namuk x KEEN - The story behind the Capsule Collection

namuk x KEEN - The story behind the Capsule Collection

At the end of March, the time had come – at last, we could show the world what we had been pouring our heart and soul into, working on for months. Together with THE experts for children’s sandals, KEEN, we jointly brought the KEEN classic Seacamp to market with a unique namuk design. Now – just three months later – there’s a whole Capsule Collection to go with them.

How the project came about, who was behind the singular look of the pictorial and video imagery, and which highlights and challenges arose over the course of the project – I got to speak about all that with the project’s Design Director, Andreas Huber, and photographer Claudia Knoepfel.

Who kicked off the project and how did the collaboration come about?

Andreas: KEEN visited us in Wetzikon in 2022 – at our former location – and we discussed the idea. The only premise from KEEN’s side was that their bestselling model, Seacamp, should be re-interpreted. It quickly became clear to us that we wanted to put more focus on the city and less on the outdoors.

For us, it was about a distinctive design language, being immersed in an urban world. To create a fitting story around the shoe, I also had the idea for the Capsule Collection. The story needed to be memorable. And then it was a pretty short path to the right photographer.

I knew Claudia’s work and knew that she lives this fashion input and has the right progressive energy. I was certain that she could create a completely distinct and unique world with us.

Claudia: For me, this project meant coming full circle. I live in Switzerland, I’m a mother, and we spend a lot of time outdoors. My work is very fashion-oriented, but I actually have a very strong background in the outdoors. I’ve worked in Paris and New York, etc., but never actually with kids. I had been in contact now and then with your CEO, Franz, but this time everything just fell into place.

Andreas and I noticed that with trail running, for example, we both share the same passion. With my own daughter, I have another entry point into the namuk universe. And Andreas and I both got our starts in the fashion world. So I was really excited. The shoots with the kids were so much more freestyle (than with adults).

Andreas: I also saw the possibility for Claudia to connect the worlds of fashion and motherhood with this project. I love her visual language and spontaneity. She creates an approachability, and I will still feel these pictures of hers just as much in five years. It needed to be something really different.

namuk x KEEN sandals for children

What was your highlight while working on the project and what was maybe a bit more challenging?

Claudia (laughs): Oh, the highlight for me was definitely the location check.

Andreas: Yes, agreed. We had three different locations to choose from and we went to look at them together. We ran the entire way. By the time we were done, we had actually run the equivalent of a whole half marathon.

Claudia: A challenge was that we had originally planned to do the shoot in Milan and then had to relocate to do it locally in Zurich.

Andreas: Milan would have been significantly more complicated, and the costs would have exploded. In the beginning, that was definitely a challenge. But ultimately, it was also an opportunity. The world we created still has a very international feel.

Claudia: And throughout it, we also create a reference to Swiss architecture, which I also find very beautiful.

Claudia, in a project like this, what is your aspiration or goal?

When I do contract work, usually the people actually come to me and I’m fortunate that they come because of what I do. I rarely have to somehow ‘bend.’ I am extremely happy working with a team and with a lot of passion and energy. I never don’t care. I want to get the best out of the people and create an environment where they feel comfortable. A positive atmosphere is very important to me.

namuk x KEEN Capsule Collection

Andreas, how did you decide on the colors, and where did the idea for the Capsule Collection come from?

With the Capsule Collection, in which we complement the shoes with our Macem sweatshirt, the Coba shirt, and the Variat parka (limited to Switzerland), we’ve created a preview for new styles, among other things. It’s perfect for combining different pieces, and we wanted to create precisely this kind of complete look. In addition, the complete collection originated with the goal of establishing namuk better in summer, too. As for the choice of colors, KEEN is already very colorful, but maybe just a bit more conservative. So from that perspective, it was clear that we would choose a somewhat scaled-down color palette. In the sole, we built in our own unique namuk twist with the transparent design – a bit more urban and playful. The sweatshirt features our Legna print, which is inspired by the pinewood that’s integrated in our store concept. The whole design and the visual appearance, to me, say, ‘Urban meets nature!’In the original visual concept, dancing played an important role.

namuk x KEEN Capsule Collection


Andreas: I know from my own experience that I lose myself in the moment when I do something I like doing. We thought that was a choice of theme that would let the kids feel comfortable and free to be wild. KEEN liked the idea, too. Most importantly, it shouldn’t be static.

Claudia: Ultimately, dancing wasn’t a focus very much at all, but rather, ‘moving freely.’ That was the central idea of the shoot.

Andreas: It was important to us that it would come off as authentic, independent, and not rehearsed. Kids should be allowed to be however they want to be. And we noticed that on set.

What do you want to elicit in people’s minds with your photos and videos?

Claudia: I live in the city of Zurich, so I find the urban look of the shoes and the collections really cool. And if we’re honest, a lot of kids are in urban spaces five days a week. On the weekend, they go skiing, snowboarding, etc. But the urban space dominates. namuk can reach a lot of families there. I lean toward expertise in fashion and namuk stands for expertise in the outdoors, and quality. So I really like the combination of style and being outdoors in this visual imagery a lot.

Andreas: Our goal was to not lose namuk’s DNA and to push it progressively further. Ideally, people should want to look twice, and our goal was also to create a desirability for the product. We also observe that a lot of people move from the country to the city for financial reasons. That shows that urban life is the reality for many people. Concrete goes along with that. We wanted to convey that playfully and aesthetically.

What would be the perfect setting where you’d love to see your collection in action?

Claudia: I see with my daughter that she can combine the shoes with a dress just as well as with shorts. She goes to the pool like that, to school, up a local mountain…. The shoe is for the outdoors without being too technical. When I pick her up after school, we can go directly to climbing at the playground, walking around the city, or running through the rain. You’re totally free!

Andreas: A child can be a child. You don’t need to worry about anything breaking. The product can withstand anything and still look good. The product was in focus. That’s important. Ultimately, it’s the consumers who take the ownership.

Andreas Huber & Claudia Knoepfel

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