It is a super busy time at Dansk Kids, as we prepare for the launch online 1 October 2014.
We have parcels arriving a couple of times this week and below is a little snapshot of some things that are nearly ready to go!
There is a lot more coming and some will arrive just before we open, but it is a very exciting time and thought we should share it with you.
There is something distinctive and classic about the iconic Danish designs of Georg Jensen and Royal Copenhagen. While I was vaguely aware of these before I left Australia, I had no real appreciation for their grace and beauty until I lived in Denmark. In Strøget, the main shopping thoroughfare that cuts through the old town of Copenhagen, there are two magnificent buildings side by side: the Royal Copenhagen porcelain retail building and Georg Jensen jewellery and homewares. As a tourist to Denmark no visit is complete without shopping in these gorgeous buildings, filling your senses with the intricate blue and white detail of Royal Copenhagen porcelain and for contrast, absorbing the clean lines and pared back simple elegance of Georg Jensen.
Come Christmas time ( Jul in Danish), Royal Copenhagen’s decorations are divine. The interior of the building is decorated to the n th degree, and in particular dining tables are laid with various Christmas themes. It is a real treat to wander around and see such an array of crockery and cutlery as it winks and sparkles at you. There are traditional settings and more contemporary designs. You can walk through from the Royal Copenhagen building adjacent to Georg Jensen. This place has the most dazzling display of jewellery, cutlery, homeware items, and my favourite spot downstairs, the gallery. There are an inspiring display of antique Georg Jensen pieces can be found. From memory these items were not for sale, but many of the beautiful Georg Jensen items upstairs more than made up for this.
I have a Georg Jensen bottle opener that gracefully rests in your palm. That might seem an excessive description for a bottle opener- but that’s what grabbed me about Georg Jensen: simple, useful, beautiful. Leaf shaped serving bowls that come in a variety of sizes and a polished stainless steel Flora vase that is exquisite from every angle. I love my salad servers from Georg Jensen that are so light to the touch, and my tealight candle holders that are styled in the shape of a rising flame. Such impeccable design, grace and beauty into everyday items for the home. We would visit our Danish friends and each home contained some Royal Copenhagen or Georg Jensen in daily use, particularly the duck shaped coffee pouring pot. Perhaps it’s the prevalence of grey dreary weather that’s prompted Danish design to embody such warmth light and energy such that it burns all year round and can be used every day. That's what we love about our Dansk Kids clothes!
So this past week has been spent delicately capturing images of the gorgeous clothes we will have for sale in October. There are still many more beautiful garments to arrive in Oz, but until they do, we thought we would share a couple of shots of the Fannymia Autumn Winter 2014-2015 range for 0-6 year olds.
These clothes encapsulate best what Dansk Kids is all about: colour, fun, fresh kids clothes that allow little ones to move, grow and just be. The Belle Trøje, or the pink cardigan as we are calling it, is such a comfortable top for girls. It can go over a long or short sleeve top for Autumn or under a coat for Winter. It is made from a cotton fleece, if that best explains the soft wind cheater fabric. With glossy black buttons and gorgeous baby corduroy lining around the collar and facing, which matches the Trine bukser or baby corduroy trousers, your little one gets a really sweet ensemble you will adore.
And for boys there is the super smart Emil Anorak and matching Lukas bukser (trousers). This mælk drenge, as the Danes call it or milk boy print of fabric, a pale navy and white cotton stripe, forms the basis of the top and lined pants. They can be purchased separately of course, but cut a really striking form together. The bright orange trim and matching buttons of the Email Anorak, is super sharp, really bold and looks great on. The funky trim of the Lukas pants at the ankle provide a really cute look.
Just a teeny taste of where we are going with Dansk Kids clothes, online for you in October, enjoy!
Gammel Strand or old beach in English, is the name given to a central part of Copenhagen that includes the canal, the old fishing market area, and a square where you can capture some sun, before jumping aboard a canal tour of the city. It also happens to be just around the corner from Kompagnistraede, one of my favourite streets for kids clothes shopping in Copenhagen. While touristy, a canal tour is an excellent way of viewing some Danish architecture and ticking off your list the things you must do when in Copenhagen, such as the Little Mermaid or Den Lille Havfrue in Danish. While I personally don’t associate this statue with life in Copenhagen tourists always want to see it and the canal tour is a convenient way to do so. From the boat you look back to the Mermaid and to the shore of Langelinie beyond, full of tourists furiously snapping photos of her. It’s a bit like seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris: it’s a lot smaller than you imagined, but the throng of clicking tourists don’t seem to care.
The canal winds its way through the centre of Copenhagen, opening up into the harbour and perhaps to one of the world’s most easily recognised ports, Nyhavn. The northern side of the canal has brightly coloured townhouses from the 17th century that distinctively signify traditional Copenhagen. We borrow from this classic image for our logo. It’s surely the multi coloured buildings, the higgeldypiggeldy roof line of the terraces, its salty and bawdy past as a stopping place for sailors, and the fact Hans Christian Andersen once lived there, that makes Nyhavn such a distinctive tourist attraction in Copenhagen. We didn’t get down there much on our own, but I often took visitors to absorb the vibe, and the contrast with the breathtaking modern architecture nearby: the Royal Playhouse theatre and Opera House. The Royal Palaces are just around the corner and it goes without saying as a fan of Crown Princess Mary we took the tour of her home, just as the renovations were finished, when the public were allowed to traipse through the restoration of the Roccoco features and the artists murals on the walls provided lasting images for our time in Copenhagen. To grab your own piece of Scandinavia visit Dansk Kids shop now!
I want to start out by saying I really am fond of the Danish language and everything that follows is written with the greatest respect. Learning Danish is as hard as you would imagine it to be. No probably harder. Sure I learnt French at high school. I did ok. How hard can it be? Yeah, the answer is really difficult. Well in fairness it isn’t so hard to read Danish, the letters are the same as English. Many of the words are even similar looking, its the speaking and listening, where things start to get tricky. Now I only did one semester of Mandarin at school, and it was difficult as well. But I wasn’t living in China at the time and I didn’t need the language to eat. Well in truth I didn’t need it to eat in Denmark either. But when in Rome or Copenhagen, you get my drift.
I started attending Danish classes three or four times a week as soon as I could in Copenhagen. It wasn’t essential to speak Danish, as a temporary resident, I could more than get by with English as every Dane I met spoke it fluently. But I thought it only fair if I was living there to give it a go. Yes, well I learnt fairly quickly that it was probably better to just speak English with people and show due respect to the Danish language by not pronouncing any of it and leaving it alone!
I dutifully attended all the classes I was required to. Did the reading. Did the homework. Listened to the CDs. Talked with my classmates. Sat the exams and yes I managed to speak some Danish by the end of my first year. But speaking fluent Danish, next to impossible. I remember my excitement when I could understand anything said in Danish, and it was usually always spoken by someone similar to me, new to Denmark and Danish is not their first language. The real clincher was ordering coffee from an Aussie working behind the bar at a cafe we regularly frequented. We were chatting and then I heard him speaking Danish to another customer with an Australian accent. The horror. My husband and I looked at one another and said, “Seriously, if that’s what our Danish sounds like, we should just shut up and stick to English”. We decided it would be disrespectful to the language to pronounce it so badly.That is the rub with Danish. Great to read. But to pronounce or to understand from a Copenhagener who runs their Danish words together, forget it. Separate words pronounced separately on a daily basis, there were none. But when the Queen spoke I could understand many words. When older Danes spoke I could understand a few words. I’m not sure I ever made myself understood in Danish. The bewildered look on the faces of Danes as I attempted to converse made it easier for all to simply revert to English. I never truly mastered the accent. But I continue to love to watch Danish TV and Cinema to hear that familiar sound. It is not romantic like French. It is not gutteral like Dutch. It could be a combination of German, English and something else. It is instantly recognisable as none of those languages too. It is distinctive with an infectious melodic rhythm. It is Danish. And it is the best language in which to yell, argue or deliver negative feedback, it just seems to sound right.
We are so excited to bring some of Denmark's best children's wear designers to Australia for the first time in October 2014. We are proud to present the Autumn Winter 2014-2015 collections of Okker Gokker, Joha, and Krutter Knast. And as it will be Spring for us, we have some of the Spring Summer 2014 collection of Fannymia. These brands represent some of the finest traditions of Scandinavian design in children's clothing wear as well as cutting edge fashion, innovation and fun all ethically made.
We are proud to introduce Joha. This is a brand I first used in Copenhagen when I had my first daughter. I used the same outfits again for my second daughter in Australia and my sister Briony used the clothes again for her baby in Singapore. They just last and last and still look and feel new. Joha is o ne of Scandinavia's largest producers of underwear and night wear for babies, children and young people. The company has 50 years of experience and manufactures in the Ukraine and Germany . Joha is sold across Europe and this will be its first time for sale in Australia. It is well known for the high quality and eco-friendly materials it uses to produce its garments.
Okker Gokker has been around since 1997. Again, this is a brand I found for the first time in Copenhagen. I adored the style and practicality of these garments for every day use and of the highest quality. Okker Gokker only uses organic fibres to make durable and comfortable kids clothes. In 2013 Okker Gokker was awarded best Danish sustainable children's wear brand. At Dansk Kids we are thrilled to be able to offer exclusively their unique new children's range called Valhalla Reunion Gudhjem, a tribute to their nordic mythology, woollen and unlike anything else. These body suits for newborns to two year olds represent cutting edge Danish design for kids.
Fannymia began in 2006. The four 'fs' are in all Fanny's garments: functional, fresh textiles, focus on details and flamboyance. These clothes allow children to play, move and look sensational. The attention to detail in these garments is obvious. Cuffs are finished with a flourish. Hems are given an invisible line so that the pants seem to float around the child's ankle. While Fanny originally made everything herself, now the business has expanded she has her garments manufactured in Lithuania.
Krutter Knast offers a retro feel and fun for children's clothing. Birgitta Sonn began Krutter in 2005, offering garments that hark back to the fun and playfulness of the 70's and 80's. Animal prints, bright colours, funky pants and bright patterns abound. Then in 2012 Krutter developed Knast. This has allowed the designer to explore a different fashion theme that is more minimalist, but still offers a unique outfit.
So welcome again to the world of Dansk Kids where there is something for every little one and where you will adore every garment!
The Scandinavian perspective of children and childhood fascinates us at Dansk Kids. An old friend put me onto the work of Mariella Frostrup. In March 2012, Frostrup asked why Scandinavian children’s literature punched so far above its weight and why did it have such a unique voice? Think Hans Christian Andersen, and Pippy Longstocking, a hugely popular children’s literature character, from Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. The Scandinavian culture of respect for the child and childhood were offered as a major factor.
This Scandinavian perspective pops up again in the form of Danish forest kindergarten - or Bush Kinder as it’s known in Australia. A forest kindergarten is a type of preschool education for children held almost exclusively outdoors; whatever the weather, children are encouraged to take the lead in playing, exploring and learning in a forest or natural environment.Forest schools have been operating successfully in Northern Europe for over 50 years. In Australia, this part of the kinder program focuses on the child’s view, how they see and experience the world, understanding that children learn through play. This might have to be seen to be believed for some, but the idea that children can learn by playing in natural environments with what nature provides is refreshing and inspiring!
What we love about Scandinavian baby and children’s wear is how this respect for children is represented in fashion. We source designers that don’t want to dress children as mini-adults, but dress them with respect for what children need: freedom to move, play, express and learn. That’s what inspirational kids clothing should deliver. What better than to see these clothes on little ones you love. Knowing they were made with respect also for the people who sewed them. We reckon innovative Scandinavian design and ethically made clothes equals happy, healthy kids!
 http://www.wgkg.vic.edu.au/bush-kinder , accessed 12 June 2013 and  Fargher D., Bush Kinder in Reflections,Gowrie Australia, Winter 2012, Issue 47, pp. 18-19
I lived in Copenhagen from February 2008 to March 2010. There were so many things I loved about living there: the friends my husband and I made, the pastries, the family-friendly society, but most of all the amazing baby and children’s wear; I had never seen anything quite like it. I still haven’t.
Less than a year into our stay, I was slightly daunted knowing I was having my first child in a foreign country. I needn’t have been as it turned out, since the Danes are world leaders in midwifery and it is a remarkably kid-friendly place to live. Seeing my surroundings through pregnant eyes for the first time, I realised brilliant baby and children’s wear stores were everywhere. Seriously: so many stores, full of women designing, making and selling unique baby and children’s clothing. There were small kidswear shops dotted all through the city and its inner suburbs from stately, quiet Frederiksberg to grungy, lively Nørrebro. Streets that wound into the city centre like Farvergade and Kompagnistræde, adorable little lanes such as Værnedamsvej contained distinctive, stand out garments, while major boulevards like Gammel Kongvej had more than a few kids clothing stores. For a first-time mother on the other side of the world, there was something really reassuring about finding these stores.
The Danes have a concept, hygge, that’s notoriously hard to translate. The nearest English equivalent would be ‘cosiness,’ but that’s only about half of it. When something – a time, a place, an occasion – is hyggelig, everything is snug, familiar, and exactly as it should be. These comforting clothes from the lanes and streets of Copenhagen delivered every inch the hygge that Denmark is known for. It probably goes without saying that Dansk is the Danish word for Danish.
In 2012, I returned to life in Melbourne, to have my second baby, with family and old friends around. It was so pleasing to see these textures and colours worn again for a second time.
In 2013, my sister Briony, found herself in similar circumstances, having her first baby overseas, this time in Singapore. While we live in separate cities, we still look for the same brilliant clothing for our children. Once again these cosy Danish garments were embracing the third baby in four years.
In October 2014, Dansk Kids will go live as a virtual meander through the cobblestone streets of Copenhagen. In the meantime, we thought we would share a sneak peek behind the scenes, as we prepare the online store, meet the designers, learn about the garments that will be arriving and embrace some of that cosiness, incorporating a little of the Scandinavian way of life into our lives. Dansk Kids is a chance to see the little one you love in something you adore, knowing it was ethically made and that its style, quality and above all else its comfort, will endure.