The African fashionista who now describes the world he thrived in

The new book that makes Danish fashion more accessible than ever before


When Zimbabwean expat  Gavin John Davies encountered difficulties making headway in the Danish fashion industry, he didnÂ’t sit about moaning – he wrote a book about it. With ‘The Book In On and Behind FashionÂ’ Davies has crafted a fascinating book with stunning photographs, which is a must-have for non-Danish speakers with an interest in fashion.

“Well, I actually tried for a long time to get fashion photography work in Copenhagen, but in the Danish fashion industry there is definitely an ‘inner circle’, which is hard for a foreigner to break into,” he explained when The Copenhagen Post caught up with him in the oh-so-chic PH Cafe on Halmtorvet – it was a selection made apprehensively, but he seemed to approve of our choice!

“When I met with people about possible photographic work, I was received with a lot of enthusiasm. But despite the fact that I had international fashion experience, and that I had worked with some of the top names in the business outside Denmark, those people never called me back!”

Although Davies was born in Rhodesia, which changed its name to Zimbabwe in 1980, he was educated in South Africa. “My parents owned a farm, and being white land owners, Zimbabwe was not a great place to be when Robert Mugabe came to power!” he recalled.

“The state schools were pretty bad at that time, and my parents didn’t have the money to send me to a private school in Zimbabwe. The private schools in South Africa were far cheaper, so they sent me to boarding school there, like so many other families in Zimbabwe.”

Davies has clearly been blessed with above-average looks, and so it is hardly a surprise to learn that his entry to the fashion industry began with modelling. After school and compulsory military service, he began travelling the world – a stint in London and then in Los Angeles. Finally he moved to New York where he began to model, eventually meeting his Danish girlfriend, a fellow model.

It was in the Big Apple that Davies took up photography. It became a real passion, which he was able to take further when he and his girlfriend moved to the capital of the fashion world, Paris. The couple have also lived in Sweden, but eventually made the move to Copenhagen when they had their first child.

You could understand if DaviesÂ’s bad experiences trying to find work in Denmark had soured him towards the country, but that doesnÂ’t seem to be the case at all. Instead he decided to find a different way to get his photographic work published. Hence the idea for the book, and in it his photos take centre stage. Many of them are taken in the middle of Danish Fashion Week, and each picture seems to put you right there.

You can feel the excitement and almost sense the behind-the-scenes tension.   

Judging by his appearance, Davies is clearly a man whose enthusiasm for fashion knows no bounds. “Danish menÂ’s fashion is really exciting at the moment,” he enthused. “There is real individuality in the designs appearing now. ThereÂ’s a lot that is very new and very different – not simply a rehash of the designs coming from elsewhere in the world.”

A second book is already in the pipeline. It will focus on movement and change in the fashion industry and include a feature on how Designers Nest is nurturing the countryÂ’s next generation of up-coming designers.  

“Designers Nest is an exciting group that seeks to provide a professional and international platform for Nordic graduates to display their talent, and I think it’s a perfect example of how the Danish fashion industry is attempting to ensure that there is creativity in the future,” he contended. “Hopefully I will be able to get some interesting interviews with those behind it.”

For now, it looks as if Davies is here to stay. While he misses his home country, he can’t see himself moving back there under the current regime. “It’s changed so much over the last few decades,” he said. “However, I’m very happy living here for the moment. It’s a fantastic place to raise a family: it’s safe, and I think the school system is great too.”

Pick up a copy of DaviesÂ’s first book at Magasin, Arnold Busck and Norman, where it retails for 190kr.

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