minimum launched in 1997 as a small retail store in Aarhus, Denmark. Its mission was simple: make fashionable clothes that feel good to put on and give the wearer confidence.
Just over two decades later, the little retailer is picking up international momentum and attracting attention further afield with its modern yet uncomplicated wardrobe essentials. While Scandinavian design principles remain at minimum’s core, the label has developed its own contemporary look that avoids trend chasing and focuses instead on practicality, quality, and timeless style.
Founder Peder Tang took some time out recently to discuss with us the last 21 years as well as what the future may look like. Read on for the full interview and visit minimumfashion.com for more.
What inspired you to start minimum? When you began the retail shop, what gap were you looking to fill in the market?
Back in ‘97, the retail scene was very different from today. Online barely existed and traveling abroad was more exotic. I felt that the retail scene was missing out on international brands so over the first 3 years I brought various brands to Aarhus in Denmark – DKNY, G-Star, and sneaker brands, among many others.
minimum has now been around for 21 years. In that time, and very recently, fashion houses and the industry as a whole have moved into a more street style-focused direction. How has this shift towards street style factored into your company’s design philosophy?
We’re always searching out new trends and yes, we’ve noticed this and touched on it. But we’ve found it difficult to adopt fully into our design DNA. minimum has always been at its strongest when balancing urban and street with formal and contemporary. But, of course, the voice of the street and the rapid shifts have forced us closer to this market.
minimum prides itself on creating sustainable, versatile clothing. What design ethos or guidelines do you try to adhere to when you’re creating collections?
When focusing on a strong and consistent design direction — not being too much of a slave to ever-changing trends — you create a base that your target group can understand and relate to. Our ethos is “standing out by blending in,” so we offer the possibility to be a little more updated and well dressed than the average person.
You formed the company in 1997 in your hometown of Aarhus and it’s become part of your core company DNA. What kind of street style do you see day-to-day throughout Aarhus? What does the city offer that you feel other cities don’t?
Throughout the years, Aarhus and our Nordic heritage have become more important, I think its a result of the world getting smaller. Aarhus is a university city that’s intimate, close to the city center, the beach, and woodlands. There are young people all over with a mix of looks and styles but many dress simple and sophisticated. Over the past few years we’ve seen a lot of logomania but hopefully we are at the end of that era as it totally lacks identity.
How do you approach your own day-to-day style? Do you feel there’s a difference between workwear versus streetwear in your wardrobe?
I’m pretty essential in my personal look, I’m too old and I’ve been in the industry too long. I’m more workwear inspo than streetwear. I love my old French workwear jacket I bought in Kiliwatch Paris many years ago — it goes with everything from formal pants to shorts, Clarks to Birkenstocks.
With fashion moving into a more gender-neutral direction, how have you sought to streamline and unify the two sides of the company for an urban, global audience?
Hmm, there are always waves in the ocean changing all the time, some more lasting than others. We offer well-balanced essentials lines for both men and women and of course, there are non-gender specific styles here too. However, I´m not sure that it is minimum´s role or task to fill out this wave on a bigger scale.
Check out minimum’s affordable FW18 collection.
- Photography: Eivind Hamran