When Hardcore References Meet Deadstock Fabrics: How Mfpen is Cutting a New Classic

In the corner of Mfpen’s office, studio and retail space – dubbed the Mfpen Apartment Store – is a small TV showing an ever-changing compilation of short clips. The clips vary, including a Beastie Boys performance, imagery of Nirvana, Morrissey and Ian Curtis and an extract from Heat. All of the footage and imagery has one thing in common, with everyone featured showing a predilection for shirts, ties and suits.

“A suit is seen as something for a dress party or a status symbol in a bank,” explains Mfpen founder Sigurd Bank of this endless reference reel, “but it can also be all these other things.” Suiting is central to the Copenhagen-based brand, and once again plays a key role in its Fall/Winter 2022 collection. “There’s a lot of traditional tailoring items, but at the same time we want to question these status symbols, which a suit and tie can be,” Bank continues. “Personally, I hate people who wear suits because of what they stand for but I love the suit. It’s the same suit, but we challenge those status symbols.”

The recontextualizing of these classic menswear pieces is a constant theme, referenced through proportions — oversized shirting is a focus — or small details including washing instructions printed onto ties. Mfpen also changes how the suit can be viewed through the other pieces in the collection. One item that contrasts the tailoring focus is a washed-out black long sleeve featuring a graphic taken from a Slint vinyl. “The merch tee has such a strong identity within hardcore,” Bank continues. “We have this stuff in the collection which sits well with suiting, but it also gives it some contrast and pulls it in a different direction than just suiting. We don’t deconstruct a suit, but we deconstruct the way we want to see a suit.”

“We don’t deconstruct a suit, but we deconstruct the way we want to see a suit.”

Mfpen’s take on traditional suiting also differs through the materials. “We have organic cotton mixed with linen, we have so many pinstripes — which for me is synonymous with Wall Street style — we have coats in recycled polyester, wool fabrics for trousers,” explains Bank, as well as pointing to its use of deadstock fabrics from luxury houses. “We like to tap into these traditional fabrics and garments, but update them in a more responsible way.”

The combination of traditional menswear silhouettes and responsible fabrics is unexpected, and Bank is adamant that Mfpen will avoid the “sustainable” look. “We always work with deadstock fabrics and we’re really food at finding and utilising deadstock, but that doesn’t mean our aesthetic has to look like a sustainable brand,” he explains. “We just want to make garments that look great and just happen to be responsible.”

For FW22, Mfpen has continued to advance these ideas. Shirting is still wide and boxy, ties and knitwear are still deconstructed and suits are given a whole new meaning. “Traditional menswear is what I do and I think it’s beautiful,” Bank continues. “So we’re taking these things and putting them in a different context.”
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