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A breath of fresh air in the world of fast-fashion

H&M’s former Creative Director’s shoe brand Ropewalk Studio’s products are handcrafted by men and women who have passed on their expertise from generation to generation. And they’ve been everywhere from weddings in a tuxedo to afterski in Morzine, skateboarding in East Village to making deals on Wall Street.

25062019
Words: Johan Magnusson

When working for one of the most creative advertising agencies, with clients such as IKEA and H&M, in Stockholm in the early 80s, Jan Nord learned from the best in retail and creative product development.

— I quickly learned to pick up the ”everything is possible” attitude and roll with it, he says.

Shortly after the millennium, he felt that he was done with advertising and was hired as Creative Director at H&M. Exciting years followed with the famous collaborations with designers like Karl Lagerfeldt, Commes des Garçons, and Lanvin.

— Over the years, I began to frame the content of my future brand. Why? I have always found the people who dress in an almost nonchalant way, to be the most stylish. No effort, nor trend anxiety. Just personal, simple, and confident. Elegance and style are more about yourself than the latest trend.

With Ropewalk Studio, he wants to create products that make this statement. Simple, elegant, stylish.

— Or modern nostalgia if you want. A lot of the inspiration is the unbeatable iconic style era of late 50s and early 60s portrayed by people such as Belmondo, Deneuve, Hepburn. The clothes they wore and the way they carried the garments and themselves. The first category from Ropewalk Studio is the classic espadrille. Worn as a dressed shoe. It is one of the most iconic products that brings an air of effortlessness to any dressed up occasion.

The more ”simple”, or honest, a product is, the more it demands in terms of quality in material and make, Nord states.

— That’s when it replaces short-lived trends. It is sustainable in all aspects. To deliver on this, every single shoe is handcrafted in the way it has been for hundreds of years. In a world of fast-fashion and where machine produced garments take over, Ropewalk Studio’s espadrilles are a breath of fresh air.

The shoes are handcrafted by men and women who have passed on their expertise from generation to generation.

— They are imbued with a personal touch and sophisticated high quality. Ropewalk is a unisex brand and our wish is to offer a style for every occasion to both men and women. So far the Pablo style, to my knowledge, has been everywhere from weddings in a tuxedo to afterski in Morzine, skateboarding in East Village to making deals on Wall Street. Personally, I like the Jan Indigo Velvet slip in for lazy Sundays at home and the Pablo Black Canvas, which is as classic as it can get, says Nord, continuing,

— I’ve been asked if this is an Espadrille brand, and the answer is – ”not quite”. We started the brand to design a product that lived up to my idea of how iconic stars would use an espadrille to finish their classic look. We quickly realized that we had found a unique way of producing a handmade, high quality shoe to a reasonable price that could give everyone a timeless shoe for their wardrobe. It is rewarding to see every new style arrive designed and produced in this way. So until now we have been totally focused on the shoe. But yes, we are now looking at other parts of the wardrobe than can be made, designed and produced, embracing the same philosophy.

ropewalkstudio.com