SØREN JEPSEN: A DANISH CREATIVE ON NORDIC DESIGN AND STYLE
Søren Jepsen is a photographer from Copenhagen who is currently based in Cologne, Germany – but in fact he is constantly on the move all over Europe and beyond. Søren started out ten years ago as a street style photographer and still shoots in the streets for his website The Locals and clients like Vogue, GQ and Elle. Furthermore, he has turned his passion for traveling into the city guide project 12hrs.net. For Bulang and Sons, he answers some questions on Scandinavian design and style – and shares some of his best street style shots from Copenhagen.
As a Danish native who works internationally in the fields of fashion, style and design: What would you say is typical for a certain Scandinavian style ethos?
Design is deeply engrained in Scandinavian culture. It is a big part of everyday life, people prioritize it, often without even articulating that thought. It’s there, and it’s important – but it’s not a big deal. If I had to describe the ethos behind it, I’d mention minimalism, of course. Clear lines, no fuss, utility. There are big differences between designs from the various Scandinavian countries, but they all boil down to honest, no-fuss design for the people.
Do you feel that Scandinavian style and design has an international relevance and influence?
Absolutely! There was of course a famous period of renowned design from Scandinavia in the 60s, and I feel there’s been a resurgence of that over the last few years.
Is today’s Scandinavian style influenced by the past decades of Nordic fashion and design?
Yes, there is always this big heritage to live up to. But I feel that recent Scandinavian designers have found a way to honor that past and make it their own. They are still using many elements that made the Nordic designs so famous – simplicity, understatement and clean lines – but they are also incorporating modern influences from all over the world. The world has become smaller, and I feel Scandinavian design is aware of that.
You’ve been documenting international street styles for ten years now. In what way does the style in Copenhagen differ from the one in, say, Berlin or Paris? And has it changed in any way? What could be said about the men’s style specifically?
People in Copenhagen have always had a very specific style, both women and men. If you look at men’s fashion specifically, the differences are quite stark. Men in Milan are among the best dressed in the world, but their style is very dressed up and serious, think tailored suits and leather shoes, while the cool guys in Paris wear skinny jeans, boots and fitted shirts, or they are seriously into streetwear.
In Copenhagen, everything is more relaxed. Sneakers have always been a huge part of the fashion culture there, even businessmen might wear them at the office. Tattoos are everywhere, not only small ones, but full-on sleeves. You rarely see suits and ties, but rather sleek pants and new t-shirts. Something which has changed recently is that every guy wore a beard a few years ago and I feel that trend is dying out slowly. Nowadays, it’s all about being clean shaven and looking like a boy band member from the 90s.
As a closer, we would like to ask you for a special Copenhagen city tip from you for our readers – what’s the place to be when visiting the Danish capital right now?
My favorite restaurant in Copenhagen is Höst. The name comes from the word ‘harvest’, and the team very much tries to honor that by serving very seasonal and local food. But other than many restaurants that follow this ‘New Nordic’ approach, Höst is actually affordable and really fun. The restaurant has won several awards as the ‘Most Beautiful Restaurant in the World’, and when you step in you’ll rinstantly ealize why. It’s the very definition of Danish design, with amazing service on top.