Photo: Eytys Fall/Winter 2013 campaign
We’ve all seen that Jim Jarmusch “Nothing is original” quote, right? Of course we did, it was all over tumblr back when people were still into tumblr. That quote ends with another quote (We see you getting meta, Jarmusch) from ’60s-obsessed black and white picture blog favorite and filmmaker, Jean-Luc Godard. The ending quote goes, “It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.”
Nowhere is that more apt than the world of men’s footwear. While the world of sneakers is far younger than the world of shoes, there’s still a number of accepted classics that pretty much everyone riffs from. So, while we appreciate the technicians at Nike making wearable moon boots for sneaker heads, we enjoy a brand who can create something a tad more on the classic side. And that’s where Eytys steps in. Founded by Jonathan Hirschfeld, Charlie Hedin (who contributed in the founding of the company and has since left the brand) and Max Schiller, Eytys is the relative new kid on the sneaker block. We spoke to the trio to find out a little more about them.
When did you first decide to start Eytys?
After an insane and inspiring holiday in Tokyo back in spring 2012.
Why did you call the shoe “the mother”?
We regard the shoe as the “Mother Ship” of Eytys, moving us forward on this voyage. And, as the name also suggests — and it’d be a lie if we didn’t admit it — a tribute to our mothers.
What do you mean when you say a confident silhouette?
The Eytys silhouette is bold, assertive and gender-less. We simply think men and women can and should act and look confident in the same way. The unisex aspect is very important to us.
How has being part of Generation Y helped with Eytys?
We’re the generation growing up with MTV introducing us to music, moving image, photography, fashion and art… And later on, the Internet, which is, as we all know, a gateway to a flood of inspiration. These things got us hooked on pop culture and if it hadn’t been so easily accessed Eytys wouldn’t be what it is. [The] multidisciplinary creativity of the Gen-Y’s is the key.
Can you talk more about what happened with the debut collection? We’d read about a cargo disaster.
Our entire collection was onboard the Japanese cargo ship ‘MOL Comfort’ that broke in half and sank in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The ship was brand new and no one seems to know why it broke. Luckily the crew was rescued! We had to reproduce everything from scratch and this delayed the launch by three months. But as the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill you…
Would you say the platform sole could be Eytys trademark or is it too early for trademarks?
We don’t like to refer to it as a platform because we don’t think it’s that high. We’ve referenced mid-century deck shoes and casual shoes from the ’60s. Back then, a couple of extra millimeters on the sole for quality and comfort was standard. But since it’s a very important feature, yes, you could say it’s kind of a trademark for us.
Why did you use cork for the insoles?
We, like many people, wear Birkenstock when no one sees us. The comfort of Birkenstock has been a key reference when developing the shoes and cork is a great, versatile material. It breathes and shapes easily.
You’ve got a great stockist list. How important is finding the right stores for your product and how do you go about it?
We’re very honest in our approach. We only want Eytys to be available in stores we like and where we would shop ourselves, which can be a rough basement skate shop as well as a polished luxury high-end store.
How did the stand at Dover Street Market come about?
We were invited to curate a space at Dover Street Market in London and saw it as a great opportunity to work with young Swedish marbling artist Sara Wetterqvist whom we accidentally met in a paint supply shop when buying paint to create our Fall 2013 packing. Marbling was going to be our main theme then, so it was a perfect match. A version of the installation is now also on display at Dover Street Market Ginza in Tokyo.
What’s next for Eytys?
To keep on doing focused products and exciting projects with creative talents we admire. It could be anything…
Jason Dike is a london based writer who’s contributed to the likes of Esquire UK and Men’s Health amongst other publications. He has a highly entertaining (his own words), but sporadically updated (our words) website at jasondike.co.uk and you can follow him on twitter at @jasondike.