Copenhagen Fashion Week Continues on Trajectory as Growing Hub
COPENHAGEN ‘ Despite a more compact four-day schedule, Copenhagen Fashion Week’s fall 2018 edition left the impression of a growing international hub, offering an amalgamation of trade shows, runway presentations and consumer-facing side events exulting Danish design.For brands, the Danish capital seems to fit into a natural void left by the major fashion capitals. ‘When you think of fashion, you think of the four big ones,’ said Stavros Karelis, founder of London-based concept store Machine-A and buying director for Showstudio, who curated an installation at the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair.
‘But I think we have reached a moment where people are looking outside the current systems because, yes, it’s great to be in London, Paris, [Milan] or New York, but there are so many markets around. Seoul, Shanghai, here. It’s nice to explore new territories.’Copenhagen’s fashion week, which ended Feb. 2, unfurled against a healthy backdrop. In 2017, total exports of Danish fashion rose 5 percent to 28.7 billion Danish kroner, or $4.8 billion at current exchange, while domestic turnover grew 2 percent after experiencing a lackluster 2016, according to figures from the Danish Fashion & Textile trade association.Among the country’s key foreign markets are Germany (14 percent growth, to 9 billion Danish kroner) and the Netherlands (13 percent, to 2.6 billion kroner).
Former key markets Norway and Great Britain continue to experience the effects of currency headwinds, and in Britain’s case,’Brexit.This marks a fifth year of growth for the industry as a whole, now culminating at 45 billion Danish kroner, or $7.5 billion.At CIFF, this also meant designers were paying homage to their roots in a variety of ways. At the DIY Chair workshop, visitors could hand-make and personalize their own copy of a chair imagined by designer Max Lamb and with input from Off-White’s Virgil Abloh. According to the trade show’s fashion and design director Kristian Andersen, it was ‘almost a way to honor Danish design, although [the resulting design] was a very affordable chair at 12 dollars a-piece.’For 2017 Royal College of Art graduate Arnar’Mar Jonsson, who was selling his graduate collection at the trade show, the attraction of Copenhagen was its nurturing and growth-fostering mind-set.
‘Everyone is understanding. If you go to Paris, you have to dive straight in. Here, people are buying into the concept,’ said Iceland-born Jonsson, who blended sportswear and sports jerseys into a collection where rip-cords and geometric stitching served as a main motif.Labrum’s Foday Dumbuya spent his formative years in Sierra Leone, Cyprus and later, London. He blends British tailoring, workwear and what he calls an African touch in a collection that looks at once utilitarian and readily identifiable.’Likewise, Amir Hassan, whose Twelvepieces brand sold out of its spring 2018 collection on its web site with little promotion, nodded to the air route between Denmark and Egypt, where his family originates, in a collection of neat yet laid-back separates produced in limited runs of 12 (hence the brand’s moniker).
Coming full-circle was London-based, Danish-born Haerwerk. Royal College of Art alum Niels Gundtoft Hansen showed a lineup that might be described as Lego-meets-Nineties movie ‘Kids.’ His primary colors and tarpaulin-covered outerwear would look at home in Copenhagen’s anarchist Christiania district.Also in the edgy Raven section of the fair, hit Japanese chain Beams and its cultural engineer Tatsuo Hino were present to showcase three brands selected by the retailer to represent Japan at CIFF: functional workwear-for-creatives clothing brand Te’tora, poetic textile men’s and women’s line Noma, and accessories brands Itti (pronounced it-chi). ‘It is a place where conversations happen, where we spend quality time together,’ said Hino.On the fashion week’s runway schedule were foreign returnees such as Holzweiler'(Norway), Uniforms for the Dedicated (Sweden) or Dutch collective Reconstruct, but also first-time visitors such established Swedish brand J. Lindeberg.
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