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, told me between between shows last season. "There's so much excitement here with young and emerging talent that we really pride ourselves on finding and bringing to our customer."
Tiffany Hsu, the Fashion Buying Director for luxury e-tailer Mytheresa, echoed Maguire's sentiments: "It's been a growing market for us for a few years now," she said via email release. "We actively look out for new brands from Copenhagen and it's now a regular fashion week visit outside the major fashion cities."
This time around, show-goers buzzed about brands like Rave Review, REMAIN, and STAND — 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.
At this point, it'd be a wonder if Cecilie Bahnsen wasn't on every fashion-person's radar. The Scandi-based label made a name for itself after launching in 2017 thanks to its now-iconic structured silk-organza dresses. For her Fall/Winter 2020 collection, Cecilie Bahnsen finally gave her customer the piece they didn't know they were looking for: the perfect piece of outerwear to go over the dress.
"We instantly fell in love with Cecilie's Fall/Winter 2020 collection, for which she stayed true to her signature aesthetic," Hsu said in an email release, also noting that the brand has "proven to be successful" on Mytheresa. "She updated her offering with intricate knits that are perfect to be worn over her oversized dresses or paired down with a good fitted denim."
In addition to the whites and blacks we've come to see from Bahnsen, this season, the designer also debuted a new color palette complete with baby blues and browns, too.
“We looked at a lot of the Nordic landscapes, the colors that surround us," Bahnsen tells me backstage after her show. "That blue and brown ... felt felt really right and were what I wanted to wear while making the collection. I thought the Lurex was super interesting," she says of the pieces that had a slight sheen, especially while moving. "It had a lightness and a flickering of something unexpected."
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 this season, the brand may have recruited a few more followers thanks to its on-trend collection of buttery leather pants, flowy button-front dresses, and even a pair of rigid denim topped off with a puffer — all of which it paired with cognac over-the-knee boots that are bound to be everywhere once they hit stores.
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.
ROTATE, a two-year-old brand from Birger Christensen, knows how to throw a party. “We think a show should be a show," Jeanette Friis Madsen, who founded the feel-good label with her best friend and fellow influencer Thora Valdimars less than two years ago, tells me after the show. “We love a spectacle. Our brand is all about going-out clothes, the dresses you will put on for a night out, so for us it’s only natural that the show should feel festive.”
This season, the brand's going-out-out offerings came in the form skirt-suits in oversized plaid, cropped blazers in iridescent, milky white, and a checkerboard midi dress with the puff sleeves the brand's become known for — the latter of which we predict will sell out.
ROTATE gets the seal of approval from Hsu, too. "[The brand's] fashionable dresses at accessible price points are loved by our fashion-savvy customers," she said, calling out the same checkerboard dress as an "absolute highlight."
Get ready to see more of the label stateside very soon.
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 she comes to life with the same unbridled energy that matches her designs when you get her going. Last season, Goya was inspired by the film Paris Is Burning, so it's only fitting that for Fall/Winter 2020, she called on another kind of art to guide her collection: that of Christo & Jeanne Claude.
"The artists believe first and foremost, the purpose of art is joy and beauty," the release said. "They desire to overwhelm and reveal elements of reality which are often lost in the everyday of life. This methodology is shared by Stine Goya, who through this collection and the many seasons before, has set out to design for impact — to design with purpose — and to design with the wearer at the center of her process."
The show featured myriad bold prints (head-to-toe zebra, mini florals in varying hues, a hand-drawn, cartoon-map of Copenhagen), and though the models' looked like they had a hard time pulling off the tights-and-thong-sandals styling, Goya was again able to highlight her love of color in a fun, fantastical way. "That's our DNA," she told me last season — and the sentiment still holds true.
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.)
Though the brand didn't show during Copenhagen Fashion Week this season, it's still on our list of top emerging brands to watch.
Baum und Pferdgarten
Baum und Pferdgarten creative directors Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave said they found inspiration from an unlikely source for the brand's Fall/Winter 2020 collection: music festivals. I know, I know, sounds tired — but luckily, they don't mean Coachella. Instead, according to show notes, they looked toward the '70s. More Janis Joplin than Kacey Musgraves.
Standout pieces included an oversized suit with slit-front trousers (See? A far cry from traditional festival gear), a yellow-and-brown checkered rain coat-come-dress with matching boots, and a quilted contrast-sleeve jacket that paired well with the camo-green tunic styled underneath. The ruched midi-dresses felt like too much of a departure from the brand's DNA, but the collection was still a winner overall.
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 Fall/Winter 2020 specifically, the brand toed the line between classic and trend-forward: It showed dreamy faux-fur coats in of-the-moment checker board; mid-length leather coats with snakeskin paneling; as well as leather shorts suits in classic black that'll no doubt earn it a place in any minimalist's closet. Hsu called the collection "especially strong," which is no understatement.
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