The Founder of Illegal Luxury – High End Designer Fashion & More: Oliver Kaps

It all started in the 70's, when the Kaps family started a well known Jeans company. I was born in 1981 and grew up listening to conversations of fashion, sales, fabric, customers, design. I remember moments of running around between clothing samples, rolls of fabric, designs and so on.
Of course at the time I was too young to know or understand what any of it really meant, and only remember watching my uncle's and father grow and develop their passion and how the items they created made people happy. I would only later realize that these conversations became nestled in my brain, and that the same passion runs through my blood.
In the year I turned five, the company grew to such an extent that my father decided to step out and instead started another small jeans store in my hometown close to Cologne. This allowed him to do what he really loved; design, attention to the finest of details, handmade finishings, and most of all; ensuring that every customer was happy and felt valued. In the years to follow I spent increasingly more time in the shop and did minor tasks for my dad in exchange for a small allowance. His passion and hard work, in combination with the lessons he taught me about work, life, and earning an honest living, sparked a hunger in me to be successful and to follow in his footsteps, and I would set out to do anything in my power to make this happen. 

It's about work, not Luxury Lifestyle

At the age of 11 I started to do small jobs wherever I could to earn money. I did garden work for neighbors, cleaned up diggers at the local building company, assisted carpenters, tilers, painters. There was no job too big or too small.
From the age of 15 I also started collecting older cars, which I would repair and restore as a hobby. I graduated from school at the age of 16, and took an interest in cooking and started working as a chef at a restaurant in Cologne. After almost 1 year working as a chef, I realized that I prefer some of the more technical jobs I did in my teenage years; painting in specific. So I quit my job and enrolled in a course to help me improve my painting skills. I graduated from the course in a short period of time, but wanted to learn more skills so I traveled to Italy where I learnt how to lay gold, and create illusions and different dimensions with paint. After returning from traveling in 1999, I moved to Hamburg and started my first company; Style Deluxe. Business was booming and I was painting houses, schools, and shops ranging from small patisseries, to bigger shops in Hamburg's Reeperbahn (Red-light district).

Hot Rods & Low Riders: Wagenbauanstalt Hamburg 

While doing this, I was still busy acquiring all sorts of cars to restore and resell, and people started to take note of my creations which inspired an idea for another venture; importing Hot Rods & Low Riders.
Back in 2004, Los Angeles was the place to be if you wanted a Low Rider or Hot Rod, so I decided to buy a ticket to LA to see what I can buy and import and sell in Hamburg.
Los Angeles Top Chopped Hot Rod Leadsled Lowrider 
Upon arriving in LA, I was disappointed to see the quality of the cars which were in the range I could afford, and that I would not be able to resell these cars in Germany without making a loss.
I was disappointed and almost ready to give up when I met Dennis Roth, better known as Dennis "Lil' Daddy" Roth; the son of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth - creator of Rat Fink. Dennis introduced me to the real world of American Kustom Kuture. We were kindred spirits and he inspired me with his crazy mind and passion for cars.
Dennis "lil daddy" Roth and  Oliver Kaps screaming in the Hot California sun 2007 picture by Ronan Harris
One of the most valuable lessons Dennis taught me is that the passion I have is not defined by which cars I can buy, but rather about which cars I can build. I then went on to buy a handful of junkyard cars and shipped them to Germany and started my second company; Wagenbauanstalt Hamburg.
Cadillac Lowrider Kustom Car by Wagenbauanstalt Hamburg Oliver Kaps
Hot Rod Bell Rock Hotel Europa Park Rust Vip Shuttle Wagenbauanstalt Hamburg

The Art of Premium Smoking Accessoires

After almost 20 years of following this passion for designing and building cars, I met the head of S.T. Dupont Germany. She was extremely fascinated and almost besotted with my car designs which led to us collaborating on a project.
It was this very first Lacquer Design that would open up my path to the head of S.T. Dupont Paris in 2017. By 2018 my first Haute Creation under the S.T. Dupont brand; the DNA Lighter was placed in the market (RSP € 39,000.00), followed by the "Art of Deco" collection in 2019 (RSP € 24,000.00). 
Designing smoking accessories at S.T. Dupont and seeing the consumer's reaction to these products posed the question; Why limit luxury smoking accessories to cigars?  I enjoy smoking cannabis, so with this question in mind while on a business trip in Amsterdam mid 2020, a casual search for quality cannabis accessories delivered more than anticipated.

Illegal Luxury: "The Joint Is the New Cigar"

Cannabis consumption is enjoyed by people of all ages and classes – and seeing as the cannabis accessory market is clearly focussed on the majority of users, being teenagers or young adults – Illegal Luxury originated in a response to the smokers like me out there who believe that the smoking experience starts with the accessories used.
I discussed this with a good friend with a lot of experience in the world of cigars with a strong sales and operational focus, and these conversations resulted in the origin of a third company in 2021; Illegal Luxury Worldwide as we believe "the joint is the new cigar".
We are a powerhouse in that we have the necessary sales, marketing, and industry experience to have an understanding of how to successfully run a business from all commercial aspects, but also from a design, creative and market-understanding perspective.

Luxury Lifestyle: High End Designer Fashion & Premium Products

My experience ranging from Haute Creations Designer for S.T. Dupont, designing and building Trophys for Bentley, to designing cars for brands like Caviar House & Prunier, Europa Park Rust or British American Tabaco  gave me the understanding of luxury lifestyle needed to place the focus on the evolution of cannabis accessories, and fashion to match the luxury accessories. With the ILLEGAL LUXURY premium products you don’t have to hide, or dispose of your accessories anymore. With the sleek and modern design it does not only look luxurious, but will also keep your herbs fresh & tasty throughout the transport and fermentation process while being 100% smell proof as well as 100% waterproof.
We pride ourselves in high quality products that enhance your consumption experience, and fashion that turns heads. Luxury that fits into your everyday life, but with a look and feel to make you stand out in any crowd. High-end products so elegant and luxurious that it should be illegal.
We create the Luxury - you choose your sin! #YCYS