Over the last decade, Denmark has attracted international attention with its no-fuss take on fashion. Characterized by an effortlessness in style and function, Danish style has become quite recognizable and an aesthetic everyone dreams about these days. On the topic of the latter, the reason might be the old principle that form follows function — that although Danish designers differ, they have the same thing in common. The design matches the relaxed Danish lifestyle, where your outfit has to fit with a bike ride to work, meetings at the office, a dip in the canal after work and hygge with friends and family. And the upside is that the price point for most brands is quite democratic, a kind of affordable luxury.
This week, the global fashion crowd will be gathering in Denmark’s capital for Copenhagen Fashion Week to see the latest collections from both new and established talent (and hang out in what is probably the most stress-free fashion week of just three days) — with the right mix of shows, dinners, events and ample time to catch up with colleagues and friends. Copenhagen Fashion Week has long been a favorite among influencers, and while the streets will be filled with photographers chasing down the best style, here are the brands you’ll want to keep an eye on this season, both on and off the catwalk.
Although this will be only the fourth season for this young designer, she has already been making her mark in the fashion world — first winning the Danish Design Talent Award in 2016, which made her fashion show last season possible, going on to be a nominee and one of the finalists in the LVMH Prize, thereby making her the first Danish designer to make it to the finals. Bahnsen is known for embroidery, fabric combinations and luxury craftsmanship, and it’ll be interesting to see where her new collection will take her.
A new brand with a strong belief in slow fashion, Carcel ensures that each item is handmade in 100 percent natural materials and by women in prisons. The first collection of richly colored knits is made entirely in baby alpaca fur and produced by female inmates in a Peruvian prison, while the upcoming range was made using silk by women in prisons in Thailand. Carcel will also be setting up a pop-up shop in the Copenhagen offices of Kinfolk Magazine during fashion week. See you there.
BY MALENE BIRGER
Although Malene Birger herself is no longer a part of the brand, her heritage is still visible. She has beautifully orchestrated what is one of the few true Danish fashion houses, while her successor, Christina Exsteen, has taken the brand to a new level, making it her own with respect to the brand’s heritage with takes on feminine suiting, luxurious fabrics and embellishments for the otherwise minimalist collections for the Scandinavian woman. By Malene Birger is a brand fit for a modern-day princess, and it is not unlikely that the stylish HRH Crown Princess Mary will be spotted in the front row.
Its playful universe and colorful palette of pastels and gold have long made Stine Goya a popular designer in Danish fashion. The strong focus on the artistic side of fashion has been shown through numerous coveted collections and collaborations with renowned Danish artists. After a few years of focusing on her business and family, she’s finally back on the runway to celebrate her 10-year anniversary. Her previous shows have more than proven Stine’s showmanship — or should we say showwomanship — and this being an anniversary show, it will be anything but dull.
When one of Denmark’s most treasured designers, Ivan Grundahl, sadly passed away last year all too early, the industry waited in anticipation for the established label’s next step. To everyone’s relief, his son took over the business side, while the creative direction was taken on by Roy Krejberg of Peachoo+Krejberg. His promising first collection was presented at fashion week in February, and it was a new take on Ivan Grundahl: a more avant-garde collection with sharper and more sculptural tailoring, however, with the utmost respect to the legacy of Grundahl himself.
This is one of Danish fashion’s heavy hitters. Henrik Vibskov’s impressive fashion shows, scheduled in both Paris and Copenhagen each season, are always an interesting look into the mind of the designer, who seems to be as much of an artist as a fashion designer; big, mechanic installations that can impressive among even the most jaded international fashion crowd are a great match to his artistic collection. The wearability is never compromised in the collections of graphic knits, striped suits and oversize dresses – and always with an ingenious hat.
BAUM UND PFERDGARTEN
Baum und Pferdgarten’s name is a fun wordplay of the last names of Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave, and a quirky playfulness is exactly what defines the label. Founded in 1999, the pair has played a large role in the founding of modern Danish fashion. They have a talent for creating remarkable prints and fearlessly combining bold, contrasting colors while still maintaining the wearability of the clothes.
Although not on the show schedule this season, Wood Wood is celebrating its 15-year anniversary by throwing a block party with a soccer tournament and the launch of a collaboration with Adidas. The brand’s founders, Karl-Oskar Olsen and Brian SS Jensen, grew up with graffiti and street culture in the ’90s and have attracted attention with their mix of sportswear, high fashion and streetwear. This winning combination has resulted in more than 50 collaborations with brands of all sizes, like Disney, Nike and Eastpak.
You will most likely have come across one of Ganni’s #GanniGirls on Instagram, as they’ve cleverly dubbed the fans of the brand’s easy-to-wear styles. The brand was bought by the couple Nicolaj and Ditte Reffstrup in 2009, and they’ve been fueling the brand and its styles with their own quirky personalities ever since. (It’s one of the reasons for their immediate success. Ditte follows her gut when creating the collections, and it seems to be working.) Expect statement T-shirts, floaty dresses and a strong color palette – both on and off the runway – on an army of some of the top Danish models and cool girls during fashion week.
Originally a menswear designer, Astrid Andersen has split her time since her launch between London and Copenhagen. When she launched womenswear last season, however, she decided to show her collection in Copenhagen; this week marks only her second time presenting a womenswear show in the Danish capital. With fans such as A$AP Rocky, Rihanna and Drake, Andersen is leading the way in the sport-luxe genre and has been redefining premium casualwear, boldly adding unconventional materials such as fur and lace to classic track suits and incorporating bomber jackets for both men and women.