like beautiful t-shirts by James Perse from Los Angeles or hip cashmere sweaters by 360Cashmere in New York – are on offer, too. We also offer vintage feel by presenting artful, hand-painted vintage bags from the 1960s, e.g. by Hermes.

You are crafty if you like to dress classy with a touch of sexy, vintage and Rock & Roll. 

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L.L. / How to best take care of a pair of jeans is a mystery. Some swear by the ice-box method vs washing machine, others say it ought to be washed and tumble-dried. Now what is the best way to have a pair of jeans look fresh for as long as possible?

M.K. / Denim with a high proportion of spandex loses its stability and shape after a few rounds in the washing machine. Our denim contains only two percent of stretch material and the fabric is very dense which makes our jeans hold their shape better.

C.R.A.F.T. jeans are like a love affair: the denim doesn’t give in right away – but after a while it’ll adapt to the wearer and fit her perfectly forever. A love affair needs care, though, in order to last forever: 40-degree wash and no tumble dryer are the ideal preconditions for a lasting relationship. 


"You are crafty if you like to dress classy with a touch of sexy, vintage and Rock & Roll." 


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L.L. / Skinny or flare, torn or classic – what jeans trends can we expect in the coming season?

M.K. / C.R.A.F.T. is one of the pioneers of skinny jeans and celebrities love them. Which is why classic skinny jeans are always important for us. We don’t just blindly follow every trend. Our jeans are essential basics with a little extra that emphasise our own style. The focus of our work is on the fit and the high-quality materials with clever, hidden details.

A skinny silhouette still is a must-have, in high-quality dark blue denim and an authentic vintage wash it’s the perfect basic for every closet. Skinny fits every woman, the combination makes the overall look perfect.

Flare jeans have been a topic of discussion since the last season, but I think they’ll struggle. Flare looks great on tall, thin women. Women with a normal build look shorter in flare jeans. Consequently, it’s not easy to pull off that look…

Personally, I think that in the coming two seasons the classic straight cut jeans will make a come-back. 

L.L. / Aside from your job as a designer you also work in free arts. What is the difference between working in fashion design and painting? Where does the inspiration come from?

M.K. / When I was young and living in New York I kind of slipped from art into design. And for a few years now I have been focussing more on art again. Fashion design has a fixed framework and rules; thus creativity is limited and you quickly hit boundaries you cannot overcome.

Art means absolute freedom. No limits, no rules, no framework – and that’s a huge challenge. Most paintings are the result of coincidence and something unexpected. You wait for inspiration, somehow your hand starts doing something and that then turns into something else. Even when I have a basic idea for a painting it’ll end up going in a different direction. The final work is often very different from the initial idea, it transforms on its own. You never know what the painting will do in the course of its development – it does things you weren’t able to imagine beforehand. The challenge is to decide which part of the accident you take and finalise in a way that feels right for you. The creative process in art is a mixture of instinct, talent, skill, culture, creative fevers, doubt, and coincidence.

This winter I am very much looking forward to being able to exhibit in the tunnel gallery of the wonderful Hotel Burg Vital Resort in Oberlech. 

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Michael Kopplstätter's Wordrap

My favourite C.R.A.F.T. jeans model: Stargrove.

Denim and . Rock & Roll and everything ... always go together.

Three things to watch out for when buying jeans: 1st proportion and position of the back pockets are the key to a proper wow-effect (back pockets can’t be too small or too big), 2nd no ‘chichi’ but rather attention to detail and washing and 3rd, jeans should be like a love affair.

With or without spandex? Maximum 2 percent, the rest must be cotton.

I own … more than one … pair of jeans.

Fashion to me means: Fashion is more than just a word. What counts is style. It’s that courage to be different, the character and personality that make a person stand out. 

C.R.A.F.T.

In 2005 Michael Kopplstätter and two of his colleagues, Gerhard Leitner and Gideon Day, founded the jeans label C.R.A.F.T. in Dornbirn. The impulse: a night spent drinking in a hut in Bregenz Forest. Today the premium label is popular across the globe, fans identify with the Rock & Roll that makes C.R.A.F.T. so special – among them Kate Moss and the daughters of rock legend Keith Richards. The store in Lech offers its demanding customers not just exclusive jeans but other hip collections by brands like Rag & Bone, 360Cashmere and Free People. 

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