Won Hundred is a Danish brand that caters to both sexes with a range of simplistic but exquisitely produced shoes, denim, tops, and most other clothes that you could think of really. I personally first discovered Won Hundred when my girlfriend forgot to get me something for my birthday and gave me some money to find something for myself (cop out) and luckily I stumbled across one of their racks at some store in London and bought up everything I could afford. We had a chat with the brand’s founder Nikolaj Nielsen to see what-a-gwan (sorry).
You worked at Diesel before founding Won Hundred, is that where your love of denim started?
No not precisely, it started when I was 15 years old and started working in a jeans shop, where the brand Levis was the foundation of the whole shop. That was when my passion began.
With a past in denim was that something that you wanted to specifically focus on when you started the brand, or was everything of equal importance?
I definitely wanted to do denim from the beginning, then afterwards the idea of uniting the denim with a collection came, like some of the brands I have worked with had done it. It’s definitely a challenge to do a whole collection, which again has to be branded correctly, as I like it.
When you started was it with friends from the fashion world or did you bring in other designers whose work you liked? And how does the designing process work for you now?
When I started the brand I hooked up with a designer, whom I had known from my hometown, and who had just finished her education from a Danish design school & we both thought it was a great idea as I liked her design. The design process is still the same as when we started out; I develop all new jeans and washes, and even though we have got a new designer for the collection – Kelly Konings from the Netherlands – I’m still all over the design process. But it’s clearly teamwork between everybody in the company from the design to the stock.
Your collections always maintain a sense of classic style but draw in other influences from different movements of fashion, which eras inspire you personally?
Traveling, art and music are very much my inspiration sources. Everything can suddenly turn into a fantastic piece of garment. But also different designers have been inspiring me, especially Helmut Lang was a huge source of inspiration when I started out.
The also collections seem to mix aspects from street-wear and an almost heritage vibe, which of those disciplines have you come from?
I always believe that a brand should be moving in the direction where the fashion is moving, but as a brand you have to interpret it in your own way so it harmonises with your brand and expresses what you’re going for. I can go to Roskilde festival and wear my baggy shorts, but the next week I’ll be wearing my heritage jacket and some neat jeans, because I’m in the mood for it, and I think many people think that way, that’s the way we as a brand also have to be; versatile.
That’s true, I’ve noticed quite a few brands doing the same sort of thing. Which brands do you personally respect and feel have influenced your own style as well as Won Hundred’s collections?
I respect many brands, because I know how hard everybody is working – especially at the moment. But a brand like FOLK, they are some great guys who do it really well and do not compromise their style or qualities. There is also a Danish designer Stine Goya, who has continually worked hard for what she believes in, and does not, under any circumstances, compromise. Great respect for that! Martin Margiela has also been an inspiration source, that can’t be denied. Unfortunately he stopped recently and I’m quite excited to hear what’s going to happen with him.
Your image-books are stunning, are there any photographers who you have been especially pleased with? And are there any who you hope to work with in the future?
Thank you. We’ve always worked with different photographers, but within our own framework. But we always listen to others opinions, which is important as a brand if you want to move and renew yourself. The latest photographer we have used is Jonas Bie, he’s an amazing photographer and has just shot our S/S11 imagebook.
Where do you stand on the future of the brand? Is there anything you’d like to achieve or is there anything in particular that you’re looking forward to?
Everything is dreaming, but you need to have dreams during your whole life. A big dream would be to have a Won hundred shop in London, but the biggest dream of all is definitely to become a brand that’s known and respected all over Europe.