This week we introduce renowned artist, fashion photographer, and designer Sergei Sviatchenko as our Copenhagen foreign correspondent. Here, Sergei tells us how men in Copenhagen are dressing and the seven best Danish designers to follow. Check back next week for Sergei's guided tour of Copenhagen made specially for Details.com, as well as the exclusive debut of his next fashion video collaboration.
A practicing artist and architect for over 40 years, Sergei Sviatchenko got into fashion almost by accident. After establishing himself as one of the most influential innovators of modern collage, he began Close Up and Private in 2009, a fashion-forward photography project in response to the growing number of menswear blogs—think of it as a paper-based Tumblr of casual, tongue-in-cheek photo shoots intentionally abstracted to question the omnipresent "what to wear" mantra. "I wanted to create an alternative aesthetic in fashion photography: Timeless, calm, meditative, suggestive—not pushing or dictating," says Sergei.
In the past three years, Sergei has collaborated on issues with fashion house Costume National (video above), and worked as a stylist and photographer for Gant Rugger and Levi's Vintage. Close Up and Private has been hailed as "singlehandedly revolutionizing menswear imagery" (Beyond Fabric) and "a completely radical take on menswear photography," citing the "brilliant styling, the lack of credits [and the] lack of concern for branding." (Garmsville)
In November 2012, the Berlin-based art publisher Gestalten released a beautiful, two-volume compendium of his painting and collage work titled Everything Goes Right & Left If You Want It (pictured above along with one of the collages from the book), and during Copenhagen Fashion Week this past February Sergei released his latest Close Up and Private collaboration with Premium by Jack & Jones (a brand similar to TopMan, but available only in Europe). Called the "Rock Rebel Classic and Contemporary Kit," it aims to subvert standard notions of the "rocker" look with a cheeky kit for dressing in the style of a British Invasion rocker from the mid-sixties.
Though Sergei lives and works primarily in Viborg, Denmark, he makes the four-hour commute to Copenhagen every month, where he keeps a studio (and visits his daughter). "Danes are very good at adapting foreign styles," he says, "especially American streetwear and the preppy look (Gant Rugger is very popular). We like to mix things up by taking inspiration from different styles and time periods. More and more, young people are trying to express themselves through their clothes.
"The Danish fashion designers make their clothes wearable—very simple and comfortable (too comfortable in my opinion)." Here are Sergei's seven favorite Danish menswear brands.
Mads Nø:rgaard: A menswear institution where jersey stripes abound and there are sizes for tall men, too.
Henrik Vibskov: If conceptual art were clothing, this would be the line.
Norse Projects: Great to wear in every season, with some refreshing collaborations.
Wood Wood: Understated, good quality, and comfortable shapes.
Libertine-Libertine: A different take on classic pieces.
Peter Jensen: Playful and humorous unisex fashion.
Han Kjø:benhavn: A very Danish aesthetic—understated with an attention to details.
The Inoue Brothers: A line of fine Alpaca and Vicuña knitwear with a more humane and sustainable manufacturing process. (Pictured above, a cardigan from their collaboration with Monocle).