Jannik Davidsen & Tim Hancock
April 29 2015
First conceived in 2008 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Han Kjøbenhavn initially started as a sunglass line. After immediate success, lifelong friends Tim Hancock and Jannik Davidsen quickly expanded their brand and launched their first apparel line in 2009. Aimed at men, the line follows the designers’ Danish ideology, simple but innovative pieces with a clean Scandinavian aesthetic. Almost as popular as the collections themselves, are the seasonal videos the team conceives to showcase them. Short, offbeat, and effective, the videos alone have gained Han Kjøbenhavn some much-deserved attention, defining the brand as anything but conventional.
Again building on their formula of classic design and quality craftsmanship, in 2012 Han Kjøbenhavn opened a store in Cophenhagen, followed recently by a second location in SoHo, New York City. With a strong following already, the retail spaces have proven to be popular and continued to grow Han Kjøbenhavn’s position as a standout in contemporary design. We caught up with the guys behind the brand to learn more about the history of their concept and how they see its future.
Where does each season start for you guys?
We do not have a specific procedure for how we start each season. We try to find a story we would like to tell and then we execute through the collection. Whatever the story, the collection is always something that we would wear ourselves and our Danish aesthetic is always the foundation.
Being a small company, how do you produce such high quality seasonal films and why was it part of how you started building your brand?
We have a bit of background within filmmaking so we do a lot of the work ourselves. We write the stories and find the cast, sometimes we also do the directing. The movies are a way of showing the personality behind the clothes and a way to tell a bigger story, which for us is as important as the clothes themselves. We always try to tell an honest story in whatever we do. When creating the films, we always use real people living real lives that we can build stories around instead of forcing actors or models into our universe.
Where do the ideas for the films come from?
The movies are a reflection of our state of mind in that given moment.
How does living in Copenhagen influence what you’ve created?
We have a great design heritage in Copenhagen, where we were both born and raised.
It is a very beautiful city where the classic meets the modern; that is something that is very much represented in our work.
What other outside forces influence what you are doing?
Danish functionality and quality
Why did you start with sunglasses and was there always a plan to develop a full collection?
It was a coincidence that we started with eyewear, but since we wanted to create high quality products at an affordable price, the frames were a really good starting point. Eyewear is such a delicate thing and has a lot of strong references to architecture, it gave us the chance to make a strong brand profile around the frames.
What are some new markets you’re expanding to and why?
Ever since we started, the biggest export markets have been the USA and Japan. In Europe we are growing, we are also seeing a growth in France and the UK, the main reason must be because of our branding and quality.
What does a normal day look like for you guys?
There is no such thing as normal…
What was it like opening the store in NYC?
The opening of our second store was a lot of hard work, but we knew that is was the right thing to do since we already had a big demand in the market for wholesale. We wanted to bring a piece of Denmark to NYC and kept the look of the store very Danish.
Where are you looking to open your next store?
Paris and Tokyo.
Is there a master plan for Han?
We aim to have four stores in major cities and to grow our wholesale with key accounts around the world In 2015.
If we visit CPH this summer, what are some things we should do?
Drop by our shop of course. Copenhagen is very happening in terms of design, architecture, and food so these are things you should look for.
What’s the best meal in CPH right now?
What would you like people to know about you?
We are working hard to open our third shop this year. We looked a bit in Tokyo and Paris, but we’re not quite there yet. It’s always a long process to open in a new market, but it’s going to happen. We have a few interesting collaborations this year where we have chosen to work at the intersection of industries, which is always a fun challenge. We have created a bottle design in collaboration with Carlsberg brewing company which hit the streets here in spring 2014. In addition to this, we are making a chair with Fritz Hansen.