Jun 26, 2017 | By Lourdes Linares
Get more Denim insights as a WGSN subscriber
Launched at Copenhagen Fashion Week S/S 13, custom bike builders Wrenchmonkees deliver their initial line of Nordic Work Wear.
Wrenchmonkees build motorcycles and they ride them. Motorcycles shape their lives. Since 2008, Founders Nicholas, Per and Andreas have been building custom rides for committed souls in most parts of the world. Taking inspiration from the spirit of old Japanese, British, Italian and American motorcycles, the Danish collective creates simple but distinctive bikes out of their garage in Copenhagen. Through their passion for bikes, the Wrenchmokees guys have developed a necessity for functional clothing based on the simple fundamentals that relate to their work life in the garage, driving bikes and everyday life in Copenhagen.
S/S 13 sees the brand complete their first line of functional motorcycle apparel under the self-titled, WM A.C. Nordic Workwear label. The first edition is created in collaboration with KANSAS, who has been a long-standing Danish workwear manufacturer since 1952. The collection features a selection of classic workwear-inspired garments constructed from tough canvas materials and built for function. Chore coats, carpenter pants and utility vests feature snap closures, considered pocketing, reinforced panels and hidden linings for protective motorcycle pads. The palette of mustard yellows, saturated blues and matte blacks reinforces the workwear function.
To ensure the garments reached the highest possible standards, the crew from took off across Europe in June 2012 to test their Nordic Work Wear. Driving, wrenching and sleeping in their own garments for 10 days proved to them what works and what doesn´t
We spoke to Nicholas and Andreas from the team to find out a little more about the collection:
What was your motivation to start designing apparel for Wrenchmonkees?
For a long time we have missed having our own clothes that fit our desires and wishes, our way of life…. So we decided to do our own label and get exactly the feel and quality we wanted. And it turned out that Nicholas had some pretty good skills with sketching the clothes so we kept talking. Kind of lucky since Per and I thought he was only good with a camera, torch and hammer. KANSAS agreed to the collaboration right away and with their technology we had tailor items on the go pretty much from day one. Including production it took only four months from the first sketch to where we are now. We plan to deliver our first batch in November. We are used to [intense work] with short deadlines in the Monkee Garage – we [were] surprised that KANSAS was up for the same pace. But they walked the talk and then some.
What was the story behind the WM Nordic Work Wear / KANSAS collaboration?
Actually the name Nordic Work Wear was something we came up with. We wanted to send a signal about that great quality garments is still made with great pride here in the north. Combining that with our minimalistic approach the name came up and Kansas liked it. We wanted to work with Kansas because they have made superior work garments in Denmark since 1952. Today the fabrics used in our edition [are] made in Riga, Balticum. Our fathers used to work in their clothes when they were blacksmiths and brewers. When we where young we also did our part of hard labor, using the exact same fabrics. KANSAS has never taken shortcuts on their quality. That we had great respect for. For us, they where the only right partner for us. Teaming up with a fashion company would just be a joke for an easy piece of money. When we approached KANSAS they treated us with respect and interest even though we are just a very small company. That was a great experience to encounter.
Is the collection specifically built for riders, or do you see interest from a wider audience?
The Nordic Work Wear edition is crafted for blue collar working people who also like to have clothes that fit. We wanted to craft an edition you can work in but also wear with pride when you’re on your own. To us all of the clothes fit our desires for driving as well. We prefer old school cotton and leather instead of modern fabrics. It somehow feels better, evolves better while using it and in the end you end up felling it grow with you. That’s why KANSAS is a good partner. Their garments last you a lifetime. We seek to develop timeless work and casual wear that can appeal to people who just want simple designs and superior garments for a decent price. We think this point appeals to much more than just old school bike riders,
What testing processes did you go through to ensure the collection was fit for the road?
We [put] the garments on ourselves and our mates and took them for almost 3000 km. down Europe for 10 days on the back of our bikes. Riding, wrenching, eating and sleeping in the same clothes for ten days gives you a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. Little details like the quality and size of zippers suddenly make a difference when you wear gloves all the time and constantly have heavy wind and rain on you. Likewise it makes a difference where you put the pockets when you have to operate a motorcycle across boarder controls, paying for bridges and having your spare tools and parts on you along the way.
Any highlights from the road trip you guys made earlier this year?
It was great to experience that you don’t need as much as you might think to get by with. Old bikes, cotton and leather might not be as comfy as high tech stuff but your smile and satisfaction, we think, might grow a bit more on you when you feel nature and machinery without too much upholstery. Most of the difference comes from the crew you are with and how you give and take your share of the collective. On a trip like this you are never stronger then the weakest man or bike in the group.
What is your favorite piece from the collection?
Well, as much as we like wrenching in the garage, driving the bikes is still second to none for us. So the bike jacket and vest are most likely our favorites for the time being. But all items are made with great affection. All styles are created out of our needs and desires. It was our ambition to craft clothing that would make us sufficient and happy in pretty much all situations. We feel we have succeeded with that, and much more is still to come
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.