Copenhagen pulls off biggest fashion week yet despite brands’ financial worries

Notably, there was strong attendance from US press and buyers this season. “We love how wearable and accessible the collections have been in Copenhagen,” says Rickie De Sole, women’s fashion and editorial director for American department store Nordstrom. “There is a lot for us here in the contemporary space, and the broad appeal of these collections to a wide demographic certainly resonates with our customer.”

Copenhagen has become an important stop on the season’s fashion circuit, echoes Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. “It features inventive, thoughtfully produced collections and emerging brands that have overcome the minimal Scandi-style label often associated with the region’s fashion,” he says.

The increased presence of US buyers was by design. “We are focusing on the American market as we have seen huge awareness and growth of this territory with our brands,” Thorsmark says. CPHFW is also targeting Asia. It’s a smart move: London Fashion Week — frequently compared to Copenhagen as a platform for buzzy emerging designers — often loses its young brands to Milan or Paris once they start to scale, where they can reach more Asian buyers.

The presence of overseas buyers in Copenhagen was boosted by the merging of its two biggest fashion trade shows, CIFF and Revolver, into one event timed alongside fashion week — helping to make the most of attendance.

“There’s a huge synergy between the events,” says CIFF CEO Sofie Dolva, who took over in January this year. “We have a lot of the on-schedule brands here. Buyers have less time as the fashion week grows, so rather than go to individual showrooms they can come here.” The trade shows provide “great scouting grounds and new discoveries in womenswear and menswear categories”, says Bergdorf Goodman’s Pask, highlighting new talents like Berner Kühl and Mark Kenly Domino Tan.

New talents, same challenges

A Roege Hove, which won the Karl Lagerfeld prize for innovation at this year’s Woolmark Prize, opened CPHFW on Monday with a drizzly outdoor show, presenting new silhouettes of her sculptural and barely there knitwear, which the brands says is produced with no waste. Elsewhere, exciting debuts came from streetwear designer Rolf Ekroth and womenswear designer Nicklas Skovgaard, whose performance-based show was a bold first outing. Paolina Russo, another newcomer to CPHFW and winner of the first Zalando Visionary Award — which was presented during the event — presented a wearable collection of printed T-shirts, layering and tie-dyed jeans.

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