This post is brought to you by Effen Vodka. There's a lot of great fashion coming out of Scandinavia these days, but one of the labels I was most excited to see up close and personal over Copenhagen fashion week was Won Hundred. The label, which launched in 2004, was just nominated for Danish designer of the year by the Dansk Fashion Awards. I wouldn't be surprised if they took home the win--the line defines Danish style in the best way: simple and practical but never boring, well-constructed, well-fitting basics for men and women. Think A.P.C. but less precious. It's the kind of label where you always want everything they put out.
So we asked creative director and denim vet Nikolaj Nielsen how the line came about, what Danish style is all about, and how on earth he came up with the name "Won Hundred."
1. How would you describe Won Hundred? What's the aesthetic? What kind of girl do you envision wearing the label? We want to design for a young woman who knows what she wants when she wants it--a girl who is creative and focused on putting personality into her outfit. For the AW11 collection we focused on details like zippers and straps that give the clothes a personal touch. Other essential elements in our design process are a love of fine materials as well as inspiration from art, people, music and nature. A Won Hundred person is someone who dresses in clean minimalist basics but never in a boring way and always with a quirky twist. Combine this with comfort, functionality and great quality and you have our boy/girl!
2. Where does the name come from? It was literally a mistake! A mistake we are happy about today. It was meant to be called Won 100, but when I registered the name it got mixed up and turned out as Won Hundred. I thought it sounded better and graphically it works!
3. What's your background? I kind of grew up with denim. I worked with Diesel and Miss Sixty for many years before I founded Won Hundred.
4. When did Won Hundred come to be? Did you always want to launch your own line? I always had a dream to start up my own clothing line from working closely with denim for many years. After gaining experience, the idea to launch my own collection became more realistic. In 2004 I founded the company.
5. I was in Copenhagen recently for Copenhagen fashion week and was struck by the fantastic street style. How would you describe Danish street style? What inspires it? Well Denmark is known for architecture and design which has always been defined as simple, clean, and innovative. Every child is dragged to museums and old castles either by parents or teachers in school. So from a very young age we are taught to have an opinion about what we like and dislike. Most Danes have a very tolerant approach to different cultures and therefore the way we dress. So because Denmark is quite a small country, I think young people search for inspiration from other cultures. So it usually ends up a mix of Scandinavian style with inspiration from abroad. I think personality is the main ingredient to achieve fantastic street style and as long as the people around you give you latitude, it can’t fail.
6. The label seems to be gaining a lot of traction. How are things going? What's next for the label? Where would you like to see it go? First, I want to open a store for both women and men in Copenhagen, as the women’s store in Illum [a popular department store] has been a truly positive experience so far. Beyond that, I see a lot of potential for expanding in US, a market that is still new to us. The response has been quite good so far. Let’s see what happens…
7. The label is rooted in a strong denim collection -- how do you make the perfect pair of jeans? Why are jeans so important to you? Jeans have existed for several centuries and it seems almost every person in the whole world has owned a pair at some point. For many it’s an essential piece in their wardrobe, ‘cause you can dress it up and down as you wish. For me, the fit and the wash is the most important part in making the perfect pair. We have three different fits for women, so everyone can find a pair that works. Then it’s up to the individual to choose if they want the classic blue, black, coated with zippers etc.
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