There’s good reason why Scandinavians are lauded for their design nous, having a knack for creating everything from clothing to cabinets with a kind of soft panache. Denmark is renowned for its furniture, Finland has its glassware and Sweden has its fashion, which is either cutting edge in its haste or slow and precise. Footwear brand C.QP occupies the latter, designing sneakers that are simple yet perfectly executed, and which exemplify the creative thinking that has come to define Stockholm.
Swedish-born Adam Lewenhaupt launched the brand in 2014, but the designer’s years prior to that weren’t immersed in lasts or rubber soles; the 36-year-old worked in finance for close to 10 years before the creative urge took hold, and he decided to work on something tangible. “I had always been into design in general and very much into shoes,” says Lewenhaupt. “I felt that there was a gap in the market for a sneaker that could be the perfect hybrid between something that is elegant and something that is sporty.” He set about creating footwear that looked as at home with denim as a suit, all while channelling that Scandinavian minimalism.
The first style C.QP released was the Tarmac, which Adam describes as a love child between a chukka boot and a classic tennis sneaker, with the rise finishing at the ankle – a quarter top, if you will. The second style was the Racquet, which is more of a classic 1960s tennis silhouette, except with a partial lining only around the heel for added comfort and breathability. These styles, as with all of C.QP’s, are shaped on a narrow last, which is a contrast to the often bulky shapes of other brands, and acts as a defining characteristic. “It’s important that the styles we do have something unique to them, and are not only a cross between something that’s been done before. If we can’t innovate in this niche area, there’s no reason for us to exist.”