Robb Reader: Adam Lewenhaupt

The Founder and Creative Director of Stockholm-based CQP on the story of his game-changing footwear brand.

What first sparked your passion for design? Do you recall a catalyst moment?
I don’t actually, but I remember that I always had very strong ideas and views on design from an early age. I like cars so I mostly looked at car design when I was a kid and could obsess about proportions and lines. And I still do these things, and now apply them to shoes, with which I also focus a lot on balance, proportions and presence.

What drew you away from finance towards footwear?
To begin with, I was drawn to finance because I’m competitive and wanted to get a job where it was most difficult to get one, and secondly I wanted to make money. It turned out pretty quickly those are probably not great reasons for finding what is right in the long term, and although that dawned on me pretty quickly, I kept at it for quite a few years. Eventually I came to a point where I had thought about doing my own thing for so long, and probably complained to my wife, or then girlfriend, for just as long, that I had to give it a try. Because if I didn’t try I would never know and probably always think about it.

Atlon mid-top suede urban hiker trainers in warm grey 

How did you come up with the name – an abbreviation of “Conversations & Quintessential Products”?
I started out with a different name actually – Coloquy – that I had to give up because I hadn’t properly done my homework and it turned out another company had registered the right for that name. And when we changed, no one questioned that decision because they thought the first name was so bad. Someone even misspelled it “colourqueen” which wasn’t exactly a vibe I was going for. So anyway, CQP was chosen to capture what we stand for and do; we continuously interview people who inspire us and aim to create products people find quintessential in their lives.

How do CQP trainers differ from the norm?
The norm in recent years has been very chunky designs, which has made it easier for us to stand out. Our designs are quite sleek and our construction very soft, except for the soles which are solidly built. While I think our designs stand out, perhaps mostly to nerds like ourselves, we differ mostly in the time and effort that goes into picking the best materials and create the ultimate fit. I continuously keep my eyes open and see what others do, and very few, regardless of price, have the same attention to detail and level of craftsmanship for these types of shoes as we do. We truly are product geeks and that shows.


Portico quarter-top suede slip ons in greige 


How is shoe design changing, in terms of catering for new generations of people who care about what they wear on their feet?
I believe recent trends of creating very chunky sneakers with a huge variety of layers, materials and construction all built into single designs show that imagination is the only thing holding designers back. With computers and 3D-printers anything is probably possible. And generally I believe people tend to express themselves and their styles more through shoes than before.

What is your personal definition of luxury?
I would say nowadays it’s time. Time to think, reflect, read and hang out with people I like without interference. As a spoiled, materialistic person living in a reasonable big city, I also find it really luxurious to take a break from that life and spend some time outside in the wild, either in the Swedish mountains hiking or skiing or in the Stockholm archipelago.

Tarmac quarter-top suede trainers in olive 

Who – dead or alive – are your greatest inspirations?
I was and still am inspired by Steve Jobs. His stubbornness and people skills may have annoyed many, but also lead to the creation of so many revolutionary things. I also find Roger Federer very inspiring. He is about my age and just keeps at it, and seems to have a gentler personality than Steve as well. And I heard he likes sneakers…


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