Danish brand, Rascals’, founded in early 2008 is known for basing their seasonal collections off a variety of different cultures throughout the 20th century. In the past they’ve been inspired by things like California Skate Culture, Middle Eastern Sports, Old School Hip Hop and 90's hit movies.
Their most recent collection for Autumn/Winter '14 merges athletic wear with Danish street culture. By using classic sportswear materials and functional knit fabrics the line pays homage to its traditional sportswear aesthetic but in a more subtle way. The collection includes tee's, chinos, and hoodies dominated by tones of navy, grey and green - which is said to reflect the distinct roughness Copenhagen takes on during the winter months.
We had the pleasure of interviewing the co-founder of Rascals’ Patrick Jørgenson about the brand and their latest drop:
1.What is your name and title at Rascals’?
My Name is Patrick and I’m the half part of Rascals’ with my Brother Martin being the other part – so with that my formal title would be Co-owner and my function in the company is design and marketing.
2.Can you give me a little background on yourself and how you got into the clothing industry?
I never really planned on making a career in the clothing business, I recently finished my bachelor degree in Psychology, so my background for getting into this was basically non-existant other than managing my brother’s store for a year in between studies. But yeah, Martin started working on what was going to be Rascals in 2008 and when I moved to Copenhagen for studying I basically just started to interfere with his doings (as you’re suppose to do as little brother) and we started designing the collections together and I did invoices in between classes.
So while my brother had some experience with the business beforehand, we had no experience with design or running a brand in general, so Rascals’ has been a learning-by-doing rollercoaster since the beginning and still is – which is a lot of fun.
3.Can you summarize the steps you took to get the Rascals’ brand up and running, from inception to current?
Rascals started out as very conceptual idea of making tracksuits for fixie biking as this culture back then was just starting to emerge in Copenhagen. So the first couple of collections consisted of styles centered around biking plus a few logo-based sweatshirts, but quite quickly we moved away from the idea of just being a “fixie brand” and started designing streetwear in a more general term. We still have some of the “biking-minded” details in our designs and we kept the bike as a part of our logo, because we feel it’s still a strong symbol of what Rascals’ is.
I think it was crucial for us in the beginning to have a clear concept as you want people to grasp what your brand is about and I’m convinced that it’s way easier to expand your universe if you’ve already established some sort of brand identity that people can relate to in terms of staple designs, logo and brand narrative.
And that’s really just half of the story, where the other part is running a smooth business, navigating through ever-existing challenges of production. Sadly, a strong product isn’t enough if you don’t have a strong set-up to support it – something we’ve learned the hard way through the years.
4.Where did the name Rascals’ come from?
Martin opened a store a couple of years earlier before Rascals’ started called “Kanalje” which is the Danish word for a Rascal – so that’s the true, short, and boring story behind our name.
5.We’ve noticed each season you take inspiration from a variety of subcultures around the world, the most recent being 90’s athletic wear along with some Danish heritage. Can you speak on why each season is so different how you incorporate these cultures into your design?
I think restlessness has something to do with it – When we’ve finished off a season we basically have the urges to do something completely different, which can be a good and bad thing. Good because you keep on evolving your brand - bad because you risk the continuity and you don’t always want to kill the past seasons success’ from a more commercial perspective.
We’ve come from a start where Rascals’ was limited to a few successful pieces, so our incentive for the past couple of collections have definitely been to expand our universe and establish Rascals’ as a brand offering complete collections every season.
Our 90’s athletic inspirations is something that has been ongoing for some collections now and I think it’s something we’ll stick to moving forward. For us, this source of inspiration connects well with how we want to make athletic wear. For us it’s not about being super technical nor performance minded, but instead creating versatile designs you would want to use as a part of your everyday wear.
7.Amidst the many other Danish brands out there, how does Rascals’ set itself apart from the rest?
I think a lot of brands, including many of us hailing from Denmark, is taking it’s cue from sportswear at the moment, but in connection to what I explained earlier, we see our athletic inspiration as something more integrated in what Rascals’ is than merely a temporary source of inspiration. I like to think of Rascals’ as being more rooted in the streets than our fellow brands in terms of our design credo – We don’t want to be a fashion brand, as we want to make streetwear in the sense of something you would want to wear when moving through the streets and for us our athletic approach to design plays a vital role in achieving this.
8.Where does the “No History” theme come from?
Back when we started in 2008 the whole heritage trend was at its peak and every new brand seemed to justify their existence by referring to some (pseudo) tale. Our pants weren’t discovered in an old coalmine nor did we sell wellingtons from the 19th century – basically we were a new brand and obviously had no history.
Over time the slogan has almost become a sort of brand value for us in terms of giving ourselves the liberty to evolve and not to be confined to be a specific kind of brand.
9.Lastly, what does Rascals’ have in store for us in the future?
We have our Autumn/Winter 14 collection coming up right about know, which I think is our most subtle collection so far as we’ve tried to integrate our athletic aesthetic into a broad range of styles and even materials you normally wouldn’t associate with us. So expect sporty takes on classic shirts, the introduction of wool in a Rascals’ collection and lastly a velour tracksuit complete with velour bucket hats paying homage to Jamirquai’s lead singer Jay Kay.
And lastly we’ve teamed up some guys who know how to make Coach Jackets and Ballcaps – something we plan to reveal and release in the coming months.
Shop the latest Rascal's Collection here.
Words & images: Tommy Boudreau