PARIS — For Jannik Wikkelso Davidsen, founder of Han Kjobenhavn, Paris was the natural next step for the Danish ready-to-wear brand.
“We’ve been showing in Copenhagen for the last eight years, and somehow we felt like we needed to move forward,” he said over the phone, a couple of days before the brand’s show on the opening day of Paris Men’s Week. “Paris was the place to be because of its rich history, but also from a business point of view: it’s where the focus is right now. Also, I liked the challenge.”
Han Kjobenhavn started out in 2008 as an eyewear brand, but developed into men’s wear two years later with the introduction of a select collection of 15 Japanese indigo-dyed pieces, which immediately got picked up by local retailers such as Storm Copenhagen. Since then, the brand has grown organically, opening two stores — one in Copenhagen, one in Aarhus — and adding women’s wear to its range a couple of seasons ago.
Davidsen’s main source of inspiration is his upbringing, growing up part of a working class family in the suburbs of Copenhagen in the Nineties. “You would create your style by mixing wardrobes: your dad’s oversize blazers and suits, your mum’s fake leather jacket and football gear from the local sports club,” the 37-year-old designer explained.
The same mix-and-match approach can be found in his collections of slouchy, street-wise silhouettes. Luxe merino wool is worn alongside fake fur and leather — “when I was younger, we couldn’t afford the real deal” — Neoprene and resistant technical materials, such as Cordura nylon.
A former creative director in advertising, Davidsen puts a strong focus on the brand’s visual identity, often picking older men to star in its campaigns. “Our casting is always linked to the DNA of the brand to create an authentic story. Some of the men we have used in campaigns are people I know personally, who used to come in and out of our house when we were growing up. You can see in their eyes that they have lived.”
The next step for Han Kjobenhavn is to open stores outside of Denmark: “In an ideal world, we’d aim for Paris, London and New York,” said its founder. In the meantime, the brand is gearing up to launch its fourth collaboration with Puma in February 2019, while Davidsen himself has been tapped by the sportswear brand to design a Puma collection in his own name, due to come out this spring.