LONDON — Cecilie Bahnsen has been named this year’s winner of the Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize, one of Denmark’s most recognized fashion awards.
The award has been designed as Denmark’s answer to the LVMH Prize to support the most promising up-and-coming talent in Scandinavia. But in light of the pandemic, the Wessel & Vetts Foundation, which spearheads the award, has decided to open up applications to previous winners and finalists in a bid to support some of the country’s existing fashion businesses impacted.
Bahnsen, who is a second-time winner of the accolade, will receive a grant of 200,000 Danish krona as well as mentorship by the prize’s jury, which includes the likes of Rebecca Bay, creative director at Marimekko; Copenhagen Fashion Week chief executive officer Cecilie Thorsmark, and Ganni ceo Nicolaj Reffstrup.
The award was handed to Bahnsen by Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark in a ceremony held in Copenhagen on Thursday.
The other nine finalists will receive grants of 10,000 Danish krona each. They include a number of internationally known names including Astrid Andersen, Carcel, Brøgger and Mfpen.
“This year has been a very different year for the Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize. We wanted to support those who were already in the business, in light of how hard it is for young designers to survive in such a difficult market,” said Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg, initiator of the prize and board member of Wessel & Vetts Foundation, of the foundation’s decision to invite previous winners and finalists back. “The focus this year was on handling the many COVID-19-related challenges and on the necessary, sustainable adaptation.”
Bahnsen’s ability to respond to the crisis and seek “sustainable solutions” — she forewent a traditional collection and presentation this summer in favor of creating an upcycled capsule — stood out to the jury.
“Cecilie creates unique Danish design and won due to her original collections, her work on sustainability, and her way of dealing with the crisis within the industry,” said Thorsmark.
Thorsmark — who has been spearheading a hybrid format at Copenhagen Fashion Week, setting ambitious sustainability goals and more recently forging a partnership with Zalando — pointed to the ongoing difficulties the Danish fashion industry is having to face but also the resilience of the participating brands.
“In these times where everything is constantly changing, and where we are often forced to cancel, everyone in Danish fashion is struggling to cope. Therefore, it is uplifting to meet 10 designers who have not given up. In the finals, everyone showed how skilled they are within their craft, but also explained to the jury how they tackle the crisis, how they adjust and find new sustainable solutions,” added Thorsmark.