When somebody asked me what’s the next fashion capital after Paris, London, Milan and New York? My answer without doubt was Copenhagen. When it comes to fashion and design today – from the labels and looks to the it-girls from Denmark, Sweden and Norway – Scandinavian style is having its moment.
Text: Victoria Al. Lytra
The Danish fashion industry is booming like never before. Successful designers, international fashion fairs and two annual fashion weeks have rightfully put Copenhagen and Denmark on the fashion map of Europe. Some even speak of Copenhagen as the fifth European fashion enclave. With art and fashion collaborating like never before, Scandinavian designers – and especially Danish – through a dialogue with art draw inspiration for new shapes while finding resources to improve existing products.
Henrik Vibskov, Photo: www.dazeddigital.com
Scandinavian style, Ivan Grundahl catwalk, Copenhagen Fashion Week, Photo: Rob Ball, Getty Images
Represented a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the 1950s, Scandinavian design stands out for the “Scandinavian way of living”: beautiful, simple, clean designs, inspired by nature and the northern climate, accessible and available to all, with an emphasis on enjoying the domestic environment. “The design coming out of Scandinavia at the moment is very strong, I think there’s a new movement in fashion design,” says Dorothea Gundtoft, the Danish, Copenhagen-based stylist, author, and curator of Fashion Scandinavia.
Annie Sophie Back catwalk style, Pointed toe loafers fron &OtherStories, Photo: fashiontelegraph.co.uk
But how the principles of Scandinavian design — prioritizing functionality without eliminating grace and beauty – is interpreted in fashion terms? By blending genders since women go for mannish shapes as in life roles there. By cropped trousers not only now but for ages since a higher hem means less splashes in the winter. By flat soles from sneakers – a must for cycling – to clunky boots. By embracing winter with layers, layers, layers and more layers. And finally by going monochrome, or better the lack of color, with black, white, grey and navy to be the main course. Instead, there’s more of a focus on design, shape, tailoring and texture because decisions about color are taken out of the equation. Plus monochrome means everything goes with everything. So, observing their fashion-culture, it seems to come easy to Copenhageners; slapping on 10 layers of clothing, a scarf and boots is done with a grace and elegance rarely found anywhere else in the world. The bottom line is that all Copenhageners are consumed by innate style, which is effortless and artful.
Copenhagen streetstyle, Photo: www.highsnobiety.com
Copenhagen streetstyle, Photo: www.highsnobiety.com
Scandinavian style ”Monochrome”, Photo: www.dazeddigital.com
“Generally Scandinavian fashion is quite sleek, and it’s known to be minimal and simplistic. But a lot of the new designers have studied at the best schools in London so they’re more extreme and more focused on details than before”, mentions Dorothea Gundtoft. The catwalks are adorned with an array of new and well-known Danish talents, cultivating their own unique angle on design, innovation and aesthetics, which favor femininity and functionality. The city has spawned plenty of cool designers, like Stine Goya, Ivan Grundahl, Asger Juel Larsen, Astrid Andersen, Henrik Vibskov, Annie-Sophie Madsen, Nicholas Nybro, the label Wood Wood and many others. According to Angela Andersen “Such designers excel in the art of clothing design that is suited to the frigid weather, as well as the Copenhagener biking lifestyle, yet still oozes sophistication, style and Nordic flair”.
Stine Goya AW13, Photo: www.dazeddigital.com
Astrid Andersen AW12, Photo: www.dazeddigital.com
Henrik Vibskov collection, Photo: observer.com
Anne Sofie Madsen, Photo: observer.com
Freya Dalsjø, Photo: observer.com
Vilsbol de Arce, Photo: www.dazeddigital.com
Asger Juel Larsen, Photo: www.dazeddigital.com
Nicholas Nybro AW15, Photo Thomas Cato via the.culturetrip.com
Wood Wood SS13, Photo: www.dazeddigital.com
Speaking for Scandinavia we cannot miss out the fashion favorite Scandi it-girls, from well-known bloggers such as Pernille Teisbaek (Denmark), Erin Kling (Sweden) and Hanneli Mustaparta (Norway), to models like Nina Agdal and Caroline Brash Nielsen – just to name a few.
The Danish fashion blogger Pernille Teisbaek, Photo: lookdepernille.com
Hanneli Mustaparta, Photo: www.vogue.com
Danish it-girl & model Caroline Brasch Nielsen, Photo: www.vogue.com
Danish model Nina Agdal, Photo: www.vogue.com
Danish fashion stands as the fourth largest export out of all manufacturing industries in the country. Bringing in many billion dollars a year, fashion has become a catalyst in export, employment, and growth in Denmark. According to the Danish Fashion Institute, “Danish fashion companies have a higher shareholder value creation than any other fashion industry globally.” Without a doubt, people in Copenhagen are more fashionable than anywhere else in Scandinavia. The city itself is a vibrant, modern city, with a history that co-exists with all the latest trends in architecture, design and fashion. This is a society that strives to produce problem-solution orientated design, in which the aesthetic form obeys utmost functionality. And this is how designers became well known for their innovative design far beyond the borders of Denmark, so that almost everyone is speaking for the next big thing in fashion and design.