DOXA is shaking up running fashion in all the right ways. Meeting with the inspiring founder of the Danish company who exposes the values it embodies.
John Hansen was born in rural Denmark where he started running at age 10. Quickly, he discovered a talent for the thing and won competitions in his age group. He joined a local athletic club at age 12 and trained there thoroughly. From 15 to 20, he competed under the banner of different Danish clubs, won a lot of medals on the national stage, but at 21, he had to quit because of an incurable injury.
Three decades after his first run in the countryside, John lives in Copenhagen from where he runs DOXA, a running clothing company he founded and which he sees as an innovative and ethical option to the clothing giants of sport.
John, with a business and kids, are you still running as much as you used to?
Basically, I run at least 3 times a week, and if the stars align favorably, 5 or 6 times. But as you say, with the family and DOXA, it is sometimes difficult to find the time. I love running in nature, especially on fine gravel paths. As I live in central Copenhagen, I have to run quite far to reach these routes. So I run very early so that it is possible with my busy schedule. Between 5 and 6 a.m., the city wakes up slowly. We meet few people, most of them taking a morning walk or walking their dog. People are often more polite and friendly at this time of day. We say hello and we wish each other a good day. This atmosphere puts me in a great mood.
Are you still competing?
Yes, but I am more aiming for long distances, like half marathons and marathons. These are distances where I still manage to improve my times, so that encourages me to continue.
Did running give you a special perspective on existence?
When you're a teenager, you look for yourself. You are in search of identity, of meaning, you wonder what could interest you as work, as studies. For me, in all this tumult of thoughts, the race proved to be a safe space, on the fringes of these uncertainties. She gave me confidence and the strength to look to the future with optimism. I knew I was good at something. Maybe not the best. But I was good and I found pleasure in getting better and better.
As an adult, running has become many things. It is a refuge. It is also a time when I put my thoughts in order. It is part of a general discipline of life, for which I must thank my mother who told me that if I did not train, I could not participate in competitions. For me, then, running is a bit of a mental training. I'm pretty much alone in DOXA, I have to be very organized, in control. Running allows me to put my ideas back in place to be more efficient.
What is the philosophy behind the creation of DOXA?
A priori, there is none. I just wanted to combine my passion for running and my job in fashion. But hey, I still have some strong ideas that guide me.
I wish DOXA was the best option for running clothes from established brands.
Each season, I do research to find the most interesting and innovative fabrics; I buy in Italy most of the time, if not elsewhere in Europe.
I also believe in sustainable fashion: as a runner, I find it important that we can continue to breathe clean air, go to the forest and enjoy nature. Since my beginnings, I have used fabrics that are made in part from recycled plastic bottles or fishing nets abandoned in the ocean. Now, 60% of my fabrics are partly made of recycled plastic. Since last year, I also produce t-shirts made from certified organic cotton.
It's also important to me that DOXA is helping to do something bigger than just making clothes. When I discovered the Kenswed Academy school, which allows young Kenyan runners to develop, I immediately adopted this project. Every year, the clothes that I don't sell are given to them.
If I have only one DOXA song to get to start, which one do you suggest?
I would go with a running sweater. Undoubtedly the Troy Tee: its design is classic in style, but athletic, it is made in mesh recycled material that comes from Italy and is usually adorned with a graphic design that changes with the seasons.
If not, what is your fondest running memory?
Oh, there are so many! Of course, those where I won national championship medals are etched in my memory. But a marathon is so long, and your feelings during this kind of ordeal are part of a different kind of experience ... If you have to choose an event, I would say the marathon of Frankfurt in 2015. I was in superb form and had just set my best time at the half in Copenhagen. The goal was clear: to also have my best marathon time. My girlfriend, who was pregnant, accompanied me. Everything went really well and I even managed to increase the speed in the last mile. The thing is, in Frankfurt, the arrival is unforgettable: you arrive in a large building, on a red carpet, with mirror balls on the ceiling and disco music playing loudly. My best time, this finish, my pregnant girlfriend: all that matched to make an unforgettable memory.
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This portrait of one of the suppliers of Faux Mouvement is part of a series of reports intended to make you better know our partners, their vision and their products. By reading them, you will quickly understand why we have chosen them.