Interlacing with Jan’s background as a dancer, it is the relation between shape and function that forms the essential notion in each design.
Sculptural refinement is the base upon which Jan Machenhauer creates his clothing. Through the rich compositions of textures and detailed structures, the garments obtain subtle architectural qualities.
Designed and tailored in Copenhagen, the studio uses nature’s finest materials such as linen, wool, cotton, and silk. The manufacturing is deeply rooted in traditional values, emphasizing Jan Machenhauer’s renown techniques and craftsmanship.
For over 40 years, Jan Machenhauer has created long-lasting ethical garments with a purpose and room for wear and tear. Moving away from the typical calendars, his garments preserve their value and integrity, becoming increasingly beautiful with time, while gently challenging the norm.
The Jan Machenhauer flagship store (called Zone 1) is located at Nikolaj Plads 7, DK 1067 Copenhagen.
Jan Machenhauer’s career has been somewhat unconventional. Always passionate about design and fashion, he began his professional life working closely with the process of making garments and then gradually went on to exclusively focus on his very own unique designs. Jan’s aesthetics has continually been influenced by his interest in architecture and dance especially, which comes through in his sculptural and elaborate designs – made for movement and longevity.
Jan received his education at the Danish school of applied art – today The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design – from 1972-1976. While still in his final year, he was sought out for a position at the company Made In, in collaboration with Bess Nielsen, creating all collections for more than a decade.
After having worked closely with the industrial end of the fashion business, Jan decided to move away from larger scale production and marketing. The desire for a creative laboratory in which to meticulously test out ideas and innovative techniques, resulted in the opening of the flagship store Zone 1, in the medieval city of Copenhagen, at St. Nikolai Square, where it is still placed today.
Ever since the founding of his own eponymous brand in 1981, he has been a reference for Danish fashion. At a times when Danish fashion as such did not yet exist and the fashion shows were a novelty, Jan showcased his garments in groundbreaking ways and collaborated with fellow designers and art institutions to seek out new levels for quality design.
The autonomy of this new space allowed Jan to work with artistic freedom, which immediately prospered. He received a string of recognitions, both from a growing circle of devoted clients and in the form of prestigious prizes – including the prize of the Danish Council of Craftsmen, which he was the first clothing designer to receive, the Georg Jensen-prize, which at that time was the most sought-after recognition for designers in Scandinavia, and the three-year working-grant from the Danish Arts Foundation. In addition, being the recipient of the Danmarks Nationalbank’s anniversary foundation in 2004 and receiving the lifelong honorary grant from the Danish Arts Foundation in 2016.
Simultaneously, Jan was a highly appreciated tutor in fashion design at the Royal Danish Academy. This allowed him to further work towards manifesting the positions of Denmark as a country most capable of presenting design and designers with integrity, sense and affection for the crafting process.
In 1999 Jan, together with Bess Nielsen founded the french company ÈPICE Paris, a precursory high-end brand of Women and Men scarves, along with a range of printed bags and knitwear made in Italy.
Ultimately, the latest addition to Jan Machenhauer’s universe, the sub brand Jan Machenhauer Shirts: a line of tailored shirts, launched together with Line Hangaard in 2012. Jan Machenhauer Shirts is dedicated to the exploration of the shirt as the ultimate simple classic. These shirts are the tailor’s dream with carefully selected materials, in refined nuances featuring elaborately crafted details, today distributed in Japan, Europe and the US.