Han Kjøbenhavn and the Classically Unpolished
Han Kjøbenhavn is a Danish clothier based in Copenhagen that produces simple, innovative and aesthetically beautiful garments that can really withstand the elements. With Copenhagen's weather being not so dissimilar to San Francisco, their designs are perfect for remaining classically stylish in the fog. Jannik of Han took the time to answer some questions about Han Kjøbenhavn's motives and mission.
First off, for our non-Danish blog readers, can you please tell us how to pronounce Han Kjøbenhaven phonetically? What is the significance of the name Han Kjøbenhaven?
It is pretty straight forward, you pronounce it like this: Han Kjø-ben-havn. The "ø" is only used in the Danish alphabet and has a pretty unique sound. It's difficult for non-Danish people to pronounce it.
"Han" is Danish for "he" and "Kjøbenhavn" is they way Copenhagen was spelled in Denmark back in the day. It captures the classic aspect that we use whenever we create something.
Han Kjøbenhaven began in 2008 in Copenhagen. What was the initial inspiration/concept behind the beginnings of this brand?
Using the heritage principles as a platform to evolve a different scandinavian look. And using unpolished local people to tell the brand's story.
What inspires you today?
Our Danish furniture heritage is something that we love and use when creating something. The work of Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Finn Juhl is impressive down to the tiniest detail. The way they work with materials, lines and space is something everybody should strive to do.
And as mentioned earlier, we love unpolished honest people. Using Imperfection, flaws and vulnerability as a contrast to the clean scandinavian mentality, that's what Han Kjøbenhavn is.
Many of Han Kjøbenhaven's designs include a high attention to detail in order to produce a very utilitarian product (for example; using military nylon rip-stop, heavy weight thermo padding, waterproof tapered seams, etc.) When designing for Han Kjøbenhaven what considerations are taken in order to balance function with form?
On a functional level, details need to serve a purpose. And when creating stuff we have to take the unbelievable shitty Copenhagen weather into consideration and try to make something that can deal with that. If we succeed with that then the product should be fine for all other countries as well.
Do you feel that Han Kjøbenhaven represents Danish fashion/design? If not, how does it differ from what you (or other audiences) perceive as being typically Danish? If so, in what ways does Denmark shape Han Kjøbenhaven?
Many of the younger Danish brands have their roots in the streetwear, while we create our stuff from a more classic platform. That said, I would'nt call us a heritage brand, but we think that the quality of the product is as important as the design itself.
I notice that Han Kjøbenhaven sources many of its textiles from Japan (Japanese selvage denim and wool.) Is this coincidental or is it indicative of the quality of Japanese textiles? How did this sourcing come about?
It's not coincidental; we always source the materials regarding what's best for the specific style whether its Japan, Oman or Portugal. But again we are not just doing it because there is a trend among consumers that everything has to be Japanese or something. There are bullshit materials coming out of everywhere so you just have to selective and try hard to find the best out there.
The short films available on the Han Kjøbenhaven website are really incredible. They are so cinematic, moody, and darkly funny in a way, while effectively showcasing the clothing. How did these videos come about? And how are the characters casted? There are some really grizzly looking dudes in this vignettes!
Thanks!. We street cast the people and let them be themselves by creating a story where they fit in. The cast and the story is always the priority while the products just have to complement it.
We are just finishing up our AW12 short film as we speak. That should be very entertaining.
We are also looking for spaces to open up a new store and hope to have something ready in the new year.
(All images here within courtesy of Han Kjøbenhavn- all images copyright ©2012 Han Kjøbenhavn / All Rights Reserved)