Tarvas x Engineered Garments - the biggest one yet
Finnish footwear brand TARVAS teamed up with Daiki Suzuki’s New York based clothing brand Engineered Garments for a three-piece shoe capsule collection. Initial release for the shoe was on 29th of July 2019 at Nepenthes New York and later on became available at Norse Store, Peggs & son and Engineered Garments’ Tokyo store.
The shoes were designed to match the upcoming Enigneered Garments collection, consisting black, navy and blue iterations of the low top Exlporer silhouette. The uppers are composed of Italian suede while the mudguard provides added weather protection. The co-branded insoles and all black natural rubber soles complete the look. The shoes are assembled and finished in Finland.
Jukka Lehtinen, co-founder of Tarvas, shared some of the insights regarding the collaboration.
It’s been a while since our last conversation, a lot has happened afterwards. Can you fill us in how your and Engineered Garments’ paths clashed?
I was having a discussion with my Japanese friend Kohsuke who runs a nice boutique in Helsinki called COMMON. Kohsuke mentioned that he will start carrying Engineered Garments at COMMON and we thought it could be a good idea to send Mr. Daiki Suzuki and e-mail about Tarvas. I sent Mr. Suzuki a brief e-mail right away mentioning that I will be in New York at MAN/WOMAN tradeshow the next week and to my surprise he replied quick and mentioned that he likes what we are doing and appointed his New York store manager to visit our booth at the show.
First I thought they might be interested to carry some styles from our inline collection, but when they found out about our flexible production arrangements in Finland we started discussing about a collaboration.
Time-wise, how long did it take from the first email between you and EG to initial release of the shoe?
It’s funny you brought this up because I just checked the correspondence and it was exactly 365 days ago, 12th of July in 2018 when I sent Daiki the first e-mail and today Engineered Garments in Tokyo officially releases the shoes.
What was the creation process like? Which party got to be the creative genius in this project?
We gave Engineered Garments the specs and framework regarding which parts of the shoe they can twist and let them come up with ideas.
Both brands, Tarvas and Engineered Garments are known for their practical garments. Were there any additional factors influencing this collaboration to happen?
I think people at Engineered Garments are feeling Finland so I quess our timing to approach them was on our side.
What is the major component that makes this capsule collection differ from other Explorer models?
For this capsule we created an all black sole unit which is something that we had not been playing with before. Also they wanted to use all black leather lining and black leather insole with co-branding.
Can you tell us what is the most memorable part of the whole creation process regarding this project?
I would say the moment at the factory, in a small village here in Finland, when we were producing the shoes. Thinking that something special like an Engineered Garments collaboration is being made right there in the middle of the farms and cabins. And soon shipped to retailers like Norse and Nepenthes was kind of surreal.
Manufacturing-wise, did anything change in this process, or have you kept the production on the same level as before?
We kept the same standard with this project as with all our production.
Tarvas basically set up a benchmark for other Finnish designers and clothing brands with this collaboration. Would you like to share your two cents of how to climb the ladder up to the big league?
Thanks for the compliment. I am not sure if we are yet entitled to give any advice, but for us I think it helped that we have a strong foundation created for the brand and we try to keep the level high with all the decisions: whether it is about where we produce our shoes, which kind of raw materials we play with, what kind of photography we take or which retail partners we want to work with. The outcome (hopefully) is pretty coherent brand that has strong identity.
This release was set outside the Finnish borders. Is there a way for us Finns to get our hands on the shoe?
In case you missed it, check out our interview with Tarvas prior to this collaboration.