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Max Schiller (Eytys Creative Director) on collaborating with Tom of Finland Foundation

We live in the age of the sneaker. From sneakerheads, to competitive resale culture, to sneaker painting and artwork, there has never been a bigger time for this once commonplace item. Countless designers are trying to capitalize on this cultural phenomenon, but few are managing to say anything new. Then there’s Eytys. Founded by two childhood friends with a mission to create reliable and exceptional wardrobe staples, Eytys (pronounced “Eighties”) is a footwear and apparel brand based in Stockholm, Sweden. The cult sensation first made waves with The Mother design, a plimsoll sneaker with a significantly  thick rubber sole  and minimal upper, inspired by US Navy deck shoes from WWII. The Mother was  an updated classic focused on distorted proportions, comfort and functionality. Their quiet, understated cool designs quickly won them favor with sneakerheads looking for style and comfort at affordable prices. It also resonated with the broader generation born in the eighties, united by their hyper digital connectivity and freedom from the restraints of identity classifications. Today, Eytys sneakers and shoes are distributed worldwide at over 200 retailers, including their own store in Stockholm. They have undergone a range of diverse collaborations from publications to experiences to limited edition shoes. Most recently, the footwear brand partnered with Tom of Finland Foundation to create Magnum Tom of Finland, a rock hard, army-boot inspired, canvas high-top with four prints from Tom of Finland’s famous drawings. To celebrate this latest partnership, we caught up with Max Schiller, creative director of Eytys, to learn more about the army boots slated for release.

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How did your latest collaboration with Tom of Finland Foundation come about? 

I’ve always been fascinated by Tom of Finland and his courage to use his technical ability worthy of Michelangelo to create such groundbreaking and radical art. I reached out to the Foundation to look into the possibility of working together and it turned out it was run by Joakim who I knew when I was a little kid. We connected again and the idea was born.

Can you give us some insight into the process of developing the design of the boots? Are there any drawings that served as inspiration? 

With inspiration from the Tom of Finland legacy we decided to create a brand new style that is even chunkier, bolder and more masculine than what we’ve done before. We believe that the Magnum sneaker is the perfect marriage between our universes.

 

 

How did you determine which drawings would be featured on the boots? Why did you chose the 4 that made the cut? 

Many pieces in our collection have nautical influences and it’s always been part of our DNA. It felt natural to select Tom’s iconic sailors for this project.

The sole of the boots are absolutely amazing! So original. Can you speak to that feature of the shoe?

I am glad that you noticed that! We started Eytys with the idea of making a new sole for our shoes, an elevated platform for a classic shoe. Our shoe designs are often conceived from the sole up. I wanted to make something that plays with the utility of a boot – a Tom favorite – and the ease of a high top. The high top here is a new style for Eytys!

 

 

Why did you decide to make the shoes in canvas as opposed to Tom's favorite material, leather?

I was excited to play with this classic Tom of Finland code. Of course, the boot – and even more so, the leather boot. Even if the subject is next to naked, he always has his boots! So the canvas shoe was a good intersection of our two worlds, our two aesthetics.

How did you first come across Tom and what relationship do you have to his work?

I’ve been aware of the work since before I can remember – Scandinavian pride! I think these figurative, drawn portraits are a part of our shared idea of gay culture. I am a big fan.

 

 

Eytys positions itself as a brand for Generation Y. What do you think Tom of Finland means to this generation and how does this connect to the Eytys ethos? 

Tom of Finland has a legacy that spans generations; fans are linked by a love of the work and the celebration of gay culture more than by demographic definitions such as age or location. The Eytys ethos is created by generation Y (we happen to fall into that age group), but the reach expands beyond that.

What other collaborations do you have in the works?

We can’t speak about them just yet!

 

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