By  on October 5, 2007

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.

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