By  on February 21, 2008

COPENHAGEN — It might not rank as a major fashion capital yet, but Copenhagen is certainly bursting at the seams.

During fashion week this year — sandwiched between New York and London on the international circuit — the whole city took part. Taxi drivers were equipped with show schedules and a giant plasma screen outside city hall broadcast fresh-from-the-runway images, as did countless cafes, for Copenhagen's style-hungry denizens.

Even the royal family pitched in. Escorted by the police from fashion show to trade event in a black limo with tinted windows, Crown Princess Mary stopped in on runway shows such as Day Birger et Mikkelsen and Designers Remix Collection, as well as the Naja Lauf and Wood Wood stands at the CPH Vision and Gallery trade shows held here concurrent to fashion week Feb. 7 to Feb 10.

With Danish unemployment at record lows and the seventh highest gross national income per capita in the world, it's easy to see why Denmark's fashion industry is booming despite looming international economic concerns.

Stroll down Stroget Street, Europe's longest pedestrian corridor and the Nordic city's main shopping artery, and discover fashion boutiques popping up in impressive numbers to cater to a picture-perfect, trendy population with an outfit for every occasion.

"Sixty new fashion stores opened in Copenhagen last year," said Ditte Reffstrup, women's wear buyer for Pede & Stoffer, a popular Copenhagen boutique that counts four doors in Denmark. "Each year Copenhagen gets more and more into fashion. There is a very high concentration of people that are fashionable, especially for a small city. Today clients also want brands coming from other countries, such as France and London."

Ganni, Noir and Stine Goya, as well as French hipsters Isabel Marant and Vanessa Bruno, are among the best-selling lines in Reffstrup's shops.

The Danish Fashion Institute, which organizes the runway shows, had 40 on the calendar this season, up from 28 six months ago.

"Customers are always looking for new brands," said Sabine Thomsen, buyer for the recently opened Badeanstalten (Public Bath in English), which is located in an old bathhouse off Stroget. Badeanstalten is owned by Samsøe & Samsøe, a fashion label and multibrand retailer with 14 stores in Scandinavia.

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