Copenhagen Fashion Week leaves us with an aftertaste of hope
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A show without models, a boycott of brands burning unsold stock, and a triumph of art prints and checked patterns. Yuliya Kuryan reflects on the Autumn/Winter edition of Copenhagen Fashion Week and relays its most important events
My fifth season covering Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) has left me with the impression that the fashion industry is on the brink of actual change.
Sustainability is in fashion
On the very first day (Jan 29), several of the world’s leading media (The Guardian, Vogue UK, Vogue Business) named CPHFW the most sustainable fashion week in the world.
The reason for this bold statement was a three-year action plan unveiled at a press conference just before the official opening show. At first, the reaction in the press room was one of suspicion. There was justified concern that these statements of intent end up as unread paperwork – neither followed through with nor acted upon.
This time around, the Sustainability Action Plan 2020-2022 is based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and includes rather specific requirements for brands.
Specifically what this means is that in order to show at CPHFW, brands have to use at least 50 percent-certified organic, upcycled or recycled materials – and only sustainable packaging by 2023. Another important requirement that the Action Plan dictates is that brands must stop destroying unsold clothes.
With these requirements the biggest fashion week in Scandinavia is setting the bar high, and its organisers are positioning themselves as pioneers, pushing the industry towards an environmentally-conscious agenda that’s already sweeping the globe.
“Copenhagen Fashion Week is the cultural and commercial meeting place of the Scandinavian fashion industry,” contended Cecilie Thorsmark, the CEO of CPHFW.
“This gives us an enormous responsibility and the potential to create impactful change in the industry at large. By taking this direction, we are going from being a traditional event to being a platform for industry change.”
No clothes, no models
The Danish brand Carsel uses 100 percent natural materials and the labour of female prisoners from Peru and Thailand. Carsel opened this season of the fashion week in thought-provoking fashion – without models and without clothes.
Carsel explained the idea of the show on Instagram: “We think that fashion weeks are more important than ever, but we need to change the conversation and the format.”
After a short film about fashion insights and ways to put the industry on a greener track, the guests were asked to step up onto the catwalk. Influencers, buyers, photographers and journalists were left walking the naked-white catwalk to reflect on the sustainability of their own wardrobe as well as the impact that they, as consumers, have on the industry. Thank you, Carsel, for that opportunity to reflect.
Most of the participants in CPHFW are brands that have relied on gradual, ‘anti-hype’ growth. However, there were several new ideas on the catwalk that you might want to consider for your wardrobe in AW20.
Black hides from head to toe? Yes, please. The dark robust material was widely used by Malene Birger and Ganni. Soeren Le Schmidt with his usual geometric aesthetics suggested pairing a black buttoned leather dress with your favourite army boots.
Instead of just wearing a piece of fabric, wear a story. Look to Stine Goya and her collection ‘On Air’ capturing the ‘building-wrap’ essence of artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. True to the Stine Goya DNA, hand-painted prints transmit the artist’s architectural vision directly onto the garments.
We are already in love with the bright comeback of the 1970s vibes. Danish designers are suggesting we stick with this trend for another season – even if the cold weather does eventually come. Wide-collar shirts, peasant blouses and a splash of checked patterns – wear it all and don’t forget to release your flower power!
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Copenhagen’s most famous tower to get a makeover
Rådhustårnet, all 105 metres of it, will be clad in scaffolding until at least the end of the year