Koio exclusive shoe collection displayed in hallway
In conversation with

Meet Koio’s co-founder Johannes Quodt

June 04, 2021

Koio’s first collaboration with The Beverly Hills Hotel was a huge hit, so they’re back again with another capsule footwear collection. Here the brand’s co-founder, Johannes Quodt, tells us about their passion for quality and sustainability.
Black and white portrait of the founder of Koio

What’s your first fashion memory?

When I was growing up in Germany, I had a family friend named Max who was two years older than me. He and his family would send me clothes Max had grown out of. Every six months a giant box of clothes would arrive. It was so much fun picking out what I liked and something I really looked forward. It also ignited my interest in fashion from a young age.

When did you get interested in footwear?

I’ve always been quite tall and as a teenager I was also really lanky. Shopping was never fun for me because nothing ever fitted properly. Eventually, I realised that shoes were the something I could shop for without worrying about the fit. I started following luxury Italian brands and their sneaker launches and saved to buy a pair every once in a while. I loved their sculptural design and impressive craftsmanship.

Sneaker in the lab with designer
Photograph of the two young men, founders of Koio

Tell us what founding Koio means to you

Initially I expressed myself by wearing other people’s designs. When I co-founded Koio with Chris Wichert, we became active designers and created the shoes we wanted to wear. I had amassed a deep understanding of the proportions and materials used so it felt natural to start designing sneakers. Now the brand has gone from strength to strength and it remains a real passion for us.

First memory of The Beverly Hills Hotel?

Prior to our first collaboration, I had lunch at The Cabana Cafe. I remember the walk there across the red carpet, past reception, the bar, shop and then outside by the pool. It was so beautiful, I felt like I was walking further into paradise with every step. When I arrived at the cafe and enjoyed one of the iconic dishes, I felt such happiness, peace, and tranquility.

Banana leaf sneaker poolside on green and white striped lounger
Koio close up of banana leaf shoe design

Who inspires you the most?

My mum. She has always encouraged me to work hard, persevere and find a way to achieve my dreams. As a kid, when I failed at something she would always challenge me or present a potential solution. She would say things like, “Have you thought about calling them? Why don’t you go there in person?” I used to find this annoying until I realised that acting upon her suggestions made a real difference.

What’s the best thing about working with the hotel?

I really admire the hotel’s dedication to excellence. The team goes over the top to create the best possible experience and ensure everything is of the highest quality. You can see how much thought goes into every detail. And they’re so warm and kind. They’ve become personal friends over the years.

Banana Leaf sneakers on grass with hotel in background
Design patterns for shoe construction

Tell us about your interest in sustainability

I’m passionate about environmental sustainability. I grew up in the Bavarian countryside where sustainable lifestyles are the norm. I learned early on that it’s important to keep our planet healthy and inhabitable for the future. This is what pushes me to make Koio an environmentally conscious brand.

Tell us about your motto

It’s ‘Dare. Defy. Challenge Why.’ We use it as the starting point for any new project and it really helps us stay on track.  Chris and I were outsiders in the fashion world when we founded Koio. We didn’t have a design background but we saw how other young labels invested in fashion shows and trying to get their products into Barney’s, only to realise it wasn’t always the smartest business decision. We challenge traditional fashion rules and try to find modern, unbiased solutions to any obstacles we encounter.

Koio exclusive shoe collection displayed in hallway
Regenerative farm, rolling greens blue sky

What are your plans for the future?

We’re working to become the first regenerative luxury footwear brand, which means we’re planning to source our leathers from regenerative farms. These farms focus on caring for the animals, plants and soil, in order to restore the earth’s ecosystems.

To see Koio’s latest capsule collection with The Beverly Hills Hotel, take a look at our shop.

All images are courtesy of Koio

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