Ludwig Van x Gourmet – From East Germany to your Feet

     After the end of WWII in 1945 Germany was considered the biggest loser of the war. The Allies, specifically the British and French, wanted to completely dismantle Germany and let other adjacent countries take pieces of Germany for themselves. This however was ultimately stopped, in part because of the Soviet Union’s desire to expand the scope of Communism to the world. Under the wing of the Soviet Union the Deutsche Demokratische Republik or Democratic Republic of Germany, East Germany, was established on October 7, 1949. 

     Ludwig Van, having an eye for vintage deadstock (unused) materials, always makes something new out of something thought to be old. Not too long ago they stumbled on to some vintage deadstock DRG camouflage. Since 2011 it seems as though Ludwig Van has been on a mission to locate fine deadstock army materials. These same materials have a history that is all their own, they are often overlooked for being obsolete or uninteresting. Many enthusiasts, including Ludwig Van, of vintage army apparel, usually see how patterns of old camos have relevance today. Partnered with Gourmet, Ludwig Van unveils the first release for their Utility Project.

     Gourmet is an American footwear brand established in 2005. Like Ludwig Van, Gourmet tends to go in a different direction with their shoes compared to most other brands. They like to experiment and explore with their footwear. Coupled with Ludwig Van the collaboration makes perfect sense. For the Utility Project release there will be four different models: the Kilgore Cinque  in duck canvas, the Kilgore Cinque in a vinatge army twill, the DDR Quattro Skate midtop, and the DDR Cinque lo. Probably the biggest stand outs in this release are the duck canvas Kilgore and the DDR midtop shoes.

     The highlights on the DDR Quattro Skate mid is its construction of vintage DDR camo, a leather heel tab, black leather logo on the tongue of the shoe, and a Ludwig Van side tab on the heel. While not constructed of DDR the Kilgore Cinque is instead built together using duck canvas. The highlights on the Kilgore include a Ludwig Van tab on the upper of the shoe, a leather patch on the heel of the shoe, and its construction of duck canvas in a rich utilitarian orange. The origins of this particular pattern of DDR camo goes back to 1965, it was used by the East German army until 1990. Much of the DDR camo has since ended up in places all over the world, being adopted by other regimes and guerrilla fighters. As a result any DDR camo is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts looking to hold onto a unique German made design. Ludwig Van and Gourmet bring new life to something old, they modernized the East German soldier.


Leather heel tab. Highly sought after “teardrop” pattern.


Ludwig Van side tabs.

Leather Gourmet embossed patch on tongue.

Gourmet embossed patch on heel.


Ludwig Van side tabs.


Constructed of vintage Walls Outdoor Duck Canvas. A rich orange-brown color is typically used for duck canvas material.

Snap back made entirely of DDR camo.


Two soldiers wearing DDR camo, during the Cold War.


Various examples of East German uniforms.

*Shoes will be released by both Ludwig Van and Gourmet on their respectives webstores on 2/16/13 at noon PST.

*Ludwig Van webstore:

*Gourmet webstore:

**UPDATE 7~16~13**

Due to the increased flow of traffic on this article I am including additional information on these products. For enthusiasts of authentic Vintage DDR and army fabrics, it should be noted that all of these fabrics are real. Two of the Cinques are made of deadstock US army fabrics. While these fabrics were meant to be made for US soldiers, some just sat around for years because of an abundant surplus. Likewise the shoes and hat made of real DDR fabrics. Today that are many fakes and reproductions of DDR camouflage, but Ludwig Van shunned the idea of doing such a thing. Compared to the fakes and reproductions used by various brands, this is something that is worth having for any lover of old school army products, just updated for modern wear.


DDR Cinque.

The Cinque, or Kilgore, made of  a Vintage US Army twill fabric from the 1970s.

*Note that in order to make the project truly unique, Ludwig Van and Gourmet released these shoes with their brand logos swapped from their respective locations on the footwear, so there might be some variation.

*Primitive also has the Utility Project shoes in stock:


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