Kevin Kragbe, the founder of the Parisian sneaker brand “Aime-Moi,” sat with us at BELLO to discuss his experience as a designer, what inspires him, and more. Having just launched his latest collection “20!20,” every collection is yearly, unisex, and limited. When you purchase one of these sneakers, you become part of family in which only a few are members! Made for EVERYONE, Kragbe illustrates what it means to be loyal, kind, hard-working, and creative! Hoping to make his customers happy and proud, Kragbe has an amazing support system, a great team, and unique ideas that he can’t wait to share with the world! Make sure to check it out and Happy Holidays!

By Alexandra Bonnet

Share with us the moment you decided to launch your own label of sneakers. What sparked this?

I was copywriter in advertising agency, for 8 years in the same agency, and at this time, I was at a turning point: find a new agency or create something from my own, from A to Z where I could express totally & entertain myself.

Encouraged by my wife (who saw every day my passion for sneakers) and by my mom (who send me drawings of my youth where I drew sneakers and sneakers), it was clear that would create my own brand of sneakers, a brand where I can create whatever I want in domain I like (design, photos, videos…).

During the building process, what obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?

Motivation & improvisation are keywords. Building a brand is solving problems, and bypassing obstacles. Network is also important. Most of the time, you know someone who knows someone who could do maybe something; and if he doesn’t, someone will do. And if no one could, don’t be afraid to do by yourself and learn by yourself.

At last, Internet was a brilliant school. Everything we need is there. But most of the time, we don’t know where to search. The aim is to keep looking & digging.

What inspires you when creating your collections?

It depends. Everything. Everywhere.

Pop culture inspires me a lot.

I watch/ watched a lot of movies or TV Show.

I listen to a lot of songs, and some punchlines could inspire me with a color choice for example.

I didn’t make a design or architecture school, so I look at every object, every form every color match around me, in social media, used for this industrial product or this packaging, created by those artists or craftsperson … Work from other designers (well-known or not) passion me. How they do that and see all the distance to remain me to achieve.

Tell us your favorite part of creating sneakers. What does fashion mean to you? What purpose do you believe it serves in your life and others’ lives?

My favorite part is obviously the drawing one because it’s the moment I put down my imagination on something more realistic. It’s the first moment I bring face to face what is on my mind vs what it could be. Most of the time I’m disappointed, but it’s work… a pure moment of joy.

I know I should tell you, that my favorite part should be first prototype or final sample, cause it’s real; but most of the time, it was far too long between drawing and prototype or final sample, or I saw my drawing or the prototype too many times that I already move on to next challenge, next creation because I’ve no more excitation about it.

For me, fashion is the opportunity to create and create again and again: a limitless creative playground. Create and create again to offer one day the best version of a work.

Explain to us why you decided to come out with yearly models. Did you ever contemplate changing that? What kind of impact does it have on your brand?

Take time to do things and offer the best version of our work.  Not launch impulsively something. For me, it’s also, taking time to love again the model (after moving on to something else), or rework on it later; be sure that it deserves to be launch, that it will not disappoint followers of the brand (not only in social media).

Each year, we offer a model with a real concept and a work different from the previous model. The aim of Aime-Moi Paris is to surprise you each time by a new concept or vision. Each model is worked like a movie different from the previous one, not like a TV Show. So, each drop should be an event (even if it’s a small one).

Aime-Moi is yearly model which are already announced on our website, with for each one a previous drop date, like a Rendez-Vous.

What are some important lessons you have learned in the last two years?

Patience… because I’m not a patient person and I’m still not one. But maybe one day.

Tell us more about your upcoming 20!20 collection. What are you most excited about with this one? How do you want your customers to feel when wearing them?

20!20 is a triple vision and reading of Cyber Punk & post-apocalyptic universes about urban jungle. With this new collection we want to surprise people with a not usual shape of sneakers but in the same evocative one. Details are important in 20!20: details in (in mix of) materials & accessories used. We work hard on every detail from the inside (in-sole of the sneakers to the end-piece finishing each pair of laces, not usual).

I hope customers will feel proud to wear our 20!20, to wear a quality piece of sneaker.

They are based off of a post-apocalyptic vibe. What inspired you to do so? 

References are diverse, like Blade Runner Saga Movies, for darkness of some elements such as the dark colorway of the 20!20 Crepuscule or the ballistic cover-laces to tame urban jungle; but also, an inspiration for colors of ribbons at the back of the sneaker.

Post-apocalyptic movies or books like “Planet Of Apes”, “I am Legend” or “The Road”, where jungle or nature take over again & took back their rights are also a reference, and had an influence in my work on the 20!20 Plantation, with its Bush & Olive colors.

At least, I thought that there is always something triumphant in the dark side, like a symphonic march or glorious rap song.

From John Williams’ Imperial March to Dipset ‘s triumphant rap anthem, passing by Howard Shore’s heroic symphonies, the saffron-yellow of the 20!20 Clairon is a resonant & copper inspiration from apocalyptic triumph.

If you were living in a post-apocalyptic world, what are the 3 things you would keep on you at all times?

A bulletproof vest, pepper to give taste to all food or feed I will find & a pair of sneakers, to not walk barefoot and walk comfortably.

Growing up, what role did fashion play in your life? Has your family always supported you?

Fashion channels my creativity & my hyperactivity. My wife is happy about that because I’m more calm and less turbulent. J

Family & friends always are supporting me, but always tell me when my work goes wrong. Real daily safeguard.

It’s been almost a year since COVID hit. How has it had a positive impact on your life?

Positive impact of COVID crisis on my life, taking time with my wife, enjoy each other, and taking time to rework things for Aime-Moi.

Resolutions for 2021?

Taking people and followers by surprise with our next model, “La Fiancée.”