An environment dictated by chaos changes your sensitivity and approach to life,’ streams across my monitor, as new talent, Tobias Birk Nielson, commenced Copenhagen Fashion Week. Reflecting upon a week loaded with expectations came not only in the form of the first Ready-to-Wear Fall/Winter ‘23 shows this season. Emerging designers and flaggingly ‘niche’ Nordic talent, alike, measured up to the most stringent and aspirational Fashion Week Sustainability Report of 2022 released to date.
With Denmark only lifting its Covid-bound restrictions on the morning of the Opening Ceremony, designers came back charged with purpose. Proving it was high time to declutter, take darn scissors, to the deadstock, the Scnadies kicked down preordained gender-dressing boundaries and exposed some bare bodiced truth. Transparency beyond the love handles came in the form of Gestuz citing 80% of its collection originated from sustainable materials, versus an intangible, vague ‘almost 100%.’ Ganni chose a plus size singer with armpit hair to star in its digital show. To be more inclusive, more transparent, more responsible, there was no one right answer, but an opportunity to challenge what came before.
This dose of reality proved something not privileged to designers’ with established success. Show opener, ISO. Poetism with a ‘Stussy of the Nordics’ vibe, manifested his ‘bricolage’ approach: using what we have at present to create at low impact. Tobias exhibited one in many ways designers would capitalise upon their talent in establishing a purposeful cult following.
The Garment, run by feminine aesthetes Sophie Roe and Charlotte Eskildsen, represented the next newcomer on the schedule. Opting for a physical show after last season’s installation, models with slicked back hair posed against a minimalistic runway. The show met an anticipation set forth by the brand’s manifesto in curating ‘the perfect wardrobe.’ Danish influencer, Sophie Roe represents an internationally renowned content curator who reverts back to the golden rule of buying better to buy less. Taking elements reminiscent of NY-based, less attainable, Khaite, this collection doned covetable, yet accessible, transitional garments with consciousness in mind.
A.Roege Hove founder, Amalie got experimental using her background in Fine Art at the Royal Danish Academy. Pushing expectations of form with traditional knitwear, an un-superfluous craftsmanship bequeathed airy knits floating for the bodice for a fresh take on hygge.
A designer with a background in dance, Maria Mark founded Kerne.milk in 2019. Unveiling her first runway collection with a digital premier, her diverse perspective on body and movement evidently succeeded in its transition to design. With a two size collection, XS and XL, made to fit all in between, the upcycled-based collection serves the wannabe 2000s trend but better. Conscious cuts in conscious materials focused attention on the human physique. Reflecting upon the world status making us each turn inward, a demystified perception of the feminine form reached high regards.
Jade Cropper brought the umph back to the catwalk, with models strutting the emerging designer’s handmade prints and sustainable garments like I haven’t seen in seasons. The ‘eccentric feminine’ defines her style, as she aims to delineate the skin and garment through choiceful production. As goes the saying ‘we live and breathe our clothes,’ what proves authentic proves electrifying on the runway.
While Designer’s Nest represents not one but a curation of budding designers, the non-profit initiative brought industry attention to the next generation of graduate talent. The student curation chosen for its originality, craftsmanship, and responsible design proves inspirational in hitting not only a high bar set for Nordic Talent. With one collection to land itself at brownsfashion.com and another to jumpstart a designer on an apprenticeship with Bottega Veneta, what this week of boundary pushing proved indicative was no consolation at the sake of design.
For better design, fuelled with purpose, to rightfully sit alongside that which is perceived as the creme de la creme of la mode says it all. There should be nothing to hide in the beauty that meets the eyes. A ‘back to basics’ nature of Danish design should equally motivate those in the fashion weeks coming forth to prove they deserve to keep their seat among the zealous youth charging forth. Who will be the true exemplar time will tell.
“Nothing to Hide”
Isabel Froemming is a contributing fashion sustainability writer, model, and activist based in London. Her research focuses on transparent supply chains and gender equity in Indonesia. Isabel ran communications for Copenhagen Fashion Week for SS21 and prior to that acted as an editorial associate at sustainable e-tailer Rêve en Vert.