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Style, innovation & equality

A journey back in time

Ulrik Pedersen lives his dream. We meet hyped Sunflower’s founder who, after showing the brand’s SS20 collection at Copenhagen Fashion Week, states that — after all — the most important thing on the journey is to have fun. — I want to wake up every morning knowing that I do good for the soul of my brand, he says.

Words: Olivia Palmqvist Photography: Lucas Frisk Bergqvist

Ulrik Pedersen started Sunflower after more than 20 years in the fashion industry. A long journey, with ten of the years as co-founder of successful brand NN07. The commercial and the creative battle had been on his mind for a long time, but deep inside he knew what he always had wanted to do.

— I want to focus on the soul of the product, the design and create good stuff.

In 2016 he made a decision.

— Either I quit after ten years, or do this for the rest of my life.

The choice was easy.

— I decided to sell my shares and took a step down, and that, was the very birth of Sunflower.

— I always had a dream to start something new where I make the decisions. I want do it my way. Some people wants to be big and commercial, but I want to be independent. That is a way to focus on what is important, and the important direction for me is the design and the production. I want to wake up happy every morning knowing that I do good for the soul of my brand.

It was time for a new beginning. Ulrik started collecting the best and most skilled people in the industry to create the strongest team for the Copenhagen-based brand. Sunflower was founded in 2018 and at Copenhagen Fashion Week this week, they show their third collection.

What do you think of Copenhagen Fashion Week and its influence in Scandinavia?

— Copenhagen Fashion Week is extremely important for Sunflower since it’s a Danish brand, says Pedersen. It is a quite local Fashion Week in a way, but very strong when it comes to fairs and trade shows. Especially now in August, since the weather is good and the city has a lot of visitors. One catch is for menswear brands who shows in Copenhagen, it’s very late in the industry, because all the buyers go to Paris in June. Personally I like Copenhagen Fashion Week and will continue to show here since we’re a Danish brand, and proud of it.

And Copenhagen Fashion Week has grew bigger with the years and are getting more spotlight now than ever before.

— Yes, and I think there’s a reason for it. The Danish womenswear brands are performing very well which brings curiosity for the press. The fashion weeks are always depending on how many successful brands showcasing in the city. My theory is that if you get the top of the brands in the pyramid, the others will follow. This is also how we work on Sunflower, we do always aim for the top in all aspects from our team to manufacturers, and so on.

Stockholm Fashion Week turned down this year, how do you think that will evolve in the Scandinavian fashion industry?

— It is a shame for Stockholm, but as I have mentioned; when the top leaves the others will follow. If the top Swedish brands choose to show in other cities, it becomes less interesting. Also from an international perspective we have to understand that there are a multiple Fashion Weeks for traveling buyers, and they won’t go somewhere if they don’t need to. I do hope that the Copenhagen-based brands will look to Stockholm and understand what happens if we’re not working together as a team.

What was your inspiration for the SS20 collection?

— The soul of Sunflower is that we want to go back to more traditional stuff. You know, when you are well-dressed but in a contemporary way. Our inspiration is from a time-traveling journey back to the 80s. People dressed in neon-colors, washed jeans and combined it with something well-dressed as a pinstriped suit-jacket. These elements are important for us. We want to bring the well-dressed 80s look back to the modern essence for men in our century, says Pedersen, continuing,

— For this collection we have a very exciting collaboration with Buttero. It is the best shoe manufacturer in Italy, only working with the leading brands in the fashion industry. We’re happy to be working with them for our cowboy boots in neon-colors.

What has been your focus regarding fabrics, textiles, or techniques this time?

— We are very selective in choosing fabrics, it takes a lot of time. The SS20 collection includes nice linen coats, shiny materials in the suiting, viscose shirts, leathers, and jeans. There are more technical parts in the fabrics and the silhouettes are very well made.

What are your plans for the future?

— The plan is to have fun, because that is when we do good. A rule for us is to not make many new plans because we want to find space for creativity and good ideas. Of course, we do look forward to open up our own store one day, and that is a part of the plan. But most important — having fun on the journey.