The story of RHANDERS story is featured in American Vogue.
Vogue Archive Editor, Laird Borrelli-Persson, has written the most beautiful and insightful piece on RHANDERS - from its rich cultural heritage to the new innovative and purposeful anti-bacterial gloves.
This Danish Company Is Making Antibacterial Gloves as Stylish as They Are Functional
It took Rina Hansen, Ph.D., 11 long years to persuade the owner of RHANDERS, a Danish heritage glove company founded in 1811, to sell the business to her. “I just made it my life mission to revive the brand, document its history, and innovate on the craftsmanship skills,” explains the brainy Dane from self-isolation in the countryside.
As agile as she is persistent, Hansen came into the company with the idea of making protective travel gloves that were easy to wear and more environmentally friendly than single-use rubber gloves. She’d had this idea on the back burner since living in London; to her, riding the tube was “quite a bacterial shock.” Her grandmother came to the rescue with this advice, “Why don’t you wear travel gloves? They protect your hands, and keep you from touching your face or picking your nose!” Within a year of her acquiring RHANDERS, the brand introduced both leather and washable cotton gloves with an antibacterial treatment that is eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, and—according to company literature—prevents up to 99.99% of pathogenic bacteria and microorganisms. The new styles are made through a collaboration with Byron Dixon’s Micro-Fresh.
All of this innovation was done in a pre-pandemic world, but has urgent applications now that the company has donated its new products to Save the Children helpers, schools, and to caretakers and therapists at nursing homes. (Though they are antibacterial, the gloves are not medical-grade.) While RHANDERS's ateliers in Hungary and India are under lockdown, its Danish factory is still producing these handmade gloves that, unbelievably, sell for less than $100. “We decided not to put a premium price on the gloves,” Hansen says, as “they are something that really should go out there to serve the world and do good.”
Before making brilliant antibacterial gloves, RHANDERS has long served as purveyors to Her Royal Highness Queen Margrethe and Crown Princess Mary, as well as the entire Danish royal family. It also provides equipment to the military, including the well-known Queen’s Guard, who now wear the antibacterial gloves. The FBI came calling when they needed gloves for “fast roping” out of helicopters, though long before all this, Marie Antoinette favored RHANDERS gloves for their fragrant leather.
In the 18th century, Hansen relates, manure was used for tanning, and the material stank. RHANDERS, however, used the calamus flower to do its tanning at the time, brought to Denmark by French monks, instead. “Originally it’s a medicinal plant from India with a lovely citrusy-mixed-with-cinnamon kind of smell,” says Hansen. “It’s said to give balance, calm your chakra, and also to help you speak words of truth.” This added value complements Hansen’s belief that heritage firms have “soul” and preserve culture and craftsmanship.
Style matters too. Long gloves, like the super-chic long styles RHANDERS made for Mark Kenly Domino Tan’s fall collection were already trending pre-pandemic. Hansen says that editorial interest hadn’t yet trickled down to sales, but she had interesting things to say about the important role of accessories in fashion. She’s noticed a progression from It bags to shoes and jewelry to the hands. Why? “This is just my personal guess,” Hansen says, but we are “becoming aware that hands are important. Being hands-on is sort of the opposite of being digital. Hands are becoming a symbol of caring, and of love, and of doing good.” That’s an idea that deserves a round of applause.
Read the full article here.