Rainwear. You’d think some bright spark would have had a lightbulb moment about this category of outerwear usually seen as utilitarian and mostly ignored by the fashion world.
Two bright Danish sparks, actually. In 2012, Daniel Brix Hesselager and Philip Lotko launched Rains, hoping it would work as a niche label. It sure did. Today, Rains has 3,000 outlets including 25 concept stores – among them, one in Melbourne Central – in 21 countries.
The momentum continues. “Currently, the UK is our biggest market, but we expect it will be overtaken by the US in 2020,” says 33-year-old Daniel at the company’s base in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city.
He was majoring in furniture design at renowned Danish design and business college, TEKO, when he and fellow student Philip Lotko – “he majored in PR” – took time out from their studies to design a poncho made from a lightweight polyurethane fabric.
Initially, the idea of merging design and style with an outdoor technical product was a fascinating challenge. Then it dawned on them that they had the beginnings of a wet weather lifestyle brand.
It now encompasses water-resistant outerwear including parkas, trench coats, puffer jackets and pants, plus loads of bags and accessories from hats and gloves to holders for laptops and glasses, though growing Rains took perseverance.
“It took us a few years to generate income and at first, we handled design,” says Danial. “Then Rains took off and we now have a design team for our men’s and women’s ranges.”
Forget the relentless frenzy of new season trends. Rains is all about that Scandinavian passion for simplicity, functionality and clean lines – the perfect accompaniments to contemporary casual fashion.
The overall effect is super cool and monotones rule. Dark colours dominate, but there are also pieces in beige, olive and light grey, plus brights including yellow, tomato red and ultramarine. What you won’t find are prints.
“We don’t do them,” says Daniel. “However, we do play with different matte textures which is technically more complicated, but visually appealing.”
Like the clothes, the shops, including flagship stores in New York, Shanghai and most recently, London (“just near Covent Garden; a fantastic location”), have that spare, yet inviting Scandinavian appeal and further bricks and mortar outlets are planned for major cities across the globe.
“Ninety per cent of our revenue comes from outside Denmark,” notes Daniel. “We definitely plan to open more stores in Australia and we’ll continue to develop our online platform. Our bags and accessories have proved tremendously popular. They now account for 50 per cent of our products.”
The poncho that spawned Rains wasn’t the only source of inspiration for what has grown into a formidable lifestyle brand – or even the main one, many Danes would say. The skies open regularly in Denmark, especially in Copenhagen which has an annual average of 170 rainy days.
Story by Zelda Cawthorne
Fashion Exposed Now
Discover the Rains AW19 Check Capsule and AW19 Essentials and Accessories collections on display at Fashion Exposed, Australia’s only dedicated womenswear buying event. Registration is free and includes access local and international labels, seminars and round table sessions to help build your business.
Sunday 2 – Monday 3 February 2020
Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne