There’s a running joke in the fashion industry that it’s always fashion week somewhere. In recent years cities around the world, from Amsterdam to Berlin, Istanbul to Budapest, have been trying to get theirs off the ground, showcase homegrown design talent and help boost tourism. And yet, the best designers still prefer to make the biannual pilgrimage to Milan and Paris to preview their seasonal collections.
Copenhagen Fashion Week, which has been running since Tuesday, is one of the few exceptions: slowly but surely the Danish capital has been catching up with the more established fashion cities and luring the industry’s bigger players to take the flight to Copenhagen twice a year. There are plenty of reasons for its success. First, there’s the Danes’ refreshingly relaxed approach to dressing: designers here focus on serving people’s everyday needs before addressing their own creative fancies.
This season there was also a plethora of new talent, such as up-and-coming tailor Berner Kühl, and an impressive showcase of material innovation. I was particularly struck by Norse Projects’ new merino wool sweaters, which have volcanic ash embroidered inside their fibres to help regulate the wearer’s body temperature.
There’s another, less visible factor that has helped Copenhagen establish itself: Danes show their guests a good time by creating a relaxed, friendly environment that facilitates conversations, new ideas and opportunities to discover their city as much as their fashion. “It’s important to share good energy with our guests,” Cecilie Liv Mortensen, head of design at Copenhagen-based Wood Wood, tells me a few hours before the brand closed a bridge by the harbour to host its 20th-anniversary show. “After all, they come to Copenhagen to experience something different.”
Natalie Theodosi is Monocle’s fashion editor. Hear more on Copenhagen Fashion Week from her on today’s edition of ‘The Monocle Daily’ on Monocle 24.