Why We Should All Be Dressing Danishly


WHAT DO YOU thinkthe’20saregonna be like?’ That was the question posed by Ganni ahead of its A/W ’20 show in Copenhagen last week. But at the start of a new decade, against a background of political, social and environmental tumult, Ganni is by no means the only one asking what the 2020s have in store.

What is clear is that Copenhagen has to lead the conversation around sustainability, and will continue to do so with even more urgency. This was set out from the off when Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO of Copenhagen Fashion Week, announced a radical plan not only to reduce the fashion week’s own environmental footprint but to ensure brands adhere to rigorous sustainable standards – or be refused permission to show.

And what happens in the Danish capital matters. In recent seasons, Copenhagen has graduated from fringe fashion week to force to be reckoned with. That is, in part, thanks to the Danes’ democratic design ethos, which has encouraged an abundance of ‘sweet spot’ names to spring up – labels that produce clothes special enough to feel like a thoughtful investment, but not so astronomically priced as to feel out of reach. It feels more relevant than ever for those of us tired of super-fast fashion but priced out by traditional designer labels. ‘Copenhagen really is the epicenter for those taste-making sweet-spot brands that balance style with wearability,’ says the influencer Lucy Williams.

Indeed, wearability is the crux of the city’s idiosyncratic sense of style, another reason why people pay such close attention to what’s going on here. The Danes’ modern, offbeat way of mixing high and low – trainers and puffers with pretty dresses, designer buys with quirky vintage finds – and ability to put an easy, personal spin on trends has proved catnip to eager street-style watchers. In lieu of a crystal ball, you’d be advised to look to Copenhagen for a glimpse of what’s new and next.

What’s also next, according to Ganni’s Ditte Reffstrup, is not just pilgrim collars and stompy boots, crochet berets and wiggle-worth dresses (all shown on the catwalk, and no doubt everywhere off it come autumn) but a collaborative attitude. ‘We need to cheer for one another,’ she explained backstage. ‘I played a lot of soccer growing up and very early on learned that team playing is the best; you can’t win alone.’

To mark the beginning of the new decade, Ganni called upon the talents of a group of inspiring women – including the photographer Shaniqwa Jarvis and film-maker and performance artist Emma Rosenzweig – to collaborate. The #GanniGirls no longer just wear the clothes but are now part of the brand’s creative dialogue. ‘I do think something that’s changed in fashion is that it’s actually cool to be nice,’ said Ditte. Keep going in this direction and the 2020s might just be OK after all.

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