You cannot mention recent Danish fashion history without including Sand. The brand, established 30 years ago in Denmark by the husband and wife team Lene and Søren Sand, has since spread to 32 countries on six continents. Sand was founded in Randers initially with womens wear, but later a successful menswear line was added.
Sand is known for well-constructed tailoring with narrow silhouettes and their passion for Italian fabrics is clear in the choice of materials they use.
From the very beginning, Sand has combined international ambitions with a sincere love for quality, which of course is a key factor in the reputation they have built for the brand both at home and abroad. In North America, where Sand is showcased in 180 stores, the brand is displayed next to names such as Paul Smith, Armani, Zegna, Dolce & Gabbana and John Varvatos. Last season, Sand was the third best selling brand at Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdale’s in Dubai – and from this autumn Sand is represented in Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.
The effort to create attention surrounding the brand has really paid off. According to Søren Sand, an Australian buyer expressed that the brand was the “best thing that happened to Australia since Coca-Cola”. In summary, Sand has proved both home and abroad to be an established well-dressed key player that you cannot wear out – literally.
Throughout the years, Lene and Søren Sand have demonstrated strength in creating attention about their brand. Just to mention a few: the band Duran Duran is committed to Sand¸the now late star photographer Helmut Newton shot campaigns for Sand in 2002 and when Sand was a part of the Copenhagen show calendar, they flew in twenty top International models for their show. When Sand participated in the important menswear fashion fair, Pitti Uomo, in Florence for the first time they borrowed the furniture from the Arne Jacobsen 606-suite at Radisson Blue Royal Hotel in Copenhagen and recreated the room as a showroom in Florence.
Where is Danish fashion today?
“In Denmark we have deep roots and traditions in design. The Danes are born with an aesthetic sense, making them uncompromising compared to foreign designers. That being said, a lot of countries have traditions of a big fashion industry, which does not apply for Denmark. For instance, abroad you often have partial own production close by, enabling you to make show pieces in the days leading to a show – that’s not really possible here.”
What is your role in Denmark?
“It is important to us that we stay a part of the Danish fashion scene, but being present in 32 markets, all requiring our attention, it often ends up being a question of priorities. The home market is simply too small to base your business on and if you start a new company in Denmark today, it’s necessary to think globally from day one. In countries like France, England and Italy with 50-60 million inhabitants you can have a much better start, as there are many more potential customers and room for grand gestures.”
Which impact has the economic situation of the last years had on the Danish fashion industry?
“The financial crisis has left its mark, and unfortunately slowed down development. The industry is under pressure, because you need to make profit, while banks and investors are reluctant. The picture has changed from previously being dominated by emotions and intuition, to being driven by business sense, markup and sell-through. It’s a sad development.”
What makes Sand unique?
“Our dedication to the end product is essential for what Sand stands for. We immerse ourselves in all materials, from linings to buttons and it’s vital that the fit is perfect. We think and work globally being present on six continents, and production is primarily in Italy and Portugal. The organization is flat and flexible, so we can easily and quickly maneuver. Design is the backbone of the company, run from our design studio in Italy.”