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A closer look at 10 Danish brands you should discover

It was Wedell-Wedellsborg’s great great grandfather, Emil Vett, who founded the first in what later became a chain of department stores, Magasin du Nord, in 1868. She’s now head of Sotheby’s Denmark and a board member of the Wessel & Vetts Foundation, previously the Magasin du Nord foundation.

— We [the foundation] founded the Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize back in 2012 and due to my interest in supporting Danish designers and through my involvement in the foundation the possibility opened up for creating Denmark’s largest fashion award, she tells.

This year, the prize has adapted to Covid19. The finalists, unveiled at Copenhagen Fashion Week in August, have already received a prize of 10,000 Danish Kroner each. They were selected from previous editions of the prize, rather than, as usual, an open submission. The 14 jury members will be looking at participants’ portfolios for sustainability and ethical responsibility, business ideas, and innovation and originality of design.

Here are this year’s 10 finalists:

Astrid Andersen

Casual luxury streetwear offering a casual fit across track suits, anoraks, bomber jackets, knitwear, hoodies, sweatshirts, and T-shirts. Andersen defines the landscape between luxury and sport with technical details and craftsmanship as the signature.

sur le chemin

Creating contemporary fashion, where the collections are built slowly, piece by piece. The brand states that we need more humanity, more sustainability, and replace collections with selections, to consume less and contribute more. And we need to do it consciously.

Cecilie Bahnsen

Operates at the intersection of couture and ready-to-wear with unique, hand-designed fabrics and unexpected combinations of softness and structure and minimal and maximal. Each collection builds on the previous one so that pieces can be cherished for years and passed between friends.

Carcel

Online fashion brand made by female prisoners in Peru and Thailand. Crafted from the finest baby alpaca wool with no seasonal wheel and no sales, just quality cuts showcasing the all-natural fabric — strong, silky, and thermal-regulating.

Nikoline Liv Andersen

Andersen has chosen to work artistically, instead of following a commercial trajectory, with experimental and unique pieces of clothing, textiles, and installations. Her own works are situated between design, crafts, and art, and she’s also been couture designer for Fendi during the last five years.

Freya Dalsjø

Together with a small team of tailors, she drapes and samples studied and conceptual biannual collections in her atelier. With a strong appreciation for classic high-end tailoring and new technologies, Freya explores and challenges the boundaries of material, shape, and aesthetic.

Brøgger

London based luxury clothing label playing between the feminine and the masculine. Varying from sharp tailoring to soft silhouettes, consistently balanced on the edge between formal and day wear, they combine influences of Danish design tradition and the boldness from the British capital.

Maja Brix

Sustainability and consideration are key in the collections, released one piece or a series of clothes at a time. The Maja Brix’ signature is all about movement. The clothes feature rigorously-sourced natural fabrics and sustainable man-made materials, which augment the natural flow of the human form.

mfpen

What are the limits of Scandinavian minimalism? Sigurd Bank works to reinterpret the traditional notion of Scandinavian menswear through an experimental and playful scope with an emphasis on fabrics and fits, reviving the athleisure style with boxy fits, cropped legs, and erratic shapes.

arv®

The brand has one eye on classic styles of the past, like a military button-down shirt, and one on sustainability, to ensure our future. arv® believes that fashion is about wearing what makes you feel good, so each item is cool, unisex, sophisticated, and made for everyone.

”I think the whole fashion chain has to be rebuilt. There might be 30-40% fewer brands in the industry.”

Nina, what’s the current situation for the Danish fashion scene?

— The crisis that comes with COVID-19 will be a reset button for the industry and will create a new system, with no space for ”meaningless” work. The pandemic has implications on all levels, including production, design, PR, sales, and retail. I think the whole fashion chain has to be rebuilt. There might be 30-40% fewer brands in the industry, and also a lot fewer retailers. Brands will be producing less products, and drops will become rarer and rarer. Sales will shift to different timings, allowing full-price selling. There will hopefully be a big review of prices. Sustainability and real design will be boosted by this situation. I think people will start buying in a different way. Designers won’t have to drop their collections at the same time. They will release their work whenever they are ready within each season. Now it’s time for real designers with real solutions to make a healthier system. That is why we wish to support the Danish designers that are trying to say something. We need something meaningful. And we hope that the prize, the network, and the mentoring scheme will help the finalists in the midst of a difficult situation.

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5 just launched essential collabs with a Scandinavian touch

Cecilie Bahnsen x Mackintosh

The Danish womenswear label combines sculptural silhouettes with couture techniques, reinterpreting this with a modern approach. In her latest collab, Bahnsen brings her modern vision of femininity and Danish simplicity to that most utilitarian of pieces, the bonded cotton rain Mac, teaming up with the iconic British luxury brand Mackintosh.

Cecilie has designed seven coats in two silhouettes for her A/W 2020 collection. Both are interpretations of traditional men’s coats from the Mackintosh archive and instantly recognisably as Cecilie Bahnsen, with their sculptural shapes. The first is Bahnsen’s spin on the archetypal Mac, reimagined with her signature volume, a detachable hood, and removable quilted lining. The second is an oversized hooded cape.

CDLP x Cuixmala

Originally designed as a home for international financier Sir James Goldsmith, Cuixmala is a small eco-friendly luxury resort embedded in over 30,000 acres of nature reserve on the Mexican Pacific coast. It’s also well-known for its characteristic color blocking throughout the property, now highlighted in a new capsule with Swedish design company of luxury men’s essentials, CDLP. The collection includes a swim brief, swim short, and throw, where each style is consciously crafted in Portugal using Econyl — an innovative Italian-sourced regenerated nylon fibre made from ocean waste. The Throw is made in 100% modal.

Close Up and Private x An Ivy

Covid-19 has changed a lot of things. Also how we get dressed. But emerging Danish brand An Ivy is putting on a fight for classic menswear, also through the release of a special collaboration. 

Since 2009, artist and fashion legend Sergei Sviatchenko and his son Erik has left marks on the Danish and international fashion scene with the blog project Close Up and Private. They’ve defined a refreshing new style movement with its roots in classical menswear interpreted in a way that is both up-to-date and distinct.

The collab, called The Splash, takes its aesthetic starting point in the distinctive approach to wardrobe classics that have made Close Up And Private one of the most revolutionary art projects on the international fashion scene in the last decades. It’s built around the concept that all items can be mixed and matched and consists of two shirts, five narrow ties with striped, dotted, and club-inspired designs as well as two bow ties.

B. Åkerlund x Handsome Stockholm

Handsome Stockholm is a contemporary Swedish brand for exclusive designer gloves, established with the notion that few accessories are as elegant as a pair of matching leather gloves — they are the final piece of a perfect outfit. 

They also offer the worldwide unique Lose One, Buy One service, which enables previous customers to purchase one replacement glove.

They’ve now teamed up with fashion activist and costume designer, B. Åkerlund (who’s worked with every A-list celebrity in the industry, including Beyonce, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Britney Spears, to name a few) for the launch of The Royal Collection. It’s a line of superb quality leather gloves, inspired by royalty, for which Åkerlund has a particular admiration. Each style is named after a celebrated royal position, including the Queen, Duchess, and Countess styles among others.

Zalando’s sustainable capsule

Following last spring’s launch of the first Small steps. Big impact. By Zalando. collection, the leading European e-tailer now introduces a new sustainable capsule. This time, the drop includes both men’s and women’s clothing where 116 different pieces have been put together by eight European brands; Closed, Designer’s Remix, Henrik Vibskov, Holzweiler, House of Dagmar, Mother of Pearl, Mykke Hofmann, and Progetto Quid. They were selected based on their values ​​around sustainability and asked to create a conscious collection under a common aesthetic, with a focus on using materials from sustainable sources.