7 Emerging Designers At Copenhagen Fashion Week To Discover Before Everyone Else
Copenhagen has become the home of one of the biggest fashion weeks in the world. Just behind the big four — New York, London, Milan, and Paris — the Danish city's three-day-long event offers a fresh take on the fashion landscape that's sometimes missing from the more established cities. As seen with the rise of brands like Ganni, Cecilie Bahnsen, and Saks Potts, Copenhagen Fashion Week is home to emerging brands making a name for themselves — both in Denmark and beyond. The benefit of an emerging market like Copenhagen, of course, is that many of the brands are still relative unknowns to shoppers in the U.S. That's what makes it as, if not more exciting than New York or Paris.
"I'm just speaking from the fashion retail side, but I do feel like Copenhagen Fashion Week is the place to be," Caroline Maguire, Fashion Director at Shopbop, tells me between between shows. "There's so much excitement here with young and emerging talent that we really pride ourselves on finding and bringing to our customer." Last season, Maguire says, it was brands like Holzweiler and Mads Nørgaard that she was most excited about.
This time around, show-goers buzzed about brands like Stine Goya, Hojsberg, and MUNTHE — the latter of which is about to pick up serious steam. Ahead, the seven emerging brands that showed at Copenhagen Fashion Week that everyone will be talking about six months from now.
Danish designer Julie Brøgger launched her London-based namesake line in 2016, though the Spring/Summer 2020 season was the brand's runway debut. Despite an impromptu rainstorm, the show was a beauty: Key pieces include double-oversized blazers suits in modern colorways, asymmetrical, high-cut dresses with ruffles at the hem, and breezy maxi silhouettes in punchy colors.
Maybe she's not reinventing the wheel with her designs, but she is bringing a fresh mentality to a sometimes tired space. Brøgger told TZR that she's inspired the mentality of second-wave feminists, like her mom, and those who test the boundaries of their own gender. "It's not about making it unisex, but rather, that whomever wants to wear it, no matter their gender, can do so."
Copenhagen-based MUNTHE is the epitome of a contemporary brand. Though it’s been around for 15 years longer than Ganni, one of its closest competitors, the modern woman likely sees MUNTHE as a breezier alternative to the cult-favorite brand: It’s for the girl who likes trend-forward pieces, but with a twist. Sometimes even literally.
And designer Naja Munthe knows exactly how to play to that crowd: The brand is a favorite among Danish influencers Pernille Teisbaek and Tine Andrea, and MUNTHE may have recruited a new more followers during Copenhagen Fashion Week, if the prevalence of its logo hoodie was any indicator. For Spring/Summer 2020, the brand went a little styling-heavy on the runway, mixing asymmetrically buttoned oxfords with skirts cut on the bias that, at first glance, appeared to be a pile of fabric in motion.
But off the runway, each piece stands alone triumphantly: a maxi dress that pays homage to Brancusi’s most famous work was one style to note, and a plaid three-piece track suit that would look as intentional together as they would apart could very well sell out. Though it doesn’t yet ship directly to the US, the brand’s Net-a-Porter exclusives give the stateside set a taste of the much-heralded brand.
Designer Stine Goya may seem like an unlikely paragon of whimsy at first, what with her soft-spoken demeanor and understated, European way of dressing. But Goya comes to life with the same unbridled energy that matches her Spring/Summer 2019 collection the moment she starts to talk about it.
"This season, we were fascinated with the expressive aesthetics, the freedom of expression, and inclusivity of the ballroom culture," she says over lunch the day before the show. "We watched the film Paris Is Burning and got very inspired. We wanted to reflect and express it."
The show, which featured models sourced from the ballroom dance community, was one of the most electric of the week. Nearly all sashayed down the runway — one wearing a cobalt babydoll dress with tights in a coordinating pattern, another in a floral suit, which was paired with a similar floral button-down because more is more is more — and eventually broke into a full-on dance party in lieu of a finale.
Later, during a studio visit after the show, Goya reiterated her love of color, specifically. "We wanted to bring so much color and so many prints, especially exaggerated prints," she tells me. "It had to be fun; you could feel from the show it's about expressing personality. That's our DNA."
Little Liffner is one of those emerging brands that makes you question your own categorical knowledge of the accessories landscape. Once you discover it, you wonder how it's possible that you ever didn't know it. The Swedish brand, which launched in 2012 but became a household name among fashion folk in recent seasons, is about Scandi as it gets. Designer Paulina Liffner von Sydow's refined, minimalist collections feature of-the-moment silhouettes like baguette, top handle, and even an oversized tulip tote for the schleppers among us. (In fact, I'm stopped on the street almost every time I wear mine.)
"As almost always, come spring I was inspired by Mediterranean living this season," the designer tells me. "The collection celebrates the joyful spirit of travel and the creative processes that only travel can spark. Organic shapes and natures unexpected ways has inspired the bag silhouettes and hardware that combine pebble and rock shapes, with flowing wavy lines."
Liffner von Sydow also played with color more with this offering than in seasons past. Though much of the collection is grounded in the same neutrals that have become synonymous with Little Liffner, this time around, the palette also has "a variation of blues, from deep navy to bright sky and hints of turquoise punctuated by limey yellows, orange and a pop of watermelon pink," she says.
"More and more I want to explore how to create playfully given my minimalist Scandinavian outlook and roots, balancing my love for simplicity with a continuous desire for newness and artistic development. I happy to think this collections embodies that idea." We'll co-sign that.
Baum und Pferdgarten
Similar to Stine Goya, Baum und Pferdgarten creative directors Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave were also inspired after watching a film; this time, it was a documentary on American dancer Bobbi Jene. “Dance is one of the purest forms of self-expression, it has a transformative and liberating power,” Hestehave said in the show notes. “Bobbi Jene expresses her own individuality, and encourages others to do the same. We wanted to create a collection that evokes this liberated spirit of a dancer. There is a sense of movement and change throughout.”
Baum und Pferdgarten’s resulting Spring/Summer 2020 collection was just that: a mix of flowing separates in silk, organza, and lightweight mesh that looked its best while in motion. Some pieces, including a subtly printed windbreaker and a sheer maxi dress in a spring-minded peach hue with a bucket hat to match, appeared light as air; others, like a Day-Glo orange Bermuda shorts suit layered over inky tights, appeared to have a bit more heft. You almost can’t help but think the trend-adjacent collection was designed with Instagram at top-of-mind.
Swedish brand STAND STUDIO used to be one of Stockholm Fashion Week's most talked-about highlights, but with the closure of SFW, Stand made its way to Copenhagen. This is the brand's second season in the Danish city's fashion week, and it's steadily received a warm welcome.
Instead of focusing on thematic concepts from season to season, designer Nellie Kamras — whose family was in the leather business — chose to launch the brand in 2014 with a focus on textiles: suedes, wools, faux furs, shearlings, and, of course, leathers. According to its site, the brand aims to "pay tribute to the simplicity of pure leather, making every piece highly wearable and the perfect companion to a capsule wardrobe." It continues, "inspiration is found in the feminine effortless chic air, with an iconic Scandinavian simplicity and purity to every garment."
For Spring/Summer 2020 specifically, Kamras went to the '60s. Just about every look mixed psychedelic prints like sophisticated tie-dye and kaleidoscope clouds, with oversized snakeskin motifs — the latter of which were shown in a rainbow of hues. An outerwear brand at its finest, STAND will find a home in many a stateside maximalist's closet.
I wore the brand’s sheer neon green top around town the night before Copenhagen Fashion Week would officially erupt and — despite it being about one million times louder than anything I’d usually wear — I felt surprisingly comfortable in it. (The compliments didn’t hurt either.) But that’s the brand’s entire ethos: It just makes you happy to look at it, and even happier to be wearing it. Though it’s adjacent to more familiar emerging brands like Paloma Wool or Courtyard LA, Hosbjerg’s entire brand is infused with the playful, maximalist vibe that had been missing over the last few years. Think: trippy prints and brightly colored leathers.
Its identity is “based on sporty references that still manage to emphasize the feminine and modern woman,” according to its website — and that certainly holds true for Spring/Summer 2020: sheer basics like the neon green style are carried throughout each collection, and Hosbjerg designer Sofie Ken does a fantastic job at adding key leather pieces, like a poppy yellow mini skirt, or a hefty pink button-down that feels refreshingly mod.