All questions asked with Max Svärdh and Albin Johansson | Axel Arigato

The Swedish powerhouse Axel Arigato has become a household name since its launch in 2014. Renowned for their minimal trainers, streetwear aesthetic and community-driven approach, they have reshaped the menswear landscape.

Founders Max Svärdh and Albin Johansson don’t follow the traditional seasonal collections. The ‘Drop of the Week’ model means they are constantly ahead of the curve. Catching up with the duo, here’s everything you need to know about their cult brand Axel Arigato

about axel arigato

Thank you for talking to us today! Please tell us the story behind Axel Arigato?

Axel Arigato is a people-powered lifestyle brand and we launched it in 2014 in our hometown, Gothenburg with one main objective: to embrace the now and always look for the tomorrow. We were both working with e-commerce and wanted to create something new that was different from what already existed in the market at that point. Basically, we didn’t believe that the traditional distribution model was the future nor did we think high-quality products needed to cost as much as they did at that point.

In order to differentiate ourselves from other brands we decided to begin with only selling through our website and work with word-of-mouth and marketing through social media to increase brand awareness. We also started immediately with our concept ”Drop of the Week” which allows us to forego traditional seasons and launch at least one new product every week.

How would you describe the Axel Arigato aesthetic in 3 words?

Clean, Contemporary and timeless.

Please tell us more about the core Axel Arigato DNA?

Our core DNA is about building a positive platform through the power of community, inclusivity and memorable experiences.

about axel arigato

Can you tell us a little bit about the design process?

Max: We have a customer-first approach. We place our customers at the focal point of product creation and we’re constantly using customer feedback for the development stages of new styles. Unlike other brands, we do not work with traditional collections, concepts or seasonal stories. Everything we do needs to make sense and it needs to be worn by someone real.

How are your roles split and what is your favourite thing about your role?

Albin: Being the CEO, I handle everything on the business side.

Max: Whereas being the creative director, my focus is design. I certainly have a great understanding and appreciation for the business side too, however, my favourite thing about my role is being creative.

What inspires the Axel Arigato collections, anything to note for AW22?

Max: The prevailing theme is interaction, especially coming into a post-confinement world, and exploring how we handle in-person exchanges. With every collection, we are continuously building out the customer’s wardrobe with timeless styles that are made to endure their day-to-day. With regards to the footwear, I wanted to ignore any concept or design limitations, instead playing with volume and dimensions, across both new and existing styles.

Axel Arigato is known for its sustainable focus; can you share with us any initiatives?

Albin: For us, sustainability is something that needs to be integrated into everything we do. We have spent the last 12 months taking the necessary steps to better understand our product lifecycle and production, and in doing so, we have gained great insight into our entire value chain through our climate measurement efforts and our partnership with BCOME and STICA. Not only has this given us a precise understanding of our entire supply chain, but we have also empowered our customers to make better buying decisions by allowing this information to be made public and accessible.

Furthermore, our commitment to sourcing, manufacturing, and producing our products within Europe has played a crucial role in allowing us to scale, smart. The partnership we have with our suppliers is of the utmost importance to us. Together, we share the mutual responsibility to adapt to the UN’s goals for sustainable development and use this as our collective roadmap going forward. Strengthening these bonds with our suppliers has resulted in some very positive changes, such as the transition to renewable energy across many of our production facilities.

We believe the best way to transform this industry for the better is by letting consumers make educated decisions in their purchasing. We welcome this coming year with great confidence, seeing opportunities and setting a solid commitment to reduce our climate impact.

about axel arigato

Can you tell us more about Axel Arigato’s ‘Drop of the Week’?

Max: Each season we design the full collection, across ready-to-wear and footwear. Then we strategically flight out each drop across the 52 weeks of the year according to seasonality, special events, collaborations, etc. Each week we have the “drop” which is the heartbeat of our brand and due to the collections being designed and produced in season this allows us the ability to move quickly and bring newness across all of our customer touchpoints, such as the website, social media, in-store, gifting, etc. which then builds a closer relationship with our community and prevents overstock.

Please share with us one of your proudest moments since launching Axel Arigato.

 Albin: I do believe that the best moments are always in front of us but so far I do think that the proudest moment was when I saw our shoes abroad for the first time, it was in London.

 Max: In 2019 we hosted a one-day festival in Copenhagen featuring artists such as IAMDDB, GIGGS and Aminé. The festival was free of charge for all guests and embraced all cultural disciplines from music, art, fashion and technology. We feel very fortunate that we are in a place where we can offer our customers these unique experiences.

What’s next for Axel Arigato?

Max: We will continue to take risks and constantly find new ways of creating innovative products and reaching our customers. Our vision is to become a global brand known for our values and products.

Albin: We want to continue with what we’re already offering, but on a larger scale and through a bigger platform. We focus a lot on digital for both sales and awareness, but we still really believe in physical retail and want to roll out more stores. Connecting with our customers through physical experiences and activations is a big part of our DNA.


A Buyer's Guide to Axel Arigato Sneakers

Buyer's Guide

A Buyer's Guide to Axel Arigato Sneakers

Whether you like a chunky sole or clean minimal shapes, Axel Arigato sneakers deliver on all fronts. For everything you need to know about the Scandinavian designer, here's our guide to all things Axel.

2022-04-12 11:42:38By Sarah Atkinson

Written by Holly Thompson

Featured Q&A & Imagery provided by Axel Arigato | Max Svärdh and Albin Johansson

Holly Thompson

Holly Thompson

Writer and expert