24 Hours With… mfpen
For years now, the fashion industry has had its eye trained on both the sleek simplicity of Scandinavian aesthetics, and their pioneering point of view on conscious design. Mfpen is one such brand, a purveyor of timeless menswear classics constructed using a blend of deadstock fabrics and new materials. Starting his career as a fashion buyer, designer and founder Sigurd Bank was inspired to make the jump into design, growing his business from a small local studio to the spacious office he now runs in Copenhagen’s city centre. We joined Sigurd for a day of crisp sunshine, Danish design classics, and lots of cycling…
“First sunshine of the day.”
“My breakfast, skyr (an Icelandic dairy product quite common in Denmark), with fruits, nuts, honey and muesli.”
“Getting my daughter to the nursery on my bike.”
What time do you wake up and where?
In my bed next to my girlfriend and our daughter. We don’t have much space, so she’s been sleeping in the bed with us since she was born.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Put on music. First thing, every day. Then I start making breakfast.
Where are you usually based?
Copenhagen. Nørrebro, where I live, or my office in the city centre.
What does your average day look like?
After I deliver my daughter to nursery, I bike to our office in the city. I spend my day there with occasional meetings around town or at the office. We always have lunch together as a team. At the moment we are working on the production for AW22, and finishing all sampling for SS23 at the same time, which means everything is quite hectic at the moment.
Where is your studio located and how do you get there?
It’s in the heart of the city centre. Located with a view over the famous Storkespringvandet, it’s as central as it can be. We took over this place almost a year ago, moving from our small studio in Nørrebro where we used to rent an area of artist Simon Starling’s studio. Now we’ve moved to this massive space, and we’re so happy with it. It has room for our office, our studio and the mfpen apartment shop. Like most Copenhagen residents, I bike everywhere all year round. I love biking from Nørrebro to the city in the morning, especially now during spring with the fresh cold air and morning sunshine.
“Rush hour traffic in Copenhagen.”
“I tend to be the first one in the office in the morning.”
“We have our office and studio a stone’s throw from Christiansborg, the Danish parliament, and the inner city canals. In the summer we sometimes go swimming during our lunch break or after work.”
How would you describe what you do?
Clothing made with thoughtful decisions in terms of both design and our manufacturing.
How has your background influenced who you are today?
I have always been a lot more into things outside fashion, which for me is important if you want to create something with depth to it.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I started working in retail as a buyer, and afterwards studied clothing production.
What was the impetus behind starting your label?
After my studies, whilst working as a designer for a few other Danish brands, I discovered the possibilities of utilising deadstock fabrics. This led me to making some products, and eventually starting mfpen.
What are the most important factors for the brand?
Creating useful, well-made products. In my opinion the key factors for this are the fabric and the fit. At the same time, we try to make these products as responsible as possible.
“Our mfpen office. On the wall are cuts of our latest purchases and deadstock fabrics.”
“Samples for the next collection, SS23.”
“The communal office desk.”
How do you get into a creative headspace?
I never decide when to get creative. As for many, ideas are a constant process. It is important for me to have time and headspace - my inbox has to be empty, and no tasks pending. That, and good music.
Whilst working, where do you go and what do you do to take a break?
It is very rare I find time for breaks. It’s only when friends or collaborators pop by the office for a coffee, then I take a break and have a chat. We have a roof terrace connected to the office and, when the weather allows, we sit there and have lunch or hang out.
Do you have a favourite piece from your new collection?
I’m quite happy with the knitwear we did for this Spring / Summer collection, so maybe the House Cardigan made in Portugal with Italian yarn. It’s crafted from a mix of recycled cotton and conventional cotton.
Who would you most like to see wearing it?
Someone who loves wearing it.
“Winding down after work.”
“A print by Adams & E.B Itso in our home.”
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
I’m actually not much of a reader - I mostly read when I travel. The last book I got was Bastian Emil Goldschmidt’s Fremad. He’s a friend and one of our regular models. The book is his debut, and is already a bestseller. It’s about the beauty of cycling.
What do you usually do for dinner?
Lots of vegetables. We mostly cook dinner at home, but I go for dinner at least once a week. There are lots of good restaurants in Copenhagen at the moment.
What time do you go to bed?
Last thing you do before you sleep?
I usually have an hour or so before I go to bed without anything to do, and it’s the only time during the day where I can kick back and relax watching some telly.
What do you dream about?
I’m quite happy with where I am in life. In a literal sense my dreams are very random, and I can’t remember them after I get out of bed.
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