eytys take us on a trip to kyoto

As the Stockholm-based brand merges sneaker culture with Japanese footwear tradition for their latest product collaboraton, we follow Anders Edström’s lens and lose ourselves in the streets of the thousand-year capital.

by Steve Salter
16 March 2016, 11:07pm

From the moment it quietly swaggered onto the scene with its assured simplicity, Eytys has let its product do the talking. It's the antithesis of what creative director and co-founder Max Schiller describes as the excesses of the "sneaker hype scene." The growing range is persuasive because Eytys has achieved cult status in an astonishingly short space of time. Why? Having been "born in the boom years of the 80s, grown up with the street culture of the 90s, and subsisted on a heavy diet of everything — and anything - which has always been just a click away," it's the perfect product manifestation of Generation Y.

Positioning its reimagined sportswear staples as something of a blank canvas, Eytys has honed a seductive signature of considered collaboration. From icons of industry to Tumblr-teens, the team continue to look far beyond the walls of their Scandinavian studies to work with the people that inspire them. Fresh from teaming up with South African artist Esther Mahlangu, Eytys present a capsule collection made together with Japanese sandal maker, Gion Naito. Merging sneaker culture with Japanese footwear tradition, JoJo, consists of three pairs of unisex sandals in rubber, cork and neoprene, all hand made in the Naito facility in central Kyoto. In celebration of the project, renowned photographer Anders Edström has photographed Mr Naito together with family and friends strolling the streets of Kyoto. As the two worlds collide beautifully, Max Schiller walks us through his brave new world.

When did you first step inside Gion Naito's world of Japanese craftsmanship?
We were introduced to Gion Naito by friends in Japan. It didn't take much for us to be amazed by Mr Naito's stories of tradition and heritage. The Naito-family's long history and pride have made them celebrities in Kyoto.

What would you say were the catalysts for the collaboration with Seiji Naito's team?
Mr Naito visited us in Stockholm soon after a brief meeting in Paris - at dinner he arrived at the traditional Swedish restaurant dressed in his celebratory kimono, even using his own chopsticks to eat. Although language barriers, a strong friendship grew between us and Mr Naito's dedication is very inspiring; we knew we had to work together in some way.

Since your inception you've established a signature for considered collaboration.
We view Eytys as a platform and a way for us to work with people who inspire us. It might be a 16-year-old in the middle of nowhere posting stuff on Tumblr as well as a well known artist or photographer, or fifth generation sandal-maker from Japan. It's the quality of the work that matters.

Finally, how conscious were you of balancing authenticity whilst adding the language of Eytys' language?
Despite the many obvious differences between Eytys and the Gion Naito, our brands complement each other in an unexpected but given way. We're sharing a common aesthetic and view of footwear as something straight-forward and detail focused. It can be applied non-depending if it's a contemporary sneaker or sandal with centuries of tradition.

JoJo, by Eytys and Gion Naito, launches at Eytys Stockholm, Eytys.com and selected stores globally in March 2016


Text Steve Salter
Photography Anders Edström

anders edström
mac schiller