Born of over 200 years of passion and craftsmanship, Dahlman1807 is one of the world’s longest-standing leather goods companies. Founded by master saddle-maker, Wilhelm Ludvig Dahlman in 1807, the brand continues to produce beautiful, handcrafted products from its historic Copenhagen atelier.
Just as their predecessors celebrated the beauty and diversity of leather, Dahlman1807 continues to uphold the same commitment to craftsmanship and materiality that their company was built upon. Today, the brand has transformed into a contemporary leather house that specializes in creating luxurious leather goods of uncompromising quality and taste.
We joined Jeppe Dencker, Partner and Creative Director of Dahlman1807, to discuss the company’s historic roots, craft and evolving presence in contemporary society.
THE AUDO: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT DAHLMAN1807'S BACKSTORY?
Jeppe Dencker: Dahlman1807 was founded in 1807 by master saddler, Wilhelm Ludvig Dahlman. The company began its existence as the Royal Court Saddler, located in the Royal Stables of Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. In 1929, we moved to Fortunstræde, which is still our home today. The location offers a combined boutique and studio that invites customers to enjoy a personal and up-close look at our in-house production.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Dahlman collaborated with many influential Danish designers, including Arne Jacobsen, Kaare Klint and Hans J. Wegner. It was during this mid-century period that some of our most essential leather items came to light, such as our signature products, The Architect’s Belt and The Architect’s Bag.
TA: HOW DID YOU FIRST COME TO WORK WITH LEATHER AND HOW HAS YOUR JOURNEY EVOLVED SINCE TAKING OVER THE DAHLMAN BRAND?
JD: My relationship with leather started out with a passion for craftsmanship. I’ve always been fascinated with how handmade products are made and how you can create something beautiful with your own two hands.
Leather is such a versatile and unique material. With a little bit of effort, you can create something that will last a lifetime and only grow more beautiful with time and use. After working with handmade leather goods for many years, my business partner, Mikkel and I heard the news that Dahlman was closing permanently. It would have been a terrible shame if one of the world's oldest leather goods companies closed down simply because no one was there to take over. It was then that we decided to step up as the next generation of craftsmen.
It has been a big challenge to work with a brand and company that has more than 200 years of history. We strive to stay true to our heritage, while also transitioning Dahlman into a more contemporary context.
TA: DESPITE BEING FOUNDED OVER 200 YEARS AGO, DAHLMAN1807 REMAINS EQUALLY AS BELOVED AS IT WAS IN CENTURIES PRIOR. CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW THE BRAND HAS MANAGED TO SUSTAIN ITS RELEVANCY IN TODAY’S AGE?
JD: We took over the Dahlman brand in 2017. Just as our predecessors did all those years ago, we forged a commitment to creating beautiful, handcrafted products. Since then, our product range has shifted from saddles and equestrian goods to crafted accessories for both men and women. Today, our products include handcrafted bags, small leather goods, belts and customized leatherwork.
This generational change has helped transform Dahlman1807 into a modern leather house, dedicated to accomplished design, masterly craftsmanship and exquisite materials.
TA: AS A HYBRID WORKSHOP AND RETAIL SPACE, YOU’RE ABLE TO DESIGN, PROTOTYPE AND SELL PRODUCTS FROM WITHIN THE SAME BUILDING. HOW DOES THIS IMPACT YOUR WORK PROCESSES AND PRODUCTION?
JD: Our combined workspace grants us the ability to test out new products quite fast. When we get an idea for a product, we start with the design process and figure out the overall look.
As soon as the design is ready, we start developing prototypes in our workshop. We don’t have to send sketches to a factory far away and then wait for samples to arrive. Some products start out as an idea in the morning and by the end of the day, we have a finished product ready to put in the shop. We really like this way of doing things, as we’re able to test out our new designs without having to undertake an extensive production process.
Visit our Concept Shop to browse our selection of goods from Dahlman1807.