For the past ten years, Hugrún Árnadóttir and Magni Þorsteinsson have been producing some of the most creative shoes ever made in Iceland. Their shoes are so distinctive that even the fashion illiterate can recognise one of their designs on sight. Through their diligence and dedication, they have made a name for themselves in Iceland and abroad.
“I guess that the fact that our focus through the years has always been on our work, of getting the often almost impossible job through production and never lose focus on our passion for connecting artisans together,” Hugrún explains as the key to their success. “Because of this mad passion we are here, still burning for creating shoes in an old, artisanal way.”
Kron began simply as Kron, a store on Laugavegur 48 that opened in downtown Reykjavík in 2000. In 2004, they opened a shop on Laugavegur 63 (walking in from Vitastígur) that became Kronkron. Their creative efforts would grow in 2008 to encompass clothing and accessories as well as shoes, when Kron by Kronkron was born. Since then, they have designed some 1,200 distinct pairs of shoes; designed in Iceland, and handcrafted in Spain and Portugal.
To create a magical universe
Magni describes the process of creating shoes from idea to finished product the way a scientist might describe a carefully conducted experiment.
“We know the production process from A to Z and work closely with the craftspeople,” he says. “When the shoe design is complicated, patience and resilience are needed to get them through the year and a half it takes until the final product is ready. A single pair of shoes may represent the expertise of up to 40 people. Each pair is made from many small parts, each of which plays an important role. There are many considerations to be made in getting each pair through the production process, everything has to work out. The time constraints are an additional complication since each shoe passes through the hands of many craftsmen, with no connection other than the role they play in creating a particular pair of shoes.”
Magni says their aim has always been “To create a magical universe where one can get absorbed in beauty when trying on items that have made it through the finely woven net that is our aesthetic sensibility.”
Hugrún agrees, adding, “It’s our craving for details which drives us forward. The pleasure of bringing back craftsmanship into production with an artisan who shares our passion for details.”