A look inside the world of Axel Arigato, a cult favourite of sneakerheads

We talk to Max Svärdh, Co-Founder & Creative Director and Albin Johansson, Co-Founder & CEO of Axel Arigato on the brand's DNA, aesthetics and its recent debut in Malaysia.
Reading time 6 minutes

A relatively young brand that started in 2014, Swedish label Axel Arigato (@axelarigato) has risen to fame as one of the coolest cult favourites among shoe lovers and sneakerheads for its eye-catching designs and chic aesthetic.

Worn by the likes of Bella Hadid, Margot Robbie, Justin Bieber, Chris Evans, and many more, Axel Arigato is loved from its fashion-forward aesthetics made for fashion lovers of all ages and gender.

And now, they have made their way into Malaysia with the launch of its e-Commerce platform through one of the leading Asian luxury retailers FJ Benjamin.

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Among the celebrate favourites, the Clean 90 design stands out as the classic go-to style that is available with a myriad of variations. And with Axel Arigato's concept of "Drop Of The Week" that utilises its innovative design model to release one new style every week, the brand stays in tip top condition in the fast-paced fashion game.

And here, we have an exclusive interview with two of Axel Arigato's key personnel, Max Svärdh, Co-Founder & Creative Director and Albin Johansson, Co-Founder & CEO of Axel Arigato, to tell us more about this eclectic and cool label.

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Sneakers have become a major fashion over the years spreading across high street to high fashion. What makes Axel Arigato different from the rest?

Max Svärdh (MS): We think of Axel Arigato as more of a ‘destination’ than just another brand. Be it where customers find us, in store at one of the many events we throw or online via the website or our Instagram (@axelarigato), we’ve created a world that just happens to sell products too.

Albin Johansson (AJ): Before launching the brand we did question ourselves and what brands we looked up to and desired. When compiling several elements we ended up not finding a single brand fulfilling several of them, this was a major reason for launching Axel Arigato. Given the strengths of Max and myself, we have been able to offer a high standard of several areas from day 1, which is quite rare.

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Let'ss rewind a little and talk about your beginnings. How did the idea of starting Axel Arigato surfaced?

AJ: Max and I both grew up in Gothenburg, a small town in Sweden. Through mutual friends, we met and shared ideas about creating a brand that was missing from the market. This is how Axel Arigato was born.

MS: We always had a passion for sneakers so it was clear that we wanted to do something on this spectrum. We felt that no brand in this segment spoke to us, it's on this basis that the brand was founded.

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As a fairly new player in the market that started in 2014, you have a rapid expansion and rise in the scene. What do you think contributes to your success factor?

MS: Finding the balance between core products and constantly reinventing ourselves through new designs is a big factor. We keep listening to our ‘loyalists’, as we call them, who look to us for their essentials but also welcome in new customers who want something different.

AJ: Whatever we do we tend to be customer-centric, even if short term might have a negative impact. We are in this for the long run and therefore we do not want to maximise revenue or profit, we want to maximise the experience.


What is the core aesthetic of the brand and how does it reflect both your personality and style?

MS: Always been drawn to minimalism, something that is clear through everything we do, no matter if it's typography, interior or product.

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Within the new collections, which are your favourites and why?

MS: The Catfish Lo-Freq is my favourite this season. It differs from the standard Catfish with its reflective transfers on the upper and thermoplastic panels. The Lo-Freq feeds back into my 90’s obsession and I’m into every colourway.

AJ: It’s a tie between the Marathon R-Trail as it’s a great new addition to the Marathon Runner family and the new puffer jackets which are hugely warm but still breathable.


How about your go-to all-time classics from the Axel Arigato collection?

AJ: Our Detailed Platform fulfils several needs for me.

MS: I’m a diehard 90’s fan. So for me, it’s the Catfish or Marathon Runner, both of which could be plucked straight from that era.

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How has the brand evolved over the years? Do you think it stayed true to your original vision or has it evolved into something entirely different?

AJ: Practically speaking it’s evolved rapidly in size and impact since we launched. We’re constantly adapting our outlook and goals, making sure Axel Arigato moves with the times whilst staying true to who we are.

MS: As Albin said, adapting to change is key for us and as the world evolves so do we. Expanding into categories of sustainably conscious products, kids collection and lifestyle objects is testament to this.


With the launch for e-commerce into the Southeast Asia region, what do you expect?

AJ: We do not expect much but we do hope that we will be able to share our ideas and thoughts through this platform with a new market. Once the Covid-19 situation is over, our plan is to replicate what we have done in Europe which involves a lot of physical events, majorly focusing on live music together with artists that share the same mindset as us.

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You can now shop for the latest Axel Arigato collection exclusively on, which provides direct shipping to Malaysia.


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