There’s a cool wind of creativity blowing in out of the northern reaches, from fractured landscapes, lit by midnight summer sun and shrouded in a cloak of frigid winter eves. Denmark, washed by the North Sea to the west and the Baltic to the east is home to a committed and hardy waveriding crew as well as a burgeoning  cultural scene, led by creative collective OH DAWN. We caught up with Mathias Rosendal to find out more about this North Sea tempered brand.

OH DAWN is a Copenhagen based lifestyle/surf label founded in 2011, but also a universe of craftsmanship, creativity and a fluid force of design and culture.

We are three guys behind OH DAWN who started out by making a lot of various sleds, threads, prints and more. I guess it started out as kind of a creative outlet and an “excuse” to build stuff and use our hands. ‘Guess it still sort of is…

It’s all about the thrill of making stuff. We started this thing up totally from the ground with no funding what so ever. So we were forced to do everything ourselves on a non-existing budget, getting the most out of whatever we had lying around. It’s come a bit further since then, but we still work this way. So, I guess it’s the whole DIY ethos that really makes the foundation of our way of business – and pleasure. We believe in the authenticity, dedication and heart that comes through this hands-on approach.

Well, the Shredsled Society was where it all started. We where a small group of guys that all enjoyed surfing, photography and to build stuff. We also did our own surfboards, skateboards, shot a lot of film rolls and stuff back then and we basically had this website where we documented it all through… Then a couple of friends started up their own gallery and asked us if we wanted to show some stuff for their opening. So, we had this small exhibition with all of our boards, poster, pictures, tees etc. handmade all the way through and we ended up (to our big surprise) selling all of it. That was what really started the fire and the wish to aim for more, I think. The thought of trying to build a living around stuff you’d be doing anyway seemed way too good to pass on. So Bo, Simon and I decided to give it a go and OH DAWN was founded. 

I feel like we’ve found our own way in terms of the aesthetics, production, quality and generally running our business. Our goal (product-wise) is to deliver high-end quality wrapped up in a clean design with a strong emphasis on detail and function, made for surfers. Living in Copenhagen, shuttling between town and country to hunt for waves, we’re really feeding of the constant contrast between these opposites.

The whole “city-surfer” term is no longer an unknown concept, but we strive to be ourselves and deliver and reflect “the real thing” as it is through our optics.

We’re not some random big company trying to feed of this whole “scene” – we’re surfers, living like this, shaping our own boards etc. and aiming to support and hopefully also evolve a more alternative and “locally” founded sub-culture within the surf industry.

We have a different geography and climate which dictates alternate equipment especially in the cold seasons, but we also have a totally different cultural heritage. It’s hard to put a label on it, but to me it seems the Scandinavian surfers need something more than crystal-blue, shaka throwing, boardshort wearing surf ads and the whole stereotypical surf dream. Maybe it comes from the fact that getting in, often means a fair bit of hassling and struggling and maybe the whole “getting there” becomes a bigger part on the whole experience. I don’t know…

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