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”It’s not designed, it’s produced”

Sigurd Bank, founder and designer of Danish menswear brand Mfpen, explains why he doesn’t do fashion, how he aims to only work with recycled materials, and why there should only be one ”Scandinavian Fashion Week”.

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Words Olivia Palmqvist Photography Luca Frisk Bergqvist

Sigurd Bank had been working with clothing since he was a teenager. Back then he got paid with spray cans, but somehow, as he put it, he ended up being in the fashion business.

— I studied production and sourcing, which was quite unsexy. But I think it is the nicest way to be able to make clothing, to know how to do it instead of designing them. I think that can be seen in my aesthetics— it’s not designed, it’s produced. After his studies, he worked for a few brands. But he had an idea to create a pair of baggy trousers with cropped length, something that was not seen on the streets of Scandinavia. He produced one pair, which became two, and then more. Suddenly he had his own brand, which became Mfpen.

— It came naturally, it’s like asking a musician why they play music, it’s just what you do. Besides the passion for production, he had a strive in tailoring and fit. At that time, he explains, it was hard to find a good loose fit. Bank bought three sizes bigger to get the style and silhouette he wanted to wear.

— I was a little hip-hoper when I was a kid, I've always aimed for comfort. That's something I bring into my own design by making a loose fit, but in your right size. Never oversized, only loose and comfortable.

How has these years been with Mfpen and how has the brand developed by time?

— I get more and more into the classical menswear. The beige coats, trousers with pleats. Maybe it’s because I get older, but hopefully it’s because it’s the direction of fashion. Still, there has always been a touch of tailoring in my design.

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

— I don’t like the general idea and concept of people traveling all over the world for fashion. It’s stupid. Personally, I like Paris Fashion Week since I do 99% of my business there. Everyone gathers there and do it for only one week, which is cool. I want the Scandinavians to do the same, in only one Scandinavian Fashion Week. To centralise it. It would create a Scandinavian bond.

Stockholm Fashion Week is canceled, how do you think that will evolve the Scandinavian fashion industry?

— There’s already too many fashion weeks and honestly, it is always about the survival of the fittest. I think Copenhagen is the strongest in the Nordics now, maybe it could be called Scandinavian Fashion Week.

What was your inspiration for the collection?

— Normally it’s a song or a sentence, something that’s generating a feeling. One song once was Scott Walkers ”Copenhagen”. This collection comes from the feeling of being in between two seasons, especially the transition from winter to spring in Scandinavia. I guess this non-season period exists everywhere in in the world in different ways. The feeling of freshness and bloom, it’s kind of romantic somehow. I transformed this emotion into the collection in some direct forms as the lavender color and lace fabric that comes from the feeling of flowers blossom.

Do you have any focus in fabrics, textiles or techniques for this collection?

— I have Italian hand knits in heavy and recycled cotton with a special dry texture, linen coats and of course, a strong focus on the fabrics for the shirts. The shirting fabric is the top of the line. I like the look of a boring shirt, but the fabric has to be the very top. It is mostly Italian, and from the best factories in Portugal. Another focus is our choice of fabrics, we use a lot of deadstock fabrics and recycled fibers. Why make new fabrics when there’s already excisting ones?

What are your plans for the future?

— We are working towards a sustainable production by 2020/2021. I want our production to be without any virgin resources. All fibers will be recycled, fabrics will come from deadstocks and we want to use bi-products from other productions. It will be a big challenge. I look forward to it, because in the end, production is what I love to do. I want my customers to buy because they like the design and I want to be responsible for the sustainable production. We have to stop using already existing resources. That is the future — for all of us.