This month, we’re spotlighting Axel Arigato, the label whose footwear we chose to style our very first shoot with.
Collaboration—connection—is our golden thread. And so we’ll be celebrating the good things other organisations are doing as much as our own successes. Here’s everything you need to know about this boundary-pushing brand, in a nutshell.
It's been a sprint to the top for Swedish footwear-turned-ready-to-wear brand Axel Arigato. A compelling blend of creativity, innovation and sustainability have made its trainers, and now pared-back separates, highly covetable for the conscious fashion connoisseur. We discover how the label’s raw authenticity, optimism and ambition have moulded it into a cultural experience.
Emerging in 2014, the brainchild of Creative Director Max Svärdh and CEO Albin Johansson, Axel Arigato is the minimalist brand with a big attitude. It began with a simple Instagram shop—ahead of the curve at the time—which offered the label a platform from which to showcase its directional products as objets d’art. Now, the pioneering duo is merging ethical design codes with a positive cultural movement, while cultivating a fresh approach to social media.
A brief scroll of the @axelarigato feed reveals products, yes, but also its founders’ tongue-in-cheek attitudes and a peppering of posts meant to provoke thought and invite customers to steer the brand’s creative strategy. Responsible practices underpin everything the label does, and this is reinforced by its new XCHANGE platform; a peer-to-peer resell tool devised to extend the lifecycle of Axel Arigato’s products.
The word Arigato, meaning ‘thank you’ in Japanese, loosely translates as "difficult to exist", expressing something valuable and not easily found—a nod to the brand’s subversive approach. Inspired by Swedish and Japanese ideology and its founders’ love of minimalist tropes, the label strips its products back to their essence while considering each piece’s environmental impact.
It’s pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 2025 by integrating sustainability into every aspect of its operation. And, dividing its low-impact strategy into three phases, the label has committed to reducing its internal emissions by 80% and its global emissions per product by 30%.
Max Svärdh and Albin Johansson express their core values in three words; “authenticity, minimalism and culture”. The connection between the two blossomed from an urgent need to create change, develop a different culture and push limitations. But what’s really admirable is the pair’s will to bridge the divide between designers and their consumers.
Not only is Axel Arigato leading the charge in fashion and luxury retail where transparency, ethics and positive production practices are concerned, it’s engaging its community in new and exciting ways, much like we are. The notion of collaboration is evident in the brand’s event calendar, which includes magazine launches, musical performances, album signings and pop-ups, all geared towards supporting young creatives and local communities.
This authenticity of connection with its customer has allowed Axel Arigato to offer not just a product range but an experience. Its this alignment of values that made the label’s footwear offering the obvious choice to weave into our campaign imagery, and we look forward to seeing how it evolves.
Featured products include the Genesis Stripe Bee Bird trainer, crafted from textiles produced using recycled PET bottles and ocean plastics collected by the Seaqual Initiative.
Quotes taken from axelarigato.com
Alana Mann is a recently graduated journalist, writer and content creator spotlighted as a 'Top Talent from the Class of 2021' by the Graduate Fashion Week Foundation. Based in Birmingham, UK, she self-publishes her own magazine, Kerosene, which showcases young, bold and entrepreneurial women across the globe who have something to say.