Caring for our heritage
‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit’, said Aristotle and we couldn’t agree more. Allegedly, RHANDERS is the oldest trademarked company in Denmark, so it goes without saying that we have a profound respect for history. It is in our DNA to ensure everything we do is aligned with our belief in caring for people, our planet and our heritage. And because we are craftsmen we like to see change happen in front of our eyes and made manifest by our own hands. Practical change, which can grow into new possibilities.
Officially founded in 1811, RHANDERS is the finest and oldest gloving house in the world. The tradition of glovemaking in the city of Randers began in the 1250’s, and while the company name has changed slightly with each generation, the phenomenon “Randers Handsker" is perennial. We have proof of people whispering about the magnificent gloves since the middle ages; in government envoys, royal letters and books like the Nobel Prize winning novel “A fortunate Man”.
Our business was always a royal affair. Just like croissants, we were Marie Antoinette’s favourite. Princess Dagmar brought us to Russia when she became Zarina of Russia, and we can guarantee that at this very moment that our gloves are gracing the hands of at least one royal. The reason RHANDERS gloves were so sought after were not only because of our carefully tanned and curated leathers that made your hands feel extremely soft and smooth, but because of the sweet scent of the Calamus flower that bordered the stream where the leathers were tanned. Planted by devout monks at the dawn of our history, the flower remains our insignia to this day.
RHANDERS has historically been a holistic brand crafting gloves, clothes, bags, shoes, scarves and even perfumes. In fact, between the 1960s-80s our prêt-a-porter collection ‘RH’ boasted a larger turnover than our gloves - and it is our wish to return RHANDERS to its place as a holistic brand.
As caretakers of artisanal history, we believe it is important not only to honour said history, but to document it. Therefore, we are proud to announce our collaboration with esteemed author Hanne Sindbæk on a dedicated book project that will unfold the entire story of glove-making in Randers from the 1200s through to today. Innovation Fund Denmark, recognised the future forward importance of reaping the benefits of history and have granted us a tiny pot of gold in support of this philocentric endeavour and our dedicated approach to innovating our craft.
Caring for our planet
More than ever, we are committed to never compromising our products, people or planet for the sake of quick commercial profit. We would rather spend years developing a meaningful piece that will have a genuine use and place in your life for decades. Why? Because that is the essence of sustainable design.
As artisans, we work with our hands and in partnership with nature. The foundation of our craft is the materials we work with, and we always choose the most natural, uncoated, organic and sustainable options available. Aniline leather. Wool. Cotton. Peace Silk. This is how it was done 200 years ago, and this is a tradition we cherish today. Not because of political trends, but because this is who we are. We care for what we have in our hands and what we make with our hands - so that we can proudly hand it over to you.
The core tenets of our philosophy revolve around technical innovation, conscious use of precious raw materials through recycling, reworking, and rewinding, and mindful waste management. What we can’t reduce in the production cycle, we aim to neutralise through investing in local biodiversity and natural solutions like the “RHANDERS Forest” to ensure we leave a better legacy for the next generation and provide solutions not challenges to our commons.
Read more about how we craft sustainable products here.
Oh and did we mention a forest? We bought one and we are busy restoring old trees and planting new trees!
5.000 fully grown willows, cypresses and fir trees are already helping us reduce our Co2 footprint, and we have committed to growing and nurturing another 12.000 trees in the coming year. Not only that, our woodland also has a two acres of peat bog which has been rewilded and turned into a lake, thereby allowing biodiversity to flourish and provide organic Co2 storage. We will keep embracing climate-smart strategies to help protect and restore nature and its biodiversity, in order to safeguard our climate and our nature. Because we are nature.
Discover more about our magical woodland here.
Caring for people
From the inception of our company, it’s been par for the course to support our community. During the 17th and 18th century glovemaking supported about 30% of the town’s population, and by the 1800s RHANDERS was one of the main sources of income for the city’s mothers, as the women worked from home as seamstresses which allowed them to stay with their children. Later, during the 1820s the company supported women at the local poorhouse, in part philanthropically but also teaching them the glove-sewing craft so they could provide for themselves.¹
Today, we continue our commitment to our community and supporting those in need.
Every good deed starts at home, so locally in Randers town we have helped protect the hands of people on the frontline, such as nursing home staff, school teachers and caretakers. We continuously donate gloves to people in need, and in collaboration with the municipality we support the homeless in our local neighbourhood and a women’s refuge for single parents.
On a national scale, we supported Save the Children via proceeds from our dedicated collection celebrating their 75th anniversary and during the covid-19 pandemic we provided Save the Children volunteers with antibacterial gloves to help them securely distribute care packages to those in need
Last, but not least, the well-being of everyone involved in the making of our products is essential.
Once part of the RHANDERS household, people tend to stick around. Our longest employment was a lifetime affair, so it is safe to say that we really do become family. We want to genuinely engage with all the people who share their skills and knowledge with us, allowing us to create our carefully crafted products. Whether they are working from our own atelier in Randers or at partner facilities, we connect and meet on a regular basis and make sure that all facilities comply with our ethos and stated policies in our Code of Conduct.