From the ground up
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Eytys is a new sneaker brand out of Stockholm. In true Scandinavian style, the design is low key and minimal, with an emphasis on quality and no excessive design flourishes. One unisex shoe called “Mother,” three materials – canvas, suede and leather – and five color options. On closer inspection, there is a lot more on offer. The midsole is raised higher off the ground, a cork insole encourages natural breathability, brass eyelets and waxed shoestrings ensure longevity, and the pull loop situated by the heel is in a contrast color and material. At accessible price points contained between €100 to €160 euros, Eytys is already showing strong signs of establishing a successful trajectory before the first trading season has ended.

“For this debut collection, we started with 25 retailers,” explains Jonathan Hirschfeld, one half of the founding directors. “For Spring ’14, we have 60 on board.” The aesthetic works well in various retail environments. “In Stockholm, we’re stocked in a high-end boutique and just nearby is a skater store that also has the range. “There’s no conflict,” he says with understated satisfaction. You’ll find them stocked in several other premium-level international retailers, too. LN-CC, Très-Bien, Opening Ceremony and I.T. in the Far East are just some.

Business partner, Max Schiller has eight years of experience behind him having worked with Acne from their earliest days. When pushed to elaborate, he reveals, “I started on the shop floor, then opened up the Paris office handling sales and press. At one point, I was designing the menswear,” he modestly recalls. But they are keen not to rely on any existing industry relations previously forged with Acne.

For both, the decision to start on their own was clear. “We grew up with Vans, and couldn’t afford €300 sneakers. There was a gap in the market.” Factor in their online mission statement – that they are motivated by street culture, physical product and online inspiration, as evidenced by their Tumblr – and there is a hint this is just the beginnings of a label to watch out for.

“Our design philosophy goes like this,” explains Schiller. “Portion – Function – No Logo. The product should be constant, so the creative side is with packaging the sneakers in different ways.”

Eytys has taken this idea beyond the stockroom and onto the shop floor. To introduce the sneakers to their customers, London’s Dover Street Market recently invited them to create an installation space, in which they collaborated with Swedish interior designer, Sara Wetterqvist, to display a series of marbled prints onto suspended plexiglass, mirrors and wooden panels. On December 13, they will recreate this in DSM Ginza for the holiday season.

Spring next year sees Eytys introducing Memphis-inspired prints into the collection and working with British artist, Rhys Coren. Coren has produced a series of animations based on the English football kit from earlier decades. Eytys has adapted these into patterns and Coren reciprocated by animating one of their prints. We will see the results in the physical products, the packaging and any future installations next season. As for the name…it’s left deliberately open-ended, although Hirschfeld and Schiller’s Gen-Y adolescence in the ‘80s decade lends an easy clue.

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