My Copenhagen | A city that’s designed for living
Having just returned from a visit to her native Greenland the day before we meet, designer Bibi Chemnitz and her Danish partner (in both life and business), David Røgilds, have fresh eyes with which to look upon Copenhagen. Even more so after they recently relocated their shop from Aarhus to the mysterious winding Brolæggerstræde Lane in central Copenhagen.
As newcomers, the couple has an unsullied perspective of the city. “Maybe it’s a good thing we’ve only been here a year,” Chemnitz says.
The couple met eleven years ago at a club. Chemnitz was studying fashion production in Jutland and starting to sell her own designs whilst interning. Røgilds is a graphic designer. Their brand may only be seven years old but it is already a staple among the stylish Copenhageners. The loose fit and androgynous designs featuring striking graphics sits comfortably amongst the clean cut, simplistic style that most young people in the city prefer to wear. Nowhere is this clearer than during Copenhagen fashion week, which is gently emerging in the shadow of the bigger players such as London, Paris, New York and Milan.
Whilst the Bibi Chemnitz label is stocked in four other shops, the main store, located in the heart of the city, is a prime example of what can be discovered once you step away from the main footfall passing all the high-street brands.
For a capital city, Copenhagen, according to Chemitz, is unique in that it is easy to explore the other areas of the city than your own neighbourhood. “This isn’t something that can be said of many other capitals. In London people rarely leave their own districts,” she says.
Size is of course important here. Copenhagen is a village in comparison to cities like Berlin. But instead of being restricting, Chemitz finds that this is allows for the freedom to explore and perhaps avoid the loneliness that is often associated with big city life.
Chemnitz lives on the island of Amager, but despite the downtrodden reputation of the city district, she enjoys living close to nature and open spaces, yet also being close to her shop. “People who don’t live there don’t like it, but for us it is only ten minutes from where we live to the shop by bicycle. It’s really nice to cycle through the Christianshavn neighbourhood and there is lots of nature to explore.”
People often say that Copenhagen is a city with only two seasons, winter and summer, and it is in the latter that the place really comes alive. Like an ant hill, people start to emerge from their hibernation and spend as much time as possible in the sunshine and at the beach. Unfortunately for Chemnitz the hard work never ends. “At the moment we are too busy for the beach, but that is also nearby. Unfortunately for us summertime is work time. One season ends and you think there will be loads of spare time and then the next season comes around so soon.”
5 of my favorite things about Copenhagen
What would you tell someone visiting Copenhagen for the first time?
Go to Christiania. It is so different than most other places in Copenhagen. Also Nørrebro is really cool too. Go explore all the narrow small streets. Rent a bike as soon as you arrive and use the first day just to travel around and get to know the real Copenhagen.
Copenhagen by night is …
…party time, especially in comparison to many other parts of Scandinavia. In Stockholm everything ends at 2am, which is when the night is just getting started here.
Where do you go for live music or to experience culture?
Kødbyen or Vega. Kødbyen is nice in the summertime, when all the bars move outside. Just go for a bike ride on a Sunday and stop anywhere that looks interesting to you.
Where would take a visitor to eat out?
Madklubben. Also, if you are on a budget go to Spicy Kitchen on Christianshavn for cheap food and beer. It’s particularly good if you have visitors staying.
Where would you for go a perfect date?
That’s a tough question. We work so much we haven’t been on a date for years. I would say rent a boat and have a picnic out at sea. Take a bottle of white wine and some sushi. See the canals and sail out a bit. Try to catch some fish.
Bibi Chemnitz and David Røgilds are the couple behind the Bibi Chemnitz clothing label. Established in 2006, the brand now has a cult following and catwalk shows during Copenhagen Fashion Week. Since moving to Denmark at age 13 Chemnitz, now 30, has plenty of tips to share for enjoying the good life in Copenhagen.