Tonny Sorensen

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Tonny Sorensen
Tonny Sørensen

(1964-03-09) March 9, 1964 (age 55)
Copenhagen, Denmark
EducationBEng, Electrical Engineering
Alma materUniversity of Copenhagen
OccupationInnovator, Creative Director, Social Entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer
EmployerPlanet illogica and California Christiania Republic
Known forcommercialization of the art and style of Kenny Von Dutch Howard; launched the Trucker Cap as a Pop culture meme
Website &

Tonny Sorensen born (1964-03-09) March 9, 1964 (age 55) is a Danish entrepreneur and creative director best known for his successful commercialization of the iconic California Kustom Kulture brand Von Dutch Originals.[1] He is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Planet illogica, an online creative community for artists and art organizations.[2] and California Christiania Republic clothing brand.[3]


Tonny Sorensen was born on March 9, 1964 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Copenhagen, and a degree in Business and Trade from a Copenhagen trade school. Sorensen was a member of Denmark's Taekwondo team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul,[4] and won a Gold Medal in the Heavyweight division of the 1991 World Taekwondo Championships in Athens, Greece.[5] Sorensen subsequently owned the Gladsaxe dojo in Denmark, an elite school that produced several Taekwondo world champions.[6][7]

Sorensen moved to the United States in 1991, settling in Los Angeles, where he studied acting, screenwriting and filmmaking. In 1998 he co-produced the 1998 movie American Intellectuals, starring Portia de Rossi.[8]

Sorensen's renegade style of management earned him a reputation as a rebel in the world of fashion. His "one-second rule," in which he instantly decides on whether or not to pursue a new project, design or program, led to the global phenomenon that was the Trucker Cap.[9]

Kustom Kulture and Von Dutch Originals[edit]

The Trucker Cap, popularized by Von Dutch Originals under the leadership of Tonny Sorensen

In the mid-1990s, Sorensen purchased a hot rod Cadillac and became involved in Southern California car culture. Sorensen's Venice mechanic introduced him to the art and design of Kenny "Von Dutch" Howard the father of the Kustom Kulture movement that has heavily influenced the fashion and style of hot rodding, surf culture, skateboarding and rock 'n' roll.[10][11] Intrigued by Howard, Sorensen set-out to make a film about Von Dutch's life, which led him to Michael Cassel, who had earlier acquired the rights to reproduce the iconic "Von Dutch" signature and imagery from Howard's heirs and had established Von Dutch Originals.[12]

Sorensen invested in Von Dutch Originals in 2000 and became its CEO, opening the Von Dutch Melrose Avenue retail location that same year. Sorensen expanded Von Dutch from a niche T-shirt and hat line to a full-scale fashion collection adding hoodies, jeans and accessories.[13] Sorensen rapidly grew the business, opening stores in Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Chicago and Miami, with wholesale distribution to Japan, Canada and Europe.[14] Von Dutch Originals used high-level product placements and celebrity involvement to propel the brand.[13] In the height of the brand's popularity, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Ashton Kutcher were regularly photographed wearing the Von Dutch trucker hat.[11] Sales reached $33 million in 2003,[15][16] and as high as $100 million in 2004.[11] Von Dutch Originals was sold to Groupe Royer S.A. in 2009.[1] In 1996 he had his first daughter named nadja sorensen

Planet illogica[edit]

Influenced by the free and open trade mentality of Freetown Christiania, an artist enclave near Copenhagen, and his success as a brand entrepreneur at Von Dutch, Sorensen was inspired to build an online artistic community.[17] In 2007 he partnered with Ken Goldstein, founder of marketing agency Six Shooter LA, and formerly Marketing Director of Von Dutch, to form Planet illogica,[18] an online collaborative tool for artists. The site launched in July 2009 with the help of the American Film Institute's Digital Content Lab.[19][20]

The site and organization are designed to serve as a tool to help artists create, promote and sell their work, and build collaborative relationships with other artists and commercial brands.[21] Planet illogica's business model relies on product sales and licensing of user-generated content,[22] Borrowing on Sorensen's earlier experience with Von Dutch, Planet illogica focuses on the commercial intersection between emblematic art and brand associations with that art, deliberately fostering relationships between art, brand imagery and commercial advertising.[23]

Planet illogica also serves as a vehicle for Sorensen to scout and develop talent. Select artists are supported by the organization's artist in residence program, which provides marketing, management, legal and financial support for the artist, and which facilitates joint artistic ventures with Planet illogica's alliance partners. Planet illogica's affiliate network includes Nike, Sony PlayStation, Best Buy and Guitar Center, among others.[24][25]

Examples of Planet illogica's marketing support of its artists in residence include their 2010 South by Southwest art exhibit of American contemporary artist Ron English's Historic KISS art and other music-related prints,[26] and its online sale and promotion of custom limited edition apparel from English's Popaganda collection.[23][27][28] Planet illogica continues Sorensen's promotion of fashion lines, with its launch of artist Civil Smith's American Heritage apparel collection, the California Christiania Republic line[29][30] and Sorensen's own Tonny Sorensen Collection.[31]

California Christiania Republic[edit]

In 2010, Tonny Sorensen officially launched his new clothing brand, California Christiania Republic,[32] or CCR, with a one-piece casual suit called the one*Z. The clothing item, which is adorned with the "Freedom Star" of CCR, was clearly featured in several popular music videos, including Willow Smith's debut music video, "Whip My Hair"[33][34]

The name of the clothing line is a reference and homage to Freetown Christiania and part of Sorensen's effort to save the town,[35] from being taken over by the current Danish government.[36][37][38]

Other social ventures[edit]

Sorensen has also engaged Planet illogica and his Tonny Sorensen Foundation to support other social ventures, including Manifest Equality, an art and music event used as vehicle to raise awareness of LGBT civil rights,[39] the Starts With U Global Sustainability Symposium’s work regarding social inclusion of minority groups,[40] Climate Refugees, a documentary about climate change,[41] and the Save Our Oceans Tour, which is a series of music, film and art installations,[42]


Sorensen's auto collection features the most valuable motorcycle in the world, Steve McQueen's Von Dutch 1929 Scott 596cc Super Squirrel,[43] a rare Ray Allen world champion 1970 Chevelle,[44] and a 1969 Mercury Cyclone Boss 429 NASCAR (winner of the 1969 NASCAR circuit).[45]

Tonny Sorensen's Von Dutch-restored 1929 Super Squirrel.

His art collection includes works from lowbrow and pop-surrealism artists Basquiat, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Kenny "Von Dutch" Howard and Ed "Big Daddy" Roth.[46][47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Profile of Von Dutch Originals, LLC". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  2. ^ "Hollywoodstjerner i Christiania-outfit". Retrieved 2011-02-24.
  3. ^ "Still Crazy for their Hats and Jeans". Hilary Fashion. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  4. ^ Official Report, Games of the XXIVth Olympiad Seoul 1988, Volume 2, Competition Summary and Results (PDF). September 1989. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  5. ^ "International Championships, 10th World Taekwondo Championships". World Taekwondo Federation. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  6. ^ "World Taekwondo Championship Medalists". Hickok Sports. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  7. ^ "Tonny Sorensen: CEO and Owner, Von Dutch Originals; Co-founder, Planet Illogica (Los Angeles)". X Media Lab. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  8. ^ "Full cast and Crew for American Intellectuals". IMDb. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  9. ^ Moore, Booth (2004-01-13). "Hats off to Von Dutch". AZ Central. Retrieved 2006-07-21.
  10. ^ "Von Rich. It's official: Von Dutch is now an artist". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  11. ^ a b c Patton, Phil. "The Ad Nauseum (sic) Marketing of Von Dutch". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
  12. ^ Martinez, Arlene (2004-04-20). "Injunction Upheld Against Ex-Von Dutch Owner". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  13. ^ a b "Von Dutch:Behind the Brand". Hilary Fashion. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  14. ^ "Hats off to Von Dutch". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  15. ^ "Von Dutch:Behind the Brand". New Faces Free Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  16. ^ "Von Dutch Jeans". KitMeOut:Original Online Fashion Brand Directory. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  17. ^ "Creatives network on Net". Variety Magazine.
  18. ^ "COMMSEC entrepreneur series". Boardroom Radio Australia. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  19. ^ "Planet Illogica Artist in Residence Program". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  20. ^ "AFI FEST 2009 Presented by AUDI presents third AFI Digifest November 4 and 5". American Film Institute. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  21. ^ "LittleBigPlanet "The Patch" – New Artists and Levels". PlayStation.
  22. ^ "Commsec Entrepreneur Series. Tonny Sorenson & Ken Goldstein: Co Founders of Planet Illogica". Boardroom Radio Australia. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  23. ^ a b "Ron English, Pop Artist (INTERVIEW)". Trendhunter Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  24. ^ Swart, Sharon (2010-02-24). "Creatives network on Net:Online collaboratives a new source for film distribution". Variety. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  25. ^ "Planet illogica Artist in Residence Program". Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  26. ^ "Rock & Roll According to Ron English". Juxtapoz Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  27. ^ "Popaganda, The Art and Crimes of Ron English". Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  28. ^ "Ron English store". Planet illogica. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  29. ^ "CEO and Owner, Von Dutch Originals; Co-founder, Planet Illogica (Los Angeles)". X Media Lab. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  30. ^ "Who is Civil Smith?". Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  31. ^ "Planet illogica shop, Tonny Sorensen". Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  32. ^ "Dave teams up with CCR on MTV's "The Buried Life"..."
  33. ^ "Willow Smith Wears $99 CCR OneZ Jumpsuit in "Whip My Hair" Video".
  34. ^ "Wanna Dress Like Willow Smith".
  35. ^ "Pajama-party at Zen".
  36. ^ "Copenhagen Forum: Danish government to take control of Christiania".
  37. ^ "Ezra Fox Explores Christiania the Free – Denmark's (Sort Of) Lawless Place".
  38. ^ "Danish Supreme Court Deals Blow To Hippie Enclave".
  39. ^ "Vote for Love:Manifest Equality Art Show". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  40. ^ "SWU and Nestle present the Global Sustainability Symposium". Starts With U. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  41. ^ "The human face of climate change". Care International. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  42. ^ "Oceans is on tour". Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  43. ^ "1929 Scott Super Squirrel, restored by Von Dutch Originals". AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  44. ^ "1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 Convertible". Keith Martin’s Sports Car Market. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  45. ^ "1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler and Spoiler II History". Legendary Collector Cars. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  46. ^ "On 15 July 2009, the world's leading creative talents join forces at Planet Illogica". Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  47. ^ "East X West I: Tonny Sørensen House". Juxtapoz Magazine. Retrieved 2010-10-05.

Lisa Howard / In my eyes as a child

External links[edit]