COPENHAGEN — With the Danish fashion industry no longer impervious to the global economic downturn, local designers are responding with brighter colors and wearable clothing designed to appeal to international markets. The industry is also looking beyond Europe, especially to China.
For the first time since 2009, the Danish industry is going through some turbulence. In the first four months of 2012, the country’s clothing exports, which represent roughly 92 percent of the turnover of Denmark’s fashion industry, fell 4 percent versus the same period a year ago, according to Dansk Fashion and Textile, the trade association for Danish textile and clothing companies. Exports were up 11.1 percent in 2011 versus 2010.
“The drop is mainly due to the southern European countries like Italy, Spain and France, which each recorded a 20 percent drop. Exports to the German and Scandinavian markets are still increasing, but cannot outweigh the decrease in the other dropping markets,” commented Michael Hillmose, head of international affairs at Dansk Fashion and Textile.
Hillmose said Denmark’s fashion industry is expected to record flat revenues for the full year 2012. In 2011, it generated turnover of 25.9 billion Danish kroner, or about $4.84 billion at average exchange rates.
Eva Kruse, chief executive officer of Copenhagen Fashion Week, said even though times are difficult, there is still energy and optimism.
The event, which ran from Aug. 8 to 12, opened with a show by rising young talent Freya Dalsjö at Tap 2, a raw factory space in the Carlsberg area, which was being used as a one-shot venue to stage fashion shows, as the City Hall, the usual location for Copenhagen fashion shows, was already booked.
Seven labels made their Copenhagen runway debuts this season, including French Connection, Odeur, Hubert, New Generals and Adidas Originals. Among the 45 labels on the schedule were regulars By Malene Birger, Bruuns Bazaar and Henrik Vibskov, joined this season by native son Peter Jensen, who returned to Copenhagen Fashion Week after showing in London and New York. He previewed pieces from the collection that he will present during London Fashion Week.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who recently landed on Vanity Fair’s 2012 International Best-Dressed List, did not attend the shows this season, as she was in London for the Olympics.
Overall, the trade fair Gallery reported a record 12,101 visitors, up 5 percent from February 2011 and 10 percent versus August last year. (One Gallery exhibitor joked that the large number of U.K. buyers were there to avoid the Olympics.) The Vision show — born from the merger of CPH and Terminal-2 and now housed together in the former Terminal-2 venue — registered 17,838 visitors. It was an increase compared with August last year, according to Vision ceo Peter Fenger Selchau. CPH Vision and urban and denim show Terminal-2 had, respectively, 10,251 and 11,258 visitors attending in August 2011, but figures cannot be compared, as many buyers visited both fairs last year, Fenger Selchau pointed out.
Copenhagen International Fashion Fair has undergone a major rebranding, with a new, cleaner logo by artistic director Mark Jubber. “We want to have a higher level of design-driven brands,” CIFF’s fashion and design director Kristian Andersen explained. For the first time, jewelry featured alongside fashion.
Buyers waxed lyrical about the region’s fashion offer.
“Danish fashion is evolving. Compared to five years ago, it used to be dark, gray and white, but they saw that clients in other countries need colors, especially for summer. If they want to roll out, they need to spice it up — maybe not for the domestic market but for exports. And that’s what they are doing,” said Sophie Peperstraete, a buyer for Filani, a multibrand store in Antwerp, Belgium.
“Scandinavian fashion used to be dark. I see a shift toward more cheerful colors,” agreed Michael Benarroch, a buyer for French department store chain Galeries Lafayette.
He fell for Finnish brand Marimekko’s new collection, shown at Gallery before its official presentation during New York Fashion Week — in particular, a coat with striking colors and oversize pockets, which he saw as reminiscent of Celine. Benarroch also lauded Jensen’s spring collection, inspired by the early Sixties, which featured bubblegum pinks, prints, trouser suits and leather bags.
“You always find their clear Nordic aesthetics, the unfinished raw looks. But at the same time, lots of designers are breaking the boundary by taking inspiration from other cultures,” noted Sonja Long Xiao, founder of Alter, a multibrand concept store in Shanghai.
Alter carries Danish designer Camilla Skovgaard, alongside Roland Mouret and Roberto Cavalli. Among the standout collections she saw this time were Anne Sofie Madsen and Jean//Phillip. “It is not easy to find Danish designers in China….It would be a huge potential here.”
“Scandinavians are really strong in fashion,” said Barbara Körmendi, a buyer for the Wood Wood store in Berlin, which boasts its own label as well as Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Band of Outsiders and Peter Jensen. Among her favorites were Henrik Vibskov, especially his signature prints in knitwear, even for summer.
Mike Mortensen, a buyer from Stoy Munkholm, a hip multibrand store in Aarhus, Denmark, that carries Acne and Wood Wood, said they will add Billionaire Boys Club to the offer. “It is new and has a more American style, compared to Norse or Wood Wood, which have a more Scandinavian aesthetic,” he said, forecasting that caps would be a big trend for spring, both for men and women.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews