COPENHAGEN — New York, Paris, Milan, London — Copenhagen?
Increasingly style-conscious trade fairs held here concurrent to Danish Fashion Week are helping to secure a place for Scandinavian style on the world's fashion map.
"It is Europe's best-kept secret," said Liz Conover, executive director of merchandising and marketing for New York's Takashimaya, who circled Copenhagen's foremost fashion fair, CPH Vision, as well as the first official session of Gallery, a boutique fair held here.
With fashion ranked as Denmark's fourth-biggest export, growing by nearly 17 percent annually, organizers agree they must concentrate their efforts on luring international buyers from the four corners of the world. "The main aim is to create a Scandinavian platform with established brands as well as young designers that otherwise wouldn't have had a chance to be seen," said Jan Busch Carlsen, organizer of CPH Vision, which displays Scandinavian brands and international labels while also serving as a springboard for fresh talent from all nations in the region.
Scandinavian brands are looking to export because trendy concept stores in their domestic markets are reaching saturation.
"We must focus on international buyers, it is the only way for Danish brands to grow," said Christian Gregersen, organizer of Gallery, the budding boutique trade show that boasted some 80 Scandinavian premium brands such as Noir, Filippa K, Acne Jeans, Whyred and Wonhundred.
Organizers noted an increasing number of international buyers visiting the shows, who lauded the labels on display for their selection of high-quality styles and affordability, despite a strong euro and overall sluggish retail markets.
"Today our customers are well traveled and well educated and can buy anywhere in the world, so we approach our selection from a global nomad point of view and Scandinavian brands have that worldly appeal," said Takashimaya's Conover, adding she's increasing her buying budget by as much as 12 percent.
To meet the growing demand for Scandinavian styles, Takashimaya, which launched an e-commerce site takashimaya-ny.com in late August, hosted a storewide event in New York to present a range of Danish fashion and design last month in the presence of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark."There is a trend of modernity that runs throughout all the collections, it's very architectural without being too structural," said Andrew Mandell, a buyer at Takashimaya, who placed "substantial" orders with Iceland's Steinunn, Denmark's Trine Kryger Simonsen and Bitte Kai Rand. "Very well made clothes and good price points," he noted.
"Price points are more accessible," agreed Eric Atkines, buyer for Polite Society, a 3,000-square-foot, Seattle-based concept store focusing on new international brands. "We are reaching out to small shows to find designer quality lines that can sit next to established designer brands."
Atkines placed orders at Baum und Pferdgarten, By Malene Birger, Julie Fagerholt Heartmade and Iben Hoj. "Scandinavian fashion is incorporated into the country's active lifestyle. It can be sensual and forward as well as functional — just take a look at all the stylish women here on their bicycles."
Indeed, Copenhagen boasts a glamorous gridlock of stylish women who ride bicycles around the city.
After long winters with little sunlight, Scandinavian designers are all for adding a touch of color to their upcoming spring and summer lines. Taking their inspiration from nature, pastel pinks and sun-bright yellows were a recurrent theme at CPH Vision and Gallery. Lightweight knitwear, a Scandinavian specialty, in pastels as well as earth tones were on offer at Denmark's Iben Hoj and Soul Made.
Dresses remained a key direction for the summer 2008 season; however, the slightly more tailored styles on display proved trends are heading away from the loose-fitting looks that dominated stores last year.
Budding Copenhagen-based designer Stine Goya, who presented her first runway show at the Contemporary Arts Center, was looking on the bright side of fashion for her summer collection. Goya sent a line of colorful jumpsuits in pink and turquoise down the runway, while her playful prints — inspired this season by a magnifying glass — continued to underline her collections. "I was inspired by the dreamy world aspect one finds in Michel Gondry's films," said Goya.
She collaborated with Copenhagen's trendy jewelry brand Arena CPH to create a colorful necklace. On Wednesday, Arena CPH will launch Arena 10, the brand's first exclusive line made with 10-karat gold and diamonds. The line will be sold in 10 stores worldwide, including Copenhagen's Storm, Selfridges in London and Fred Segal in Los Angeles.Smart fabrics, such as ultralightweight nylon jackets at Baum und Pferdgarten, or plastic detailing by budding Berlin-based design team Pulver were also key directions for the summer season. Set in CPH Vision's separate hall for rising talent, Pulver's Utopia line, which ranges in price from 40 euros, or $56 at current exchange, to 170 euros, or $238, wholesale, offered elegant dresses with modern touches such as plastic trimmings and blouses with a nacre effect.
Subdued shimmer in blouses and dresses underlined many collections at the fairs. "People recognize Scandinavia for its strong commercial brands with an accessible price point, but today there is an increasing number of Danish designers that are making fashion labels and who are involved on the international fashion scene," said London-based Danish designer Jens Laugesen, who showed his collection in Denmark for the first time since he left to pursue his label abroad. Laugesen's elegantly crafted collection for the summer boasts trompe l'oeil effects on tailored women's suits.
Meanwhile, Scandinavian denim continues to be at the forefront of avant-garde denim styles. At CPH Vision, Sweden's Nudie Jeans presented a range of washed wide-leg denim in ultralight blue, while Acne Jeans also presented a range of new shapes focusing on wide-leg jeans for next summer. "The wide leg is very strong. In the past there has only been one style for denim such as the skinny, but the denim trends are becoming more eclectic, women can one day decide to wear the wide leg, and the next the skinny," said Michael Schiller, president of Acne Jeans, who noted two new Acne Jeans stores will open in Hamburg, Germany, and Oslo next fall.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)