Copenhagen Fashion Week: fun, diversity and a new way of understanding influencer culture
Whistles, applause and enthusiastic cheers set the tone for most of the shows at Copenhagen Fashion Week, held in the Danish capital from February 1 to 4. Despite the heavy rain and temperatures close to 0°C, the event directed by Cecilie Thorsmark promised to celebrate local fashion and the support of its loyal community. And indeed it did: a non-stop party scene, spectacular catwalk shows at well-known venues in the city, stylish street style looks and crowded front rows of young people, where artists mingled with Gen Z editors and influencers who see extravagant and fun fashion as a way to express themselves rather than as a way to attract the attention of cameras.
Copenhagen is proudly a unique fashion week, with a niche positioning that sets it apart from other major fashion weeks. Smaller in size and with a more selective audience, Copenhagen fashion week is known to be at the forefront of style and sustainability, and creates synergies with the Revolver and CIFF fashion fairs, which were held in parallel and even hosted some of the catwalk shows on their grounds.
On its way to international stardom, the fashion event had 25 shows in its official calendar, to which 18 environmental responsibility standards were applied, such as holding "zero-waste" shows, refraining from using single-use plastics or including at least 50% of recycled or leftover stock materials in the collections presented. Copenhagen is a pioneer in this area, having become the first fashion capital to have imposed such requirements.
Ganni: Denmark's pride and joy
Described as "one of the most special collections ever designed" by Ganni's creative director Ditte Reffstrup in an interview with FashionNetwork.com on the eve of its latest fashion show; "Butterflies" represented a moment of metamorphosis for one of the most renowned Danish brands in the world. Following in the footsteps of its latest collaborations with brands such as Levi's and Barbour, the brand once again opted for intercultural synergies, creating the concept of the collection with artist Esben Weile Kjær and teaming up with Los Angeles-based creative artist Veneda Carter to create a line of golden jewellery, which will be released in March.
Held at the Arken Museum of Modern Art, a little over 20 kilometres from the centre of Copenhagen, the show brought together members of the brand's community, such as influencers Blanca Miró, Sophia Roe and Pernille Teisbaek. Staged in front of a digital projection displaying the movements of a surrealist butterfly, the looks presented were more feminine and sophisticated than in previous collections, while still retaining the brand's signature playful touch.
Great attention to detail was paid in creating the garments in order to curate a refined wardrobe featuring various tailored pieces such as a grey wool three-piece; denim ensembles paired with sensual open shirts or low rise trousers; dark blue, red sequinned, or green velvet dresses; and even sparkling details such as the brand's new logo resembling a butterfly.
Sustainability continued to be at the heart of the brand, which, on this occasion, presented a bag made from an innovative and sustainable material, from oranges and cactus, in collaboration with Italian biomaterials manufacturer Ohoskin. Guests travelled to the show together in fuchsia buses bearing the brand's logo in order to limit the environmental impact of their journey while the yellow confetti used to close the show was recycled.
The virality of (Di)vision
An unknown name on an international level earned the gold medal for its high impact on social media. A video was widely shared on social media in which one of the models, who appeared to be a guest at the show got up from her table to walk down the runway, taking with her the tablecloth, cutlery and china that formed part of the train of her dress. Still far from the buzz generated by Coperni's spray-on dress for Bella Hadid, the performance followed the trend of spectacular shows with eye-catching moments created for phone lenses and engagement on various social media platforms.
Founded in 2018 by siblings Nanna and Simon Wick, the brand is known for its casual unisex designs with a strong 90s aesthetic. Their latest collection, which could well have been worn by the pop stars of that time, presented streetwear looks to the beat of Linkin Park, with monochrome ensembles revealing underwear, knitted jumpers with logos, military print overlays, as well as bombers and sweatshirts over semi-transparent tops paired with low-slung trousers or skirts, revealing the models' underwear.
Beanies, mittens, leg warmers and grunge make-up looks adorned the collection, which was mainly made up of leftover stock and vintage garments. The show also unveiled a collaboration with Asics, presenting 25 pairs of upcycled trainers, which went on sale at the Danish sneaker specialist Naked immediately after the show.
However, the most relevant aspect of the show held at the Josty Hotel was not its y2k aesthetic inspired by an unusual fusion between the Met Gala and the attendees of the Woodstock festival in 1999, but the ability to build a young community of followers. The brand currently has five employees and retails through its own flagship store in the city, as well as through wholesale with the help of the Tomorrow multi brand agency. According to fashion insiders in Copenhagen, it is definitely an emerging brand to keep an eye on.
The Saks Potts and Rotate shows
In pursuit of the high social media impact achieved by (Di)vision, the established brands Saks Potts and Rotate followed suit with two shows that were both equally spectacular.
After having organised its last summer fashion show in the central Kongens Nytorv square, the firm led by Barbara Potts and Cathrine Saks returned to another iconic site in the Danish capital. The brand held a massive show at the Concert Hall in the gardens of the Tivoli amusement park, which dates back to 1843.
After walking through lantern-lit paths, past merry-go-rounds and wooden stalls, the guests took their seats in the impressive white-curtained auditorium. An elegant setting featuring a hundred or so children dressed as soldiers playing a folkloric military march kicked off the show. They made their way from the stage to the various aisles between the seats of the audience.
The designers, who founded the brand in their early twenties, celebrated Nordic families by including small children in the arms of the models walking down the runway. The collection was tinged with deep red, lime green, brown and even purple and leopard prints, and embraced the sophisticated functionality of the brand's origins, with midi skirts, long coats and loose-fitting trousers and semi-transparent blouses.
Meanwhile, Rotate held its show in a huge industrial space on the outskirts of the city, located in the Bella Center, the same venue that hosted the CIFF trade show. The show had a celebratory feel to it, featuring music by Kiss, and was attended by hundreds of guests, who cheered as the models, which included American TV personality Lisa Rinna and local influencer Emili Sindlev, walked past.
Created in 2018 by the influencer duo Thora Valdimars and Jeanette Friis Madsen, the brand once again opted for a collection with a markedly festive style, full of glitter, sequins, velvet and leopard print silhouettes. Today, its unique aesthetic has made it one of the fastest-growing Scandinavian brands, with a retail network of more than 400 points of sale around the world.
The Garment's understated minimalism
Founded in 2020 by co-creative directors Sophie Roe and Charlotte Eskildsen, The Garment has not needed many seasons to make a name for itself. Quality fabrics, neutral colour palettes, a sustainable philosophy and a minimalist aesthetic are all part of the recognisable identity of a brand who would be The Row if it had been born in Copenhagen.
Its latest collection, presented in the Fabrikken for Kunst og Design space before a very small audience, was in line with its timeless silhouettes, which included discreet references to the nineties and Scandinavian aesthetics. Soft and cosy knitwear, oversize coats and trousers, masculine tailored looks and pastel yellow versions comprised a collection characterised by contrasting shapes and dimensions, which included the essential accessory present in almost all of the Copenhagen fashion week shows: the balaclava.
Helmsted and Stine Goya's vivid colour palettes
The Natural History Museum of Copenhagen, located in one of the corners of the immense Botanical Garden of the Danish capital, hosted the Helmsted show. The show stayed true to the brand's bold and colourful prints and featured a vivid colour palette ranging from bright oranges, to blues, greens and browns. The collection comprised lightweight quilted coats, casual jumpsuits, peplum tops, ruffled dresses and even a stunning dress made up of voluptuous, colourful tentacles.
Founded in 2018 by Emilie Helmsedt, who emerged at the end of the show with her baby in her arms, the independent label is committed to building connections between fashion and, to date, its distinctive designs are available for purchase in as many as 25 countries around the world.
While last summer the well-known brand Stine Goya opted to present a fashion show around columns of sand that were progressively exploding and melting, in a clear reference to climate change; the brand chose a similar setting this year, although this time adorned with columns of ice. Metallic details were seen in mini-dresses, oversize trousers and long sequinned dresses. Black suits, faux fur skirts and coats, pink denim outfits and touches of fluorescent green in blazers and knitted jackets were also part of the collection.
Launched in 2006 by the eponymous Danish designer, the brand is well-known abroad thanks to its festive and minimalist designs, and has developed a presence in more than 30 countries through three of its own shops in Denmark, as well as points of sale in department stores, independent shops and online retailers. Stine Goya has recently opened its first showroom in London's 180 the Strand.
TG Botanical, Stamm and Selam Fessahaye: Zalando's sustainability partners
This season's busy schedule also saw the fashion shows of three international brands as part of the fifth edition of the Zalando Sustainability Award held at Copenhagen fashion week's venue. The award, which "celebrates and supports brands that drive positive change and contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry", was given to Scandinavian brand Stamm. The brand will be granted the opportunity to create a capsule collection with Zalando, make its latest collection available on its e-commerce site, and receive a prize of 20,000 euros. The brand's commitment to craftsmanship with its recycled down jackets, embroidered leather and traditional Indian Khadi fabrics seduced the jury.
The panel of finalists included Ukrainian firm TG Botanical, produced in Kiev and specializing in sensual silhouettes and natural pigment dyes; in addition to Sweden's Selam Fessahaye. Founded in 2019 in Stockholm, the firm that sees its fashion creations as artistic expression opted for the use of recycled or surplus stock materials, resulting in a collection loaded with flowers, tassels, bold prints and patchwork-style fabrics.
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