Kasper Harup-Hansen is a Danish fashion designer, born in 1978. He is one of few designers who exclusively concentrate on designing menswear. After having worked in London and graduated from a Danish design school, he has now attended fashion fairs in Paris, selling his design, and has got a great opportunity in the Japanese market. FÆBRIC got to know him a little better.
Early in is his life, Kasper was fond of paintings and other visual art and begun his creative work at a young age. But it was in high school that he realized fashion design was something that suited him. In 2005, after having graduated from Danmarks designskole (DKDS), he started his brand édito kasper harup-hansen and together with Cecilie Maria Martensen, he opened his first store in April 2009.
During his time in DKDS, Kasper went to London for an internship in a small street wear company called KRONK. After only a week he had gotten just as much responsibility as all of the other designers and his assignment was to breathe new life into the men’s collection, which had been as good as dead for a couple of seasons. Topman spotted this young, talented designer in a showroom in Paris a couple of years ago and asked him if he was interested in making a collection for Topman’s Lens – which he was. He has now designed around 5 collections for Topman.
How many shows have you had in Paris yet?
We haven’t had any catwalk shows yet, but we will soon, hopefully. I have attended about seven fashion fairs where you show your collection for four days and try to build contacts with retailers. Last time I was in Paris I was contacted by an agent who wanted to represent my clothes in Japan, so next time I go to Paris, I will only have to deliver my clothes to the showroom and they will take care of it for me.
Kasper has not only worked as a designer. For a couple of years he has been working as a tutor in design schools and has now been hired at Margrethe-skolen after being recommended by René Gurskov.
How important is it to have good contacts with “important people” in this business?
It is very important. It is very sad to say, but it is crucial to know the right persons at the right time. Talent is trivial if you don’t know the right persons.
Now, you have been working in London and in Copenhagen, and you have also been introduced to the fashion business in Paris; what is the difference between those countries, as regarding to the street fashion and how the design process is put into practice?
In England I think there was much hierarchy. It was obvious who was at the top of the company’s pyramid and who was at the bottom. And it was not the designers who were at the top. I haven’t worked in Paris like I worked in England, but it seems to be the other way around. Here in Copenhagen I have only worked for myself, so I’m of course at the top, says Kasper and laughs.
As many others, Kasper thinks Copenhagen is a city so small, that hardly anything special can take place without being noticed and caught by the public, so it turns mainstream in a short period of time. When he compares the street style in Copenhagen with other cities he has worked in, he thinks Copenhageners show a broader fashion spectrum than e.g. Parisians.
Having your experience, what would you recommend to young students that are about to finish their studies?
I would suggest that young designers find a job somewhere and get some experience, rather than go out there on their own and start their own company. For how long, depends on the company and what responsibilities you get.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Where I see myself? Well. If things go as fast as they have in the past four years, I think it will be really good. We have control over all the basic things now, so I think it will grow bigger each year. I cannot say if I have a shop in ten years, this is only a tryout, but I hope I will be able to do a female collection too.