"The Wave" is a series spotlighting the cutting edge brands we’ve got our eye on and who are redefining our world. A fresh celebration of what comes next, from us to you.
Founders: Nanna and Simon Wick
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Year Founded: 2018
I first crossed direct paths with (Di)vision in 2019. Back then, I met with the brand’s co-founder Simon Wick in Copenhagen between shows at the city’s bi-annual fashion week. Outside of a local cafe, Wick — who founded the brand with his sister Nanna — pulled up with model and artist Anton Thiemke and Kasper Nielsen, founder of jewelry brand HANREJ who showed off the new tattoos they inked each other with a few days prior. Sarah Dahl and Nina Marker, both models themselves and partners of Wick and Thiemke, joined shortly after.
Important names; earlier this month, all of them — along with other friends and collaborators including model Mona Tougaard, singer JEURU, and photographer Frederik Lentz Andersen — walked (Di)vision’s debut fashion show, where they sported the brand’s signature upcycled split bombers, washed flannels, and pierced logo caps, in a physical display of the brand’s commitment to the people who make up the brand’s universe. All showed up to the brand’s dinner in partnership with HANREJ later that night, where I met Nanna for the first time at last.
“We had these unique pieces, seasonal pieces, and some old pieces, as we don’t want to be bound by seasons in the traditional way. Some will be available after the show, some a month later, some will be in shops in Spring 2022, and some have already sold out,” Wick told me of the show, which opened Copenhagen Fashion Week with a rock band on a roof, overlooking the city at 9:30AM. “The cast is all built around our community, we wanted characters to walk the show instead of new models. We’re not following the rules.”
Let (Di)vision be the brand to help shape the next step for our industry, one that is driven by environmental responsibility, organically promoted by the people behind the brand, and sells at its own pace. Less than 12 hours after their bravura showing at Copenhagen Fashion Week, Highsnobiety visited the brand’s studio for a discussion with Simon Wick on all things (Di)vision.
“We started back in 2018 while I was a young lad, 18. I was working at [Storm] in Copenhagen and selling clothes everyday. I wanted to do something on my own. Since I don't have any experience or background in making clothes, I wanted to change the approach. I was really inspired by all the brands upcycling [garments], and I felt it would be easier for me instead of making something from scratch. I had no experience in sewing whatsoever, so I teamed up with my older sister Nanna who has a Bachelor in Sustainable Fashion Design. She helped me create the first products and samples. In 2018, we launched our first split bomber jackets with Storm while I was working there. From there it just took off. Half a year after that I decided to go full-time with Nanna on (Di)vision.”
The Public’s Response
“I used to sell a lot of sneakers back in the day, so I knew that it was possible to sell to a bunch of people you don't know. I didn’t know how to do it with my own designs though, but we already had quite a lot of hype on Instagram since we started with all our friends posting in the brand. When we [finally] launched in store, we had the young kids in the city lining up outside to buy the split bomber jackets. Then we got random tourists in the store and we sold out pretty quickly. To sell at a store I used to work at was a fun opportunity I don’t think a lot of people have. If you look at the price point of that product, it’s around $300 instead of $3,000, so not like other [luxury] brands.”
Seeing the Brand on Strangers
“We had a lot of friends wearing the jackets who were working in the business as models, so we quickly got the industry people to buy them as well. I remember going through street style pictures taken at fashion week, and you had, let's say, 10 big models wearing our products. You couldn’t go to a publication and not see some of the items. So it was really out there, and I didn’t [even] know some of these people, and I hadn’t sold so much at the time. I thought if I could sell these small amounts and get it to the right people, then if we push down on the gas, we could make something bigger happen.”
Why His Brand Sells
“It’s a mix. When we first started out, I think the whole vibe of our [crew] had a big impact on [the success]. From there, a lot of different things happened. About a year and a half ago, our group might have been the main indicator for why people were buying into the brand. Later, it was about creating a business where we could scale the production to have a lot of new products while keeping costs down. We see it like going into a thrift shop. When you enter, you don’t know what you’re going to find, and you’ll be surprised. We wanted to create a universe with the same vibe around our brand. So when we first started with our unique pieces, we did many. Hundreds a week on our website that would create this universe where you didn’t know what to expect every time. I think people really fucked with that because it allowed them to see fashion in a different way. You would get the feeling of vintage shopping while feeling unique once you’re finished shopping.”
“For our Fall/Winter collection that’s dropping very soon, we’ll have more versions of each product. It could be 20 or it could be 80. Kendall Jenner just wore some of our pants, and even before she wore them, we almost sold out of them. So we thought, what if we can do a bigger quantity of them? That was something we were very scared of before. How can you scale a business if people only like the unique products? Those pants gave us confidence, and for the first time we believed that people just liked our brand, our story, our design, our energy.”
Building a Community
“I don’t necessarily like a brand for its design, I like a brand for its community. And that’s what we wanted as well. So we do a lot of shoots and content around our community. Every time someone also shares an image of them wearing the brand, we make sure to share it as well. I don’t care if it’s a supermodel or someone from a small city in the UK with 10 followers, it’s about the community. That’s why I used to like Supreme for example, they were inclusive.”
What Luxury Needs to Get Right
“They need to [think about] how they can manage a level of luxury while still being inclusive. You see brands like Marc Jacobs with Heavn, that’s something right there. They’ve created a community rather than doing a sub-brand. I think other luxury brands can learn from that. Maybe Louis Vuitton could do something more with Virgil or Dior with Kim Jones, where they can actually create more of a community.”
Acknowledging the Consumer
“Make sure you put some heart into everything and make sure you give them an experience where they feel loved. If we have good customers, we might send them free stuff or discount codes to make them return. We always respond when they send us questions. It’s just about being more open-minded and having your arms wide open. Never think you’re better than your customer, because you’re nothing without them. But what I don’t like is when people ask for free shit. I won’t respond to that.”
What’s Next for the Brand
“What’s currently the hardest challenge for us right now is scaling without neglecting our core values. We can only go so fast without selling out. These unique products we do, for example, are not scalable, as we would have to have our own factories and a ten times bigger production, which would mean ten times more hires. So we have to figure out how to make that work. We want to grow fast, but we also want to do it the right way. If suddenly we get an order of 1,000 pairs of jeans and we can’t deliver them sustainably, we’re not going to deliver them. That’s what we want to show, because I think that’s what people need right now.”