"V-MODA, STARTED THE IDEA OF FASHION HEADPHONES IN 2004..."
- Stereophile + Innerfidelity Editor, Tyll
Born as a third generation Italian-American to the same city as House music, Chicago, Val’s appreciation for technology, music and design began at an early age. Val started programming and learning a variety of instruments, including drums and guitar, at only 7 years old. From his unmistakable stylized sense and musical background to his extensive record collections, he aspired to produce a lifestyle that would characterize an innovation and design culture rooted in the passion of music and technology.
V-MODA is the direct result of a vision Val had after a summer in Ibiza where he had experienced the world’s greatest DJs, clubs and the unparalleled vibe of the White Isle. Val strategized how to capture this unique culture and share it with the world by incorporating a love for the sound experience into a high-end lifestyle revolving around music, fashion and audio art. Upon his return to Los Angeles Val found himself on Rodeo Drive watching a woman step out of her Rolls Royce dressed to the 9s in haute couture. As he was sketching the first V-MODA clothing line at a cafe, he analyzed her eclectic style and noticed the achilles heel of her in-vogue appearance was cheap plastic white headphones. He had an epiphany – a designer headphone made out of metals with audiophile sound would be the perfect “fashion cymbal” of a true lifestyle brand centered around music.
Working out of his rented room in Hollywood, plunging into unfathomable debt and years of burning the candles at both ends, Val Kolton and designer Joseph Bucknall created V-MODA products and launched the brand at the Magic/PROJECT fashion show with a line of dance-music inspired t-shirts, hats, compilation CDs, and the world’s first line of high-end color metal fashion headphones dubbed “hearwear”. They were the first headphones to feature colored cables in the world. After the show yielded only a few thousand dollars of revenue, Val hit Melrose Avenue trying to sell the brand door to door at the fashion boutiques. He had zero sales and argued that headphones ARE fashion, yet every store owner said "headphones are electronics, who cares if they are metal and colors. Sell them to electronics stores". He passionately worked with verve to prove them wrong. Finally after many months and almost giving up to become a programmer again, Virgin and Apple recognized his vision and added the product line to their mix. Later that year, he was recognized as one of L.A.’s Top 20 Entrepreneurs in their 20s and today has sold over 4 million high-end headphones globally.
Today, V-MODA is the embodiment of Val’s remixed lifestyle and continues to transcend barriers through its omnipresent disrespect to conformity and global expansion.
Education and Background
Val is a graduate of the University of Texas McCombs school of business where he studied Management Information Systems and Finance. After graduation, he became a strategy and technology engineering consultant for Fortune 500 companies and leading brands. After Ibiza, he became an avid inventor by writing his own patents, producing remixes and further developing the V-MODA brand...