Meet the latest Scandi brand to make its mark on London’s Soho shopping scene.
London has undergone nothing short of a Scandinavian invasion in recent months, as several of the region’s biggest fashion brands have set up shop in the city. Debut UK stores from Ganni and Samsøe & Samsøe opened this summer and will be joined by fellow Dane, Wood Wood, before the end of this year at a date to be confirmed. The brand is the latest label within this fashion-led, contemporary sweet spot to land here, illustrating the importance of the UK market to these European businesses.
Launched in 2002 by Karl-Oskar Olsen and Brian SS Jensen, Wood Wood has grown quietly and organically, in both wholesale and retail. It is now stocked at more than 400 retailers internationally, including Liberty London and influential independents End and Goodhood in the UK.
Wood Wood has five shops in its native country, including at Copenhagen airport, as well as two stores in Berlin, Germany. Today, sales are split 70% wholesale and 30% own retail.
The brand has evolved to into a multifaceted offering. Seasonal collections follow fashion trends but are filtered through a Scandi sensibility, and so are trend driven but wearable. Prints, patterns and interesting fabrics are high quality and commercial, at a contemporary brand price point. Wholesale prices for the spring 20 collection range from £35 for a cap to £320 for a coat.
Main collections – covering menswear, womenswear, footwear and accessories – are complemented by collaborations, which have included Barbour, Nike, Vans and Converse. The latest, for spring 20, is a tie-up with British designer and sustainability pioneer Katharine Hamnett. A core sustainable basics line – Double A – includes T-shirts and hoodies, was added for autumn 17.
“The thing that separates Wood Wood from the other Scandi brands in that contemporary price bracket is that every season it has a strong and distinct collection theme that includes clothing, accessories and footwear,” says Laura Robertshaw, menswear buyer at Liberty London, which has stocked Wood Wood for more than two years.
“Despite being a young, fun, irreverent brand and having strong fashion elements within its collections, it has broad appeal across all age ranges.
“It performs extremely well, particularly the more fashion-forward pieces, which appeal to our more trend-driven customer. Its core Double A products provide Liberty’s more discerning consumer a wardrobe of key basics.”
Marc Lewis, director of Brighton independent Our Daily Edit, which has stocked the women’s and men’s wear ranges since the store launched in 2014, echoes this: “It’s consistently one of our bestselling brands, season after season. The identity of the brand is really strong, and customers can spot a piece of Wood Wood straight away, without seeing the label.
“Lots of the silhouettes return in different prints and washes. We were really impressed with the way it had evolved from just streetwear to a collection that can be worn in different ways and appeals to a broad age group.”
Its first UK store will open at 33-35 Brewer Street in London’s Soho, a stone’s throw from its Scandi neighbours and a short walk from the busy Regent Street.
“You might love or hate London, but you can’t deny that fashion-wise it’s probably one of the most important cities in the world,” says co-founder and creative director Olsen.
“From the beginning it was always about Soho. Really, it had to be Soho. I like the fact that it has this diverse mix of shoppers. It’s not as stereotyped as east London, for example, and Wood Wood is about being in locations with atmosphere and noise and great contrasts. Soho was an easy choice.”
The 5,300 sq ft London space, which will also house showroom, was designed in collaboration with design agency Spacon & X. It follows the concept of Wood Wood’s other retail locations, showcasing its own brand offer alongside a selection of wholesaled labels such as Nike, Adidas, Undercover, Neighbourhood, Cav Empt and Wacko Maria. External brands will account for 60% of the London offer.
“The brands we carry in the stores are a reflection of who our core consumers are, so by that we have a great mix of rare Japanese brands and smaller independent brands from the US, along the global sports brands and sneakers,” says Olsen.
Growing womenswear is a key goal for Olsen. The business is also striving to be 100% sustainable by 2025, a goal which promises to keep the growing business in good health.
“Our focus right now is to keep developing,” says Olsen, “but always be true to our DNA.”