FOR THE AMERICAN AUDIENCE, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO CURRENTLY?
I look at my company, Storm, as a creative platform where I collect and find things that are relevant. What I’m creating is my take on what I see, what I collect, and how I find what’s in the moment. But it’s not only this moment; it’s what’s next. I’m not afraid of going in new directions.
HOW DO YOU CULTIVATE THE SKILLS FOR FINDING WHAT'S NEXT?
I see, I watch, and I listen to the world. I use my antennas. Since day one of Storm, which is almost 21 years ago, I’ve spent my income on travel: travelling to meet people, travelling to make stuff happen.
YOU WERE ALWAYS INTERESTED IN FASHION?
Since I was a young teenager I knew exactly what type of clothes I wanted. I had a very strong opinion about what would I wear, what would it look like, what color should it be, what combinations look good. To me fashion was never about status, it was for myself. IT WAS ABOUT EXPRESSION... If you belong to a certain culture, you would listen to specific music, go to a concert; for you and your friends. Clothing had that feeling. What I don’t like about the fashion industry is the flashy part; people who use stuff to make themselves powerful. I never liked that phenomenon. I think it should make people happy or proud or confident.
IN RECENT YEARS THE SCANDINAVIAN INFLUENCE IN FASHION HAS BEEN HUGE, PARTICULARLY IN MENSWEAR. WHAT ABOUT THE SCANDINAVIAN AESTHETIC APPEALS RIGHT NOW?
For me it’s hard to say because I live in the middle of it. I was part of the very early states of that movement. Before we had any fashion brands at all. We had local brands. When it comes to Copenhagen fashion, people would only laugh about what was going on. I’ve seen everything from the beginning. I think the strengths come from our mentality; we are very personable and open-minded here. We have a very clean aesthetic, which more or less all leads back to the culture we come from being influenced by art, graphics, and architecture. The world always needs something new. When I started out the big thing was in Antwerp. You had the school in Antwerp and the Antwerp six [a group of designers including Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester.] These guys packed their stuff into a small van, drove to London Fashion Week, and made a breakthrough because the industry needed something fresh. They made it possible for the next guys, like Raf [Simons], to break into the international fashion scene and people were like “Oh, man, that’s a shift.”
WITH SO MANY INFLUENCES IN YOUR WORK, WHERE DID THE ROOTS OF THE HALO COLECTION WITH NEWLINE BEGIN?
It all started out with my design partner Malkit [Singh] and I going to Aalborg in the North of Denmark. It’s very calm countryside. We went there to hook up with Newline to discuss what we could create. We like the values they represent and they have a great story. For me personally, and I think for Malkit as well, it’s something that leads all the way back to my military service. They were supplying the soldiers with running gear. Malkit has a background in sports; he’s been playing basketball for years. I go to the gym. We were both into that in-between thing. You go to the gym, but you would also wear the clothing in the street. We went back to Aalborg and met with this guy who worked with the Special Forces. We went to where they train and where they parachute. It was very inspiring. They know their equipment. They know what works. They are on a mission.
YOU'VE GOT SO MUCH INSIGHT ON DESIGN AND FASHION, WHAT ADVICE TO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE STARTING OUT?
Be strong—and find a big stack of money. To be in business, to place yourself among the other guys, you need power, you need to believe in yourself, and you need something original. When I look at all these young guys, they make the same stuff. I don’t look down on these guys, but what you call original I’ve seen not only a couple times, but hundreds of times. To be in the scene you need to be strong. You need to be a fighter. It’s a long pull. The image we have now, to get global recognition, took us more than 20 years. It has been up and down. The toughest part of being in fashion is to be consistent. You always move forward. Of course there are a lot of cool guys out there. You see more and more young brands popping. We’re in a period that if you’re good, and if you’re original, you can actually make it. There’s a gap right now in the market between the big players and the fashion houses.