We’re celebrating our birthday at Dr. Martens this year by highlighting creative individuals across the world who are originals in their own fields; whether that be art, music, or fashion. Dr. Martens Originals styles have become iconic over time, worn by authentic characters who embody rebellious self-expression. In these interviews, we recognise the creative individuals who inspire us, and find out who they are and what they stand for.
Today we speak to Fred, co-founder of a custom garage Blitz Motorcycles, based in Paris.
My name is Fred Jourden and I’m the co-founder of the Paris-based custom garage “Blitz Motorcycles”.
How did you get into the customisation of motorbikes?
Back in 2004, I was Head of International Marketing for an online company. I decided to go back to school to learn about mechanics. The reason was to be able to service my own ride: a BMW R50/2 from 1961 (which I still own today). I immediately felt at home with a spanner in my hands and grease under my nails and found so much value in breathing life back into a dead/old machine.
The year after I passed my degree in mechanics (2005), I met Hugo (my current partner): he was then a landscape designer and we both shared the same love for mechanics. He had a personal space in Paris where he would go all the time to work on vintage Vespa scooters (2 stroke engine). I offered to share my knowledge of 4 stroke engines in exchange for sharing his space. He agreed and we started customising vintages BMW’s for ourselves which we then did for our friends, for the friends of our friends and so on…
We worked day and night on our burning passion – up to the point where going to the office every day became less exiting than going to the workshop. I talked it over with Hugo who felt exactly the same as I did at the time. Planets were aligned: it was time to jump into the unknown. It was in 2010 and Blitz Motorcycles was born.
You’ve recently participated in the Première Classe trade show. How did you make it happen? What is the connection between fashion and your work at Blitz?
Première Classe Tradeshow came to us and offered us a space to exhibit our ‘entire world’: motorcycles, films, but also all the products we currently sell online (developed with our partners).
Since we’ve started, we’ve had the honour of working with great brands, all of them being specialised in dedicated fields: Edwin for Denim, Bleu de Chauffe for leather bags, Agnelle for leather gloves. In every case, they saw an opportunity for us to create specific garments that we would also need for our ride. The people behind those brands share the same philosophy as us, so the collaborations feel authentic and have turned out to be the best sellers across the brands. They are the perfect mix of craftsmanship and authenticity in design. These products have been imagined by Hugo and myself to meet our personal needs, and built by the brands we work with.
What does it mean for you to create unique motorcycles for people?
It means everything: it’s the very essence of our work. We’re not just here to put parts together. We’re here to bring the DNA of the owner into the project. For example, we had a client from the UK who was living in Paris and wanted a bike from us to travel through Europe with. Using a vintage British motorcycle wasn’t possible (British bikes are hard to service, especially when on a road trip, the spare parts are hard to find). We decided to go with a BMW but wanted put a bit of a UK twist on it. Our client was born in Birmingham and what he did not know about this city (and which we were aware of) was that back in the beginning of the 20th century, Birmingham was home to a rifle factory – BSA, which stood for Birmingham Small Arms. This factory also created great machines under the name of BSA, from the 30’s to the late 60’s before being eclipsed by Japanese industry. We decided to install a BSA tank on his vintage BMW (not easy to do). His bike, the BSW (BMW + BSA = BSW) was born. And this BSW was very much HIS bike.
Road trip of your dreams. Where would you go and with who?
The best partner in crime for an adventure would definitely be Hugo. We would go and explore the Baïkal lake (both in Summer or Winter).
Tell us about your relationship with Dr Martens; what does the brand mean to you?
The first time I heard about Dr. Martens, I was 17 years old and in high school. The ‘cool kids’ back then wore DM’s. They represented the Holy Grail. Today we feel really close to the core of Dr. Martens: a simple shoe, designed to last, and that has been around for a long time. In a word, an iconic shoe.
We respect Dr. Martens as they are not afraid to face new challenges while at the same time fully respect their own past.
And finally, what do you stand for?
Do what you love, love what you do. We experience this every day and trust us, it is very rewarding.