The first time I saw Hofmann Copenhagen clothes was at a press day for Agency V in Copenhagen. Creative Director Freya and I were pawing through racks of Danish designers, pulling pieces and holding them against our bodies, because our jobs are very emotionally draining.
A horizontally striped tweed-look skirt suit with blues, mint green and interwoven gold metallic sat on the end of a rack; it was like seeing a peacock amongst a flock of ravens. Ravens are beautiful, no doubt (and did you know a group of them is called an Unkindness? And that they can imitate sounds like parrots and are also highly intelligent? Ravens, man). But while they’re all monochrome and sleek, sometimes you just need the drama of a brighter feather.
Launched in 2011 by designer Heidi Hofmann, Hofmann Copenhagen is the non-Scandi Scandinavian brand we’ve been waiting for. Though she studied design in Denmark, Hofmann honed her skills in France. She first worked at a knitting factory, then found a position as a design assistant at Chloe.
“I actually started the exact same day as [head designer] Phoebe [Philo],” Hofmann explains, “so I was starting at a really exciting time.” When I ask what she was doing on a daily basis, she tells me, “Phoebe would have us bring her inspiration. Then she would lock herself in a room – the designs were completely her. So we’d have a meeting and she’d say, ‘I’m interested in this color, or this kind of art,’ and we’d go out and find images or pieces that fit the bill. I was working with womenswear, accessories and print design, but mostly in styling.”
Though Heidi moved back to Denmark 14 years ago and is now based in Copenhagen, she says that her days in Paris were formative not only in her style but in her understanding of the industry and how to run a business.
But the path to Hofmann Copenhagen wasn’t a straight line from Chloe. She designed at Saint Tropez, By Malene Birger and finally, Day by Birger & Mikkelsen before deciding to launch her own line.
“I come from a family of entrepreneurs,” Heidi says, “so starting my business seemed natural. That doesn’t mean it’s easy.” She laughs, but the number of people coming in and out of the showroom – delivering boxes, having her sign papers and checking in with messages – underscores the point.
Hofmann Copenhagen has just moved its office and showroom to the centre of the city and the space is coming together nicely, including the addition of the showroom for children’s goods webshop Mimi’s Circus on the ground floor.
We begin browsing the clothes. Or, better put, we begin touching every piece of fabric in the showroom. The collections are colourful and elegant, rendered in high-quality materials. “I wanted to create classic pieces at modern price-points,” Heidi says. “It’s important to me that my designs are affordable. For the quality you get, they really are.”
In addition to her French influences, seen in the loose-fit tailoring, Hofmann is greatly inspired by art. Her upcoming collection draws from Mexican architect Luis Barragan and Brazilian artist Lygia Clark. The strong geometric patterns and muted clay tones paired with feminine silhouettes are a fantastic mix of clean Scandinavian-friendly lines and the more intricate detailing that sets Hofmann Copenhagen apart.
These are those unicorn pieces we’re all looking for – professional without looking stiff, interesting without looking garish and well-made without being absurdly expensive.
It’s no wonder that Hofmann Copenhagen has already been successful in what is a notoriously hard business. “We’re in a great place, because we have a lot of options in terms of our next direction. Do we want investors, or more partners or collaborators? We need to weigh our options and decide what’s best for us. When you’re just the designer, you don’t usually get to make these decisions. But I’m the boss and the designer, so it’s all business and it’s all personal,” Heidi says, running a hand over a blazer.
That’s a combination that seems to be working for her, just like the white suit that I’m currently coveting.
Visit the Hofmann Copenhagen Showroom on weekdays between 11am – 6pm
(purchase available on site)
Mikkel Bryggesgade 1
1460 København K
…and just because you needed an excuse to go shopping, there’s a stock & sample sale in the showroom 2-3 June.
See more & visit the Hofmann Copenhagen webshop
You can also purchase the collections in Copenhagen at:
2400 København NV
Sun & Mon Closed
Tues- Fri 12:00 – 18:00
Sat 10:00 – 16:00
1650 København V
Mon – Fri 11:00 – 17:30
Sat 11: 00 – 15:00