Erik Bjerkesjö talks about the collaboration with BrandBlack

BrandBlack is a futurist performance sports brand that was founded as late as 2014 in Los Angeles, focusing on developing basketball footwear and apparel seen through a fashion lens. For their upcoming release of the ”Totem” we had a chat with the man behind this shoe, the Swedish designer Erik Bjerkesjö.

What’s going on right now?
I am doing collaborations where we focus on high quality and good production. I entered a role a couple of months ago as the creative director for DRKN which focuses on digital culture and gaming. I’m of course preparing for the drop of the ”Totem” with BrandBlack. I have also finished design consulting for the Y-3 Qasa. Besides that I am looking for a dog. I’ll probably go for a Husky!

How did the collaboration between you and BrandBlack come together?
BrandBlack and I came in contact a few seasons ago when we had our showrooms next to each other. I did handmade shoes and they did performance shoes and those were the two angels which allowed us to create something new and interesting. We all got along very well and we had very similar ideas and that was very exiting for me – to be able to collaborate with great minds. Of course I knew what David Raysse had done before and I have always been a huge fan of his work. When I saw BrandBlack for the very first time I dropped everything I had and got caught up by the unique shoes and garments. It’s really me and I loved everything about the brand from first sight.

What were your idea when you designed the shoe?
When we started, we looked at the project from our two different angels and that allowed us to create something new. I went up to the Arctic Circle to a reindeer leather tannery and found some exclusive coloured leather in top class quality. Hermès is the only other company that is buying that reindeer leather. So we searched for a combat boot shape that we could develop into a performance ”industrial streetball” take. Haha, that was seriously what we called it. I’m pretty sure you can see that ”industrial combat streetball” shoe when you look at it. For me it is the ultimate shoe. You have a unique take on a useful performance shoe in great leather! Two looks that reflects on where you want to use the shoe – in cold or warm weather, indoors or outdoors. Me and BrandBlack work very well together so our collaboration feels very natural and our collaboration have only just started.

When should the “Totem” be worn?
I think it is very much up to the costumer – if you play basketball it is a very nice shoe built for that. Comfort and protection was important for us when we created the shoe. I am from an isolated island a couple of hours by boat from Stockholm. On that island the weather can change very quickly and the shoe is perfect for me to use there. It works in the forest, on the rocky beaches, on the asphalt basketball courts or indoor on wooden floors. Of course we also wanted to create a high-end shoe that you can wear whenever.

What is a good shoe?
I think a good shoe is a shoe with innovating ideas and solutions, craftsmanship and multiple possibilities. Sometimes a good shoe reflects on the past and look to the future. I am a huge sci-fi nerd and basketball fan so for me a good shoe must have that kind of feeling to it. You can expect more things coming from me and BrandBlack.

The Erik Bjerkesjö x BrandBlack “Totem” will be released in very limited numbers January 23rd at Sneakersnstuff Paris.

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