The fashion industry is changing these years, and is doing so fast. In the midst of it, new Danish menswear brand Sunflower is slowly evolving itself to offer a concrete counterexample to an industry driven by newness, hype, and conspicuous consumption. The brand recently premiered its refreshing take on menswear wardrobe during the Copenhagen Fashion Week, so we sat down with the brand’s CEO, Ulrik Pedersen (previously at NN07) about resisting a fast fashion culture, prioritizing quality over quantity, and the future of the project.
What is Sunflower – and how did the project come about?
Sunflower is a newly launched menswear brand, which already now is ready with its second collection. It’s a menswear brand with international ambitions; with Sunflower, we would like to work with only the top of the pyramid. Best quality, best retail, best everything. This is the philosophy behind every decision made in the making of Sunflower.
You came from the very successful NN07 and have partnered with Bengt Thornefors (owner of Magniberg and formerly situated at Saint Laurent), formerly at Acne Studios and Kostas Murkudis. Your shared experience speaks to a broad range in the menswear market – how have your skills fused for Sunflower?
I have more than 20 years of experience with design and production, which in my opinion, is the most important components in the making of a fashion brand together with concept and brand. Sunflower is extremely loyal to quality, it is the general component in every stage of production and marketing. Therefore, I am working with the best manufacturers in Europe in regards of fabrics and sewing.
Where will Sunflower be positioned in the market? Who is your ideal customer?
In regards of Denmark, our aim is not to get as many customers as possible, but to get the best possible. That may only be five or six, maybe seven. Our aim is worldwide, and we don’t plan on realizing it nice and quietly. We are going after the best retailers worldwide, no less, for otherwise we wouldn’t be true to our concept. Having that said, we also want a more contemporary character, but without compromising the quality. It [the design] should still last, but in the same time appeal to whatever is going on now. Something classic, like TOTOKAELO or MR PORTER.
How have you felt the menswear market change in the last decade – in and outside of Scandinavia?
Today when something is ’hyped’ it’s the same thing in different places at the same time.10 years ago, something would be hyped one place and it was different from anything else. The same thing was never hyped at the same time in both Tokyo and New York or Copenhagen for that matter. This change, I believe was brought into the market together with e-trade and social media. With those fashion has become very rapid, everything happens so fast and success comes and go in the blink of an eye. We would like to be the counterpart to fast fashion.
Today, success is easily earned and lost. The trick isn’t to get it but to make it last. We believe that we have created a concept that can make it last.
You have an emphasis on long-lasting fashion, resisting seasonal change. Where did this frustration start? How will this translate into your production line?
To me, the most contemporary mentality is that when you create a design, you create one that people want to use for a long period of time. Essential items, not very complicated really. Maybe the thingthat complicates it, is the change social media has brought into the market, as I spoke of before. That change of pace is what started my frustration, I believe, so it was a working process. We translate it into the production line, by not compromising our values. We use a great amount of time on finding the right people and the right material. I think, our success criteria would be to make a white shirt interesting to the customer, just because it was so delicate. So, we may use a lot of time on one very good shirt, instead of using the same amount of time on ten different shirts. In that way, we differ from the market that is now: our collections are significantly smaller, but (in our opinion) that much better.
Where would you like to bring Sunflower in the coming five years?
We would like to bring it into the global market, in fact, we are already well on our way with both Japan and the US. Also, it is no secret that the most authentic experience of Sunflower, is derived in a physical store, but our web shop will be launched in February, so one step closer in what is a long-term project we are excited to have begun.
Words by Mathilde Nielsen
For more information, see Sunflower