Much has been written about Copenhagen as an extremely desirable city to live in. The bottom line is it is clean, serviced with a great transport infrastructure and has a strong history of design. These all combine to create a compelling proposition for such a small place. We have often joked about the amount of Danish based labels we carry at Goodhood Store; Norse Projects, Soulland, WoodWood & Peter Jensen, all play their different roles while being united by a common bond of not only geographical base but an intrinsic i-d. of real, wearable, casual clothing. We recently spent a very quick two day's in Copenhagen and have tried to cover some of what we experienced below. 

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1. WoodWood, 2. Henrik Vibskov, 3. Kodbyen -Meat Packing District, 4. V1 Gallery, 5. V1 Gallery, 6. City Centre artwork, 7. Barry McGee & Todd James at V1. 

Shops to visit -

WoodWood        
Krystalgade 7 1172 Copehagen,  labels carried - Wood Wood, Opening Ceremony, Head Porter, New Balance, Comme des Garcons Play. 

Herik Vibskov    
Krystalgade 6 1172 Copenhagen, labels carried - Henrik Vibskov, Bless, Pendelton, Stine Goya. 

Norse Store        
Pilestræde 41 st. 1112 Copenhagen, labels carried - Norse Projects, Mark Mcnairy, Steven Alan, Trickers.

Storm                  
St. Regnegade 11110 Copenhagen, labels carried - Thom Brown, Visvim, Raf Simons, Ralph Lauren. 

Casa Shop          
St. Regnegade 11110 Copenhagen, furniture and design store carrying classic design icons and modern danish style. 

Galleries - 

V1 Gallery       
Flæsketorvet 69 - 71 1711 Copenhagen, contemporary art gallery based in the traditional meat packing district

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Gl. Strandvej 13 - 3050 Humlebæk, major modern art museum near Copenhagen housing one of the largest collections in Scandinavia

Other points of interest - 

Christiana       
1407 København Copenhagen, The cities famously controversial 'free town' commune. 

 

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Hows the reaction been to the new collection?

Really good! I was a little surprised that people understood the inspiration and theme so well. Sometime it’s hard for me to communicate what my inspiration is but it worked really well this time. I think we are also getting better at making collections that are both easy to buy into and that have an interesting creative approach. So yeah the reactions have been really good. Press and buyers are happy!

When i first met you guys i was touched by your great vibe, you were on a road trip with your gear in the back of a hire van, driving around 400 miles a day to go to see shops pretty much unannounced, do you still get out on the road trip at all?

That was the hey days. Me and Kristian in the car, I don’t have the time to go on those trips anymore. I really liked going on them, but my work is much more focused now, so I don’t have time for anything else than designing and working with the production. You know after we stayed at your house we went to Manchester and I got punched to the ground buy a Man City hooligan, when you play with fire you get burnt...

I remember you had your skateboards with you, and I’ve seen some pretty impressive pictures of you guys doing some big tricks, do you still manage to get out skating?

My knee is so fucked up that I can’t skate. I’m going into my 3rd surgery in a month. I wish I could though because I really miss it. When we had our skateboards with us on the sales trip it was good way to take a break from the meetings.

Can you explain the link between skatboarding and Soulland if there is one at all?

Design wise there is not really a link anymore, but my approach to the whole design process is based on skateboarding. In skateboarding you are on your own but you often have a strong crew. You meet people from all kind of backgrounds and you learn to communicate with all kinds of people. That is very useful in a clothing company as well. 

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Preview of the Soulland SS11 collection Copenhagen Fashion Week

Can you tell us a bit about the coveted Soulland Adler Fedora collaboration?

Well we did it with this hat maker. The workshop has been around since 1946 and the place is amazing. I just had this idea and he was totally down with it. It’s really fun to see how it has become the icon piece for Soulland.

Whats the Soulland design philosophy?

I haven’t really figured that out that yet. So far there are a few things I know for sure are a big part of the Soulland way. 1. That everyone involved in the company is happy. 2. We have to design with a focus on the future but with respect for the past.

Who are your design hero's?

You! Your R. Newbold collections are fucking ace. I’m also a big fan of Mr. Mugato, his derelict collection was brilliant!!!!

Are there any current trends your excited by?

Being your self is definitely the most important trend in this time and age. 

Whats next for Soulland?

We are working on two very exiting projects; one is with the state of Denmark and it’s a very big honor. The other is something new for us and a new way of doing business. You will know more soon!  

The Danish people have consistently been labeled the happiest in the world,  Can you explain to the rest of the world what makes the danes so great?

I don’t know if it’s true that Danes are happier than other nationalities. I mean we have the same suicides rates as in the rest of Europe and the use of depression drugs is sky high. But I think one thing that makes Denmark an easy place to live in is the way the system works, it’s easy to understand the system and make it work for you. 

 

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1. Karl at WoodWood, 2. V1 Gallery team, 3. Soulland Team, 4. Mikkel at Norse Projects. 

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Hows the reaction been to the new collection?

Fantastic! We are really are quite humbled and off course proud by the great response, specially that many of our customers have taken their time to actually call us and say they are really happy with the product that was delivered this fall, it means a lot to us. Also getting feedback from customers is super motivating, this means a lot more than one would think. It also ads to the pressure to come up with new good product in the coming collections, so is both super motivating! The Uk is one of our favorite markets and we enjoy both the people, and the culture which is somewhat similar to the Scandinavian mentality so we were specially happy about the outcome of  the jackets which are made in the UK, out of UK fabrics, specially the the OiPolloi collab came out great, which is always important when you do a collab. For us its really important to make sure every project lives up to the initial expectations of the initial idea, which is not always easy.

In a fairly short time Norse has managed to become a fairly well known brand, can you tell us about how it came together, and how long it took?

Actually Norse Projects started 5 years before we even released our first collection.. The initial store was conceived more as a gallery and design studio than an actual store, and was more intended as a vehicle for new ideas and input from the worlds of art and design. We did a number of projects in the first years from the Martha Cooper book release, the sneaker stories exhibition, projects with local artists  HuskMitNavn, and a number of exhibitions, big and small with different artists and friends of the house. After a while however we wanted to move on from working for other people and on other peoples projects and wanted to work in an area where we could be involved with the process from beginning to end. So when we actually came out with the first collection, in a way there was an existing expectation for the brand to step up and do something on the next level It was either that or close it down as it had run its course in the form it had. Thankfully we choose to do something completely different where our combined talents and experienced could gain a means of expression beyond just the gallery space and local scene.

We've met quite a few of the people involved in Norse Projects, can you tell us how you work together? How you go about creating the collection?

The formula i guess i that there is none-(officially) All our team has different talents and come from different backgrounds. In this case you could say that the result is greater then the sum of the individual parts and the collection is curated and envisioned on different levels by different members of the team, & we each have our role to play in the chorus! But behind that statement i think there is also sense of quiet direction and order..

Norse has collaborated with a number of people in quite a short time, can you explain your approach to collaborations?

We just try to work with people we like, and respect , and most of them come naturally to mind. Also we like doing collaborations with people we can learn something from, and hopefully give something back to as well in the process. The best collaborations are always when there is an exchange which benefits all parts, as well as the person its intended for, otherwise there is no point.

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Preview of Norse Projects SS11 collection

Mikkel, you are also involved in Copenhagens V1 gallery which has hosted some amazing exhibitions. Can you let us know the differences between working with artist and fashion people? And how do you think this informs your experience of working with Norse?

Working with artists and fashion people is always interesting but are at most times very different. At Norse im working in the creative part and at V1 its more practical and lots of preparing. Artists most likely work on his/her own and have all the ideas already in his head before arranging or setting up a show, where as at Norse im the one who gets to be creative and come up with ideas and concepts with our team. But I most certainly like to work with artists too on a daily level as it gives me an insight into some very creative peoples minds, which often can be translated to the stuff I do at Norse Projects. Ofcourse there are great artists in fashion and the other way around. But at V1 we do not do fashion related shows. So the way I mix the two worlds are by sometimes using my network in the art world to do special items or collabs with Norse. I think its ok to mix fashion and art as long as there is a clear strategy for what you do and why you do it.For us doing artists collabs with Norse has always been a natural thing as we grew up with skateboarding and doing graffiti and met so many creative people though that, that now both works within fashion and art…

Whats the Norse design philosophy?

I think that we are very rooted in the Scandinavian mindset. Scandinavian society developed a strong and integrative social democracy in the 50s which combined with the emergence of the modern movement & minimalism has had a heavy influence on Scandinavian society and designers from architects, furniture designers and also clothing..the fact that design should be functional,  beautiful AND also accessible to the greater part of society, not just the elite. We try to integrate bits and pieces of the culture that inspires us, but through our "filter" so that it all fits within the context of our aesthetic, and feels relevant to our time. We are also all really passionate about each product, which means there can be loud discussions at times but thats all part of the inception process and only adds to the fun! On a practical level, we are basically trying to make things that we would enjoy wearing ourselves, and working from a Scandinavian design aesthetic, but with an international outlook and a view to diverse cultures.

Are there any trends your excited by?

Right now i think the world is going through a shift in consciousness, and some sort of collective awareness is emerging..We think its exiting that the whole world can communicate almost seamlessly through the net and that there are people on the other side of the globe taking part in a dialogue about common issues. Hopefully this awareness with result in some form of higher awareness and change in behavior. but were not sure yet, and the verdict is still out.

What's next for Norse?

Hopefully we can continue doing what we like, we really are enjoying ourselves, although its also a lot of work. Also we would like to do some projects outside of clothing ..perhaps in the fields of self -propelled transport..but lets see!

I just found out that In 2009 Oprah Winfrey did a series of interviews portraying the people of Denmark as the happiest in the world. We have been to Denmark many times and we have always been touched by just how decent everybody is. Can you explain to the rest of the world what makes the danes so great?

The danes are just conflict -averse, (except when they drink ) haha! No, but there is perhaps some truth to this.. i think its also a big part of Scandinavian culture to be naturally polite, as the country is so small, that you practically will know almost everyone, or meet people again..so its almost like living in a small village - although once you stay here that sensation perhaps wears off a bit once you experience normal things such as peoples behaviour in traffic haha, i think we are some of the most obnoxious and impatient drivers this includes both cyclists and people in their cars but i guess thats perhaps universal?....personally i think  the English are "terribly" polite, and always enjoy visiting the UK, so I guess its also a matter of experiencing it from another perspective.

 

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Preview of WoodWood SS11 Runway show Copenhagen Fashion Week. 

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Hows the reaction been to the new collection?

The reaction has been fantastic both to the mens , but especially the women's.

We saw you in Copenhagen meeting Liam Gallagher, how was that?

I know Liam from a few years back . Liam is really into Wood Wood, and always comes to our store here in copenhagen if he has a gig.

Can you tell us what the inspirations for the recent SS11 collection?

We just wanted to make a fresh, crispy summerish collection that made people happy. Its a very light and posetive collection

We recently heard you had been working with Kim Jones? Can you tell us how that was and how it came about?

Kim and I have always talked about making something together, for 10 years or so,  so to begin with he helped us style our AW10 show, and now we are working on some other things but i can´t tell you more, :-) 

From our perspective you were one of the first labels to take streetwear in a new direction away from strictly print tees and hoodies, how do you feel things have changed since your inception? 

Things changed as we grew as a brand and we realized that if we wanted to stay alive we needed to kill some darlings, like the all over printed hoodies. To begin with we didnt realize what we were doing, i went to London and met people like Russel Waterman from Silas and Mickael Kopelman from Gimme 5 around 2002 and felt a strong force in them and their scene,  at the same time i was friends with Bernard Willhelm as i knew him while he was still in Antwerp and i was very inspired from what he was doing, so when we made Wood Wood it became natural to tie those different styles and attitudes together as a complete look. Now alot of people are doing more or less the same stuff, so i really belive that there has to be a story within the brand that makes it stand out, and i dont mean just a seasonal story but there needs to be a strong DNA to get my attention.

You've done a lot of collaborations, care to call out a favorite? and why?

Im still very happy about our Nike Lunarwood shoe. We get a lot of creds for it, and i also like our ZX8000 we did for Adidas very much. 

What is the Wood Wood design philosophy?

We try to make clothes that reflects our selves and our crowd. Its a mix between what is really casual and normal added with the trends that we are part of and what makes it feel right. We also like to surprise our buyers, so there is an element of rebellion as well- probably comes from our wild past ;-)

Who are your design heroes?

I like people like Junya Watanabe a lot because he is able to move things forward and still wearable. 

Are there any trends your excited by?

Not really. 

What is next for Wood Wood?

We want to grow, it seems like there is potential to do so im exited to be part of what will happen within the next 2-3 years

I just found out that In 2009 Oprah Winfrey did a series of interviews portraying the people of Denmark as the happiest in the world. We have been to Denmark many times and we have always been touched by just how decent everybody is. Can you explain to the rest of the world what makes the danes so great?

I saw the Oprah show and it sucked. We have the same problems here as in everywhere else.