June 26th 2015
In the city of Herning on the Danish island of Jutland lies the knitting mill of S.N.S. Squeezed in between two giant flatbeds on the factory floor stands an old shoelace machine all but forgotten, this is the story of how it came back to life, and how 250 pairs of handmade wool laces came about. S.N.S. x gram laces will premier exclusively at Solo Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm from September, and later be available through selected independants worldwide for a limited time only.
Shoelaces are often viewed with general disinterest, a simple utility based tool to ensure your shoes don’t fall off in mid stride, nothing more. To counter this ludite attitude towards such a noble and relentless servant we decided to change the rules of the game. One strand of high quality Italian virgin wool is fed through each of the two runners. With careful hands the threads are pulled through the eyes of the needles and secured on the spinner. The switch is flicked and immediately the shoelace machine awakens from it’s slumber. The finished product gives off the same rugged elegance and indestructible durability as all other S.N.S. garments. Immaculate finish, vivid colours and the perfect balance of utility and style.Since the yarns are the same as those used for the S.N.S. AW08 collection you can now easily colour match your fisherman with your gramSE for a complete look. Each lace comes complete with leather lace lock in thick black pull-up with the S.N.S x gram logo embossed on the front and a certificate of authenticity verifying the origin and originality of this high quality footwear accessory.
To add an element of playfulness to such a serious project all laces will be sold in transparent coloured plastic balls and can be purchased solely from a 5-foot high custom made vending machine. A coin of suitable value is needed to initially acquire a pair and then the rest is paid at the cashier.
In every way the shoelace business of today is immensely streamlined and industrialized, churning out billions of yards per day, so to add the extra value and make this personal we decided to do an extremely limited quantity and hand make it all ourselves. Only 250 pairs of laces have been developed, with all colour blending and production done by Anna Stenvi of gram, on site in Herning, Denmark, under the watchful eye of Soren Skyt, Head of S.N.S.
“We have been working with gram on this neat shoelace project, because the founders share a strong personal vision in making something that is durable, useful and colourful, in a traditional, yet suprisingly new way. Their shoes seem always magically to know where they are heading, and since the founders are also genuinely nice, and imaginative people, the decision to make this project happen in our old knitting mill was a simple one.
The brand S.N.S. Herning was founded by Soren Nielsen Skyt (1899 – 1972). As a young man he made a living selling knittedgarments on the moor of central Jutland, Denmark. In the early 1920’s he learned about a way of handknitting sweaters with ”bubbles” that could serve as insulation. Impressed by these techniques he set out to have the newly appearing knitting machines make the same. He knew the fisherman off the Danish west coast were in need of wollen sweaters to help them bear the rough weather at sea. In 1931 he succeeded in making a sweater that would serve this purpose, today world renowned as the Fisherman’s Sweater. To this day, S.N.S. Herning knits are crafted in the same old manor and style by using the old original machinery. Production is very limited, and as a nod to this fact , every item is signed in hand by the artisan who made it. S.N.S. is sold in the most prestigious stores in the world, among others Loveless in Tokyo and Barneys New York, they also have an ongoing collaboration with legendary Comme de Garcons.
The companys primary goal is to design and produce a range of unique shoes and apparel, that reflect the present, yet rely on the past. Materials are always at the core of every collection together with a strong Scandinavian design aesthetic, creating a uniquely wearable product. All items are created with minute attention to details and hands-on presence in all stages of development. “There is something familiar about our shoes, yet they do not look like anything previous. The idea was that they should feel as though they have always existed, just as new in their look as they are classic in their style” – Alexis Holm, founder Gram Design.