Copenhagen Fashion Week: why we’re all still slaves to Scandi style
Dashing about the cold and drizzly streets of Copenhagen this week for the autumn/winter 2023 edition of the Danish capital’s fashion week, I was reminded why Scandinavian fashion has such an enduring hold on our wardrobes.
Certainly Nordic women, all glowing skin, minimal make-up and untamed beachy tresses, are very beautiful; but it’s their relaxed, comfort-centric way of dressing that makes them so effortlessly cool. Whether a billowing silk dress with trainers, big baggy jeans and a sequin top or an oversized mannish coat thrown over a minidress, there’s a charming ease to it all that one most definitely doesn’t find on the streets of Paris.
“I think the most important thing with Scandi style is that it’s always wearable,” says Denise Christensen, CEO of Birger Christensen, the Copenhagen fashion company that owns Remain and Rotate. “I definitely think that’s what the world is looking at… We inspire women’s wardrobes that they wear everyday.”
Fellow Danish designer Stine Goya agrees: “Comfort is key. You want to look great for the party, but you have to ride your bike to get there.” She designs colourful pieces that work for both: her tailoring is loose and fluid with elasticated waist bands, while her sequin sets have built-in stretch to move and bend with the body. Five years ago brands like Stine’s (along with the likes of Ganni, Helmstedt, Brogger and Saks Potts) replaced any ideas we had of Scandinavian minimalism with a riot of feminine colour, sequins and ruffles. Now Scandi fashion has evolved again, as the last year or two has seen a wave of youth-centric grungy new Nordic names emerge.
“There is a space being carved out in the Copenhagen fashion scene for a more hardcore Gen Z look,” says Ganni co-founder Ditte Reffstrup. “I love seeing how it has diversified.” Leading the pack is (di)vision, a label that works entirely with deadstock and pre-existing materials founded by the Wick siblings Simon, 26, and Nanna, 28, in 2018.
Packed with Copenhagen’s cool kids drinking mini bottles of Jaegermister, their AW23 show went big on a Woodstock ‘99 aesthetic of baggy jeans, checked overshirts and ripped tank tops, all of which hit the runway on the backs of friends, family and partners.
Among those front row was 30-yearold Swedish influencer Anna Winck, whose nostalgia-heavy grunge, vintage and Y2K-inflected wardrobe has made her a streetstyle favourite. This week she soft-launched her debut label Cannari Concept, inspired by her teenage wardrobe and made using pre-loved and recycled clothes.
For Winck, “Scandi fashion is leaving the cuteness and moving into the coolness, the grooviness.” Whatever new form it takes, the world will undoubtedly be watching.