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To what does Suicoke owe its success? The answers seem obvious – the provision of a laidback lifestyle rooted in Japanese design sensibilities, and an unparalleled level of comfort boosted by Vibram, complimented by style.
Its rise to global icon status has made it a leader in its field, perhaps even the most recognizable. Sure, plenty of brands’ footwear arsenal are bolstered by slip-ons, mules, sandals, and the like; but few have captured the feeling of zen perpetuated by a pair of Suicokes.
As nations across the world have embraced Suicoke’s many models, taking them as the go-to for fashion-sport sandals, the mystique that once surrounded it has been shed, allowing itself to embrace the culture of collaboration wholeheartedly.
With its status cemented, the scale of its collaborations has outgrown its early projects, bridging the gap that once existed between Suicoke and the world of high-end fashion. Now, not only are its sandals the foundational footwear of choice for iconic streetwear brands like NEIGHBORHOOD, Carhartt WIP, and BAPE, but elevated by LANVIN, Moncler, and Missoni.
As its collaborative portfolio continues to grow, out-scaling the likes of Supreme and Palace, Suicoke’s Global Brand Director Enrico Pasi walks us through the who and why of its collaborations.
How have collaborations become such an integral part of the Suicoke strategy?
“When collaborating with fashion or design brands such as HAY, or artists such as Daniel Arsham, we always strive to create an unexpected encounter that not only enables us to reach new audiences; but also to entertain, surprise and build momentum for our existing client base.
A fortunate, key side effect of this model is the enrichment and hybridization of our brand DNA with the codes of other creative design practices. Whenever we approach a brand for a collab, our goal is to combine the essence of their aesthetics and mastery of certain materials with our own.”
High-end designer collaborations have become more frequent, have you ever worried that these brands and the higher price points they attract would alienate Suicoke’s core fans?
“By honoring the heritage and identity of the luxury brands we collaborate with, we are able to create gateways for new audiences to be introduced to these iconic houses such as Missoni, LANVIN, and more.
Our goal is to establish long-lasting pathways and channels for lovers of Suicoke and lovers of our dear collaborators to meet and find common ground in how they express themselves.”
What has been your favorite collaboration so far?
Each collaboration offers a new expression of growth. Our most recent collaboration with Missoni offers a perfect contrast to another of our most recent collaborations with Marsèll. Missoni has a longstanding heritage of prints and patterns and artisanal Italian craftsmanship in the field of fabrics and iconography.
While Marsèll offers a contemporary example of minimalism and luxury blending with street style. Another highlight and favorite was the one with Lanvin, which saw a “merge” and “encounter” between two iconic styles; our staple silhouette MOTO and the skate-inspired LANVIN CURB sneaker featuring the herringbone laces across the strap of the sandals and uber-chunky proportions.
Which upcoming collaborative project are you most excited for?
We are launching a great project with Joshua Vides the LA-based artist and designer known for his hand-painted outline style and graphic work. Vides’ black and white sketches and illustrations take over Suicoke’s BITA-V split-toe construction.”
Why do you think Suicoke has seen so much success as a collaborator?
Having already established Suicoke as a key player when it comes to high-quality footwear, the base for creativity is exponential. By blending the Japanese street-wear aesthetics with sustainable materials, we are open to all forms of creativity when it comes to establishing teamwork with another brand.
When it comes to collaborations, we like to see Suicoke – albeit defined by a unique aesthetics – like a blank canvas that lends itself to multiple interpretations and interventions.
I think that this approach and take on the collaborative process – which is less marketing-driven and more focused on the creative encounter and its “openness”- is one key factor of our success in this area.
Earlier this year you embarked on the Suicoke Ibiza Cruise – how did this come about, and how did it fit into the brand’s story as an alternate form of collaboration?
Ibiza has long been hallowed ground for those seeking escape, esoteric discovery, and a deeper sense of freedom. The island is also a thriving, natural paradise. In 2022, Ibiza’s relevance reverberates more powerfully than ever, considering the state of the world.
This year, we took a group of creators to the Balearic isle, inviting them to reconnect with the natural world. It was a special collaboration between pioneering curators of subculture Slam Jam and Ibiza-based experiential design outfit ColourFeel.
At a time of rapid return and global frustration, the Suicoke Ibiza Cruise was a moment to explore the all-important idea that we’re all unfinished beings. This centers the time to work things out, redefine concepts around progress, and release rigid imaginings about the future and how we navigate the new world.
Resisting the collective pressure to simply make, re-define, or tell our own stories in our own way – is more than okay. This was the Suicoke Ibiza Cruise, 2022.