Han Kjøbenhavn, coming all the way from Copenhagen, Denmark has been making some serious waves here in the U.S. With the release of their Spring/Summer ’14 line we’ve begun to see some of the most innovative and creative product yet. Block patterning, mesh overlays, ribbed cuffs and unique color pops constitute the new collection’s aesthetic. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the founders to talk about the brand and their latest offering. Click below for the full interview and some detailed imagery.
1. To start things off, can you please tell us your name and what you do at Han Kjøbenhavn?
My name is Tim Hancock I am the Owner and Co founder of Han Kjøbenhavn, which I started back in 2008 with my life-long friend Jannik W. Davidsen.
2. Can you talk about your background and what lead you into the industry?
We both come from different backgrounds, Jannik from Advertising and I'm from PR and Design. We wanted to create our own stuff, where we never at any point needed to compromise our own ideas.
3. Han Kjøbenhavn has been around for some time now, can you give us a brief history on the brand and what you aim to create?
We started in 2008, with Eyewear/Sunglasses, we wanted to created a high quality product for an affordable price, quickly we gained worldwide recognition, and in 2009 we started out with the Indigo program “blue by Han Kjøbenhavn” that you still see in our apparel collection today.
4. Although based in Denmark, Han doesn’t seem to have had any issue branching out into new territory. With the recent opening of a Han Kjøbenhavn store in New York City and having the brand in stores like JCrew and many small boutiques, can you speak on how this has helped it's overall perception?
Denmark has helped us a lot because of our culture and huge range of design heritage. We actually had a great reaction on our products in the very beginning from both JPN and USA, so it was a “no brainer” for us to open our second store in NY, where the consumer is very informed about design and so forth.
5. Toward the end of last year, Han further introduced itself to the American market by getting together with the historic label Pendleton for a capsule collection. How did this collaboration come about? Should we expect any new collaborative work from Han Kjøbenhavn for 2014?
Yes this was our fist collab ever, we have been holding back on any types of collabs, due to the masses of different collabs, which are made every day. We wanted to create a unique collab with Pendleton where the DNA of both our companies were combined in the most outstanding way. We had a long dialog with Pendleton through their Scandinavian agency, and once we all could agree upon the actual concept, it was all straight forward. The collab called “SEAWOLF” was a pattern that they only used before on a kids blanket, and we found the artwork perfect for this collab. The collection is a special made fabric yarn dyed in the 4 blue indigo tones that we used in our very first apparel collection back in 2009. The style in the collection is hand picked out of our archives and made into this ready to wear three pieces capsule collection. In regards to new collabs in 2014 we already did one together with the brewery Carlsberg, we re-designed the lay out of one of there new bottles in a special make up collection called “ The Stand Out Collection” Where they hand picked six different creative people/brands/companies to remake there product. At the moment we are working on three other collabs for the near future where one of them is a remake of a Arne Jacobsen chair which will be launched at the ICFF in NY this year.
6. A many flourishing urban menswear labels call Copenhagen home, a handful of which we actually stock at the shop. Rich in history and culture, could you speak on Copenhagen's influence on the creative output coming from the city?
That is a very tough one to answer, but the culture/style in Copenhagen is a mix of many things such as modern design, Nordic food, bicycles and a very liberal mix of people. I guess that is why there is so many different things coming from Copenhagen.
7. A New York Times journalist recently said, “That’s the balance Han Kjøbenhavn achieves, to display flair without venturing far from the clean principles of design,” and we at Bodega couldn’t agree more. Can you tell us what influences you to create such timeless pieces?
Most of our designs and inspiration comes from Danish architecture and furniture design, the rest of our inspiration comes from what we would wear and where we are from.
8. Your S/S ‘14 collection emulates nothing less than creativity coupled with sheer innovation. The Sunny Bomber jacket (a shop favorite) follows this quite well. With the grey mesh panels along with the smooth knit fleece and bright blue color pops, this piece really does display flair without venturing far from the clean principles of design. I’m sure it goes without saying that creating such a piece didn’t come without its challenges. Can you talk about some of the challenges or issues you faced while designing the S/S ’14 line?
I would say this as a general thing for all seasons, each season the biggest challenge is to get the actual idea made as an actual garment. It always has restrictions in fabric, cut an sew, lead time, dyeing processes, etc.
Words & Images: Tommy Boudreau and Andrew White Model: Abhi Chandra