Q+A with Chris Wichert + Johannes Quodt, founders of KOIO.
To celebrate the launch of our leather eau de parfum, we sat down with some of the most notable leather aficionados in New York City to discuss what it is about this material that makes it so unique, both in terms of design and our personal experience with it. Meet Chris Wichert and Johannes Quodt, the duo behind luxury sneaker brand KOIO, which brings together streamlined designs with Italian craftsmanship to create shoes that feel both high-end and accessible .
Tell us about a bit about yourselves and what inspired you to start KOIO.
We both grew up in Germany and loved fashion sneakers from our high school days. We didn't know each other at the time, but shared the same passion of following Italian and French fashion brands, picking our favorite sneakers from their collections, and saving money until we could buy them on sale. When we met in the US while getting our MBAs, we realized that great sneakers are so expensive in the US and also hard to find. So we wanted to make them more accessible by creating our own brand and selling them online.
We all love leather (obviously). What is it about leather that makes it so important to your brand?
There is no other material that combines a soft feel, exceptional durability, and a beautiful look like leather does. It's the number one ingredient for our high quality shoes.
How did you go about sourcing the leather you use for your shoes?
We work with a small number of select high-end tanneries in Italy and develop leathers that match our needs: lightweight, soft touch, and exceptional durability.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
We feel inspired by our daily lives where we move seamlessly between the worlds that we're a part of. We look to create sneakers that have beautiful proportions, use high-end materials, and at the same time allow us to spend all our day zipping around.
What's your favorite product from MALIN+GOETZ?
The peppermint shampoo. It's so fresh!
You guys are also based in New York. In what ways has the city inspired your brand and how you run the company?
We're inspired by the people we meet in New York. We've partnered with pioneering individuals in different fields to tell their stories. Collaborations with JonBoy, the tattoo artist, Dominique Ansel, the pastry chef, and Quincy Davis, the surfer, were all part of this series.
What's coming up for KOIO in 2020?
We are currently developing a number of new styles and collaborations. While our current portfolio is clean and minimalist, we appreciate more edgy designs and are looking forward to pushing the boundaries of sneaker design in 2020.
By Hallie Liang.
Want more leather? Read our interview with The Arrivals founder Jeff Johnson here.