While it may not be one of the main fashion capitals, Copenhagen Fashion Week has continued to climb in global recognition since we began covering it a year ago. Of the world's many off-the-beaten-path fashion weeks, it has a strong identity rooted in covetable contemporary fashion that's either confidently minimalist or unapologetically playful. Brands like Ganni, Saks Potts, Stine Goya and Cecilie Bahnsen are quickly gaining U.S. stockists, press and street style play, proving that Copenhagen is a city deserving of the industry's attention. And with many designers prioritizing sustainable production methods and affordable prices, these are clothes you can feel good about owning, too.
For Fall 2018, Copenhagen's strongest talents incorporated plenty of Danish cool into their collections, with many having clearly been bitten by the streetwear bug. Read on for our 9 favorites; while you may not be able to buy into them yet, there are plenty of styling tricks to steal.
In its first show since a majority investment by an LVMH-linked private equity firm late last year, Ganni was easily the most-anticipated event of Copenhagen Fashion Week with by far the largest audience — the Marc Jacobs or Prada of the week, with countless Danish cool girls wearing the label in attendance. Of course, Ganni isn’t a luxury label like the aforementioned and it isn't trying to be. Still, it was a little odd to see so much fanfare around this collection, which was simply inspired by Copenhagen: Blown up photos of the city by Ana Kras lined the runway and models were dressed as more playful versions of the girls you'd see walking around in baggy suiting, chunky sneakers with visible socks, dresses over pants and utilitarian-inspired jumpsuits. While undeniably cool and wearable, the collection wasn't particularly awe-inspiring. At the same time, it’s kind of nice to see so much praise for clothes one can actually afford and wear.
Baum und Pferdgarten
If you didn't already want a pair of white boots, this collection will seal the deal. Almost every look was styled with this ubiquitous-in-street-style footwear and they were the perfect accompaniment to a subtly '80s-inspired collection of equally desirable and on-trend — if not totally original — pieces. Highlights included ruffled dresses, quilted jumpsuits, corduroy pantsuits and fur-accented jackets.
Many refer to Cecilie Bahnsen as the Simone Rocha of Copenhagen and that's pretty accurate — not necessarily because she’s mimicking Rocha, but because she's doing sweet, feminine pieces the Copenhagen way by incorporating tomboyish elements and refreshing wearability. And it's working: The show, held in Copenhagen’s Galleri Nicolai Wallner, had the specific type of buzz you feel in the presence of a rising star. Models weaved around a glass sculpture by Dan Graham, reflecting Bahnsen’s sculptural approach to designing her girlish-yet-minimalist dresses and skirts, which this time were accessorized with slouchy sweaters, T-shirts and black Converse sneakers with socks. Despite their voluminous shapes and sometimes heavy quilted fabrics, the pieces felt youthful and light as air in a pared-back color palette of solid black, white, pink and green. The dresses' thin straps, sometimes tied in the back in precious-but-not-too-precious bows, were particularly alluring.
Designer Anne Vest works primarily with an admittedly controversial material — fur — but for those who don't object to it, her skill with color and shape is noteworthy. Colors ranged from chic black to playful pinks, polka dots and color blocking in cozy, oversize shapes, as well as a few deconstructed pieces. Her pink fur parka was a highlight and I'm sure many of the street-style stars front row took note of the off-kilter way in which she styled some coats: with one arm out of the sleeve with the hand in the pocket. What will they think of next?
Fashion still has a thing for angsty teens, and menswear designer Martin Asbjorn distilled that perfectly for one of the week’s coolest collections. The youthful, nostalgic collection featured choker necklaces, '90s Johnny Depp lookalikes and artful layers including oversized polo shirts and sweatshirts. The highlights were in the details including a sweater bearing the word "Teenage," custom Doc Martens with "teenage" and "dirtbag" printed on either shoe and even the shoelaces, and other subtle imprints of these words. It had the whole audience smiling and scrambling to capture the words of Wheatus with their iPhones.
Another one of Copenhagen's brands to watch, Stine Goya, held an intimate presentation and dinner in its lovely, Parisian salon-like studio with Instagram-ready pink walls. Models rotated positions around a dinner table while a string quartet played versions of familiar songs ranging from The Nutcracker to Britney Spears. It was a fun setting for a fun collection filled with bright colors and floral patterns on otherwise wearable silhouettes: The suits in particular are likely to be bestsellers with new retailers like Net-a-Porter. The one factor this presentation could have used, however? A bit more model diversity.
Mark Kenly Domino Tan
Mark Kenly Domino Tan stands out in Copenhagen for being a bit more directional than the city's many minimalist, contemporary designers. His clothes still feel mostly wearable, but with more artful, unexpected touches that make for a beautiful, luxurious aesthetic. His Fall 2018 collection, shown in a raw, cold (literally) concrete structure, was no exception, featuring an appealing chic-librarian vibe with deconstructed blazers, suiting, trench coats and languid skirts all paired with chunky loafers.
We're not sure if it’s the impending Olympic games, but winter sports and outdoor activities seemed to be on a lot of designers' minds this season, and directly inspired Norwegian brand Holzweiler’s collection — specifically the native people of Norway's polar areas and their way of dealing with extreme weather. This resulted in some of the coziest looks we saw all week — many of which I wanted to rip right off the models and wear out into the cold, rainy Copenhagen streets.
While Copenhagen Fashion Week is nothing to scoff at, Astrid Andersen is one of the event's more established names and also shows at London Fashion Week, which offers her more of a global stage. Copenhagen's Radisson Blu seemed like an odd backdrop for one of the week's most polished and cohesive collections but somehow it worked. Andersen was inspired by the Buffalo collective of artists and designers of '80s London — her own way of getting in on the streetwear aesthetic that has pervaded CPHFW and fashion as a whole this season — only her sweatsuits and oversized coats were much more elevated.