Copenhagen Fashion Week was back in full swing for spring/summer 2023, after several phygital editions, with a line-up focused on the best of the Nordics with a sustainable mindset, from established names, such as Ganni and Henrik Vibskov to emerging talent including Jade Cropper, (Di)vision, and The Garment.
For SS23, the Scandinavian fashion capital presented a schedule of 36 brands over the five-day showcase championing womenswear brands including Holzweiler and Gestuz, alongside a “keen focus” on menswear with Soulland, Martin Asbjørn, and Wood Wood.
This season also included a new emerging designer’s programme ‘CPHFW NewTalent’ supporting A. Roege Hove, Latimmier and P.L.N., as well as a partnership with Ukrainian Fashion Week including sustainable clothing TG Botanical, and London/Reykjavík-based design studio Ranra was named the winner of the fourth Zalando Sustainability Award impressing the judges with its colourful and fashionable catwalk show.
Copenhagen Fashion Week also confirmed that it will be going fur-free, banning fur from all of its participating brands and shows, as part of the event's continuous push for sustainability.
The best SS23 collections from Copenhagen Fashion Week
Holzweiler ‘In Motion’
Norwegian label Holzweiler kicked off Copenhagen Fashion Week with the news that venture firm Sequoia Capital China had secured a majority stake to help accelerate its global ambitions. This will include expanding its bricks-and-mortar business with its first London flagship due to open in spring 2023. That flagship will probably launch with this SS23 ‘In Motion’ collection, which presented a light and airy feel throughout with nomadic and utilitarian vibes in an elemental colour palette inspired by the natural world.
For women, there were gowns made from upcycled parachutes that innovatively formed from the billowing folds of a used canopy, donated by Norwegian sporting specialist Skyvoss, which were harnessed to the body with a macramé corset. While other looks had raw exposed seams in a nod to the suspension lines of parachutes, and some dresses were crafted in a ladder-like knit tied with bows. Other key styles included quilted vests with protective padding, cargo pants with multiple pockets spliced around the thigh and gauzy slips layered over floaty chiffon trousers.
For men, pilot's jackets were crafted in glossy vegan leather, alongside elevated wardrobe basics like vests, crisp trench coats and long shorts, while flared tailoring and bowling shirts offered a youthful silhouette.
Scandi’s most well know label Ganni closed Copenhagen Fashion Week with a colourful, ’90s-themed outdoor show that was a love letter to the city featuring models on BMX bikes wearing dopamine bright colours and sequins. The daily ride, whether to work or to an appointment, was the creative starting point for Ganni’s SS23 collection, which translated into body-hugging dresses, ultra-cropped jackets, Western-inspired long prairie skirts, shrunken peasant blouses, and a fluorescent pink power suit.
“This collection is really about that feeling. We called it Joyride because it’s about Copenhagen being the place where our heart is,” explained Ditte Reffstrup, creative director of Ganni in the show notes. “There’s a feeling about being in the city in summertime that I can’t quite explain, the energy is pulsing, it really gets your beat going. It made us think about the rhythm of our hearts and the beat you see on a hospital monitor. That line is so beautiful - it’s life. We used that life line as a symbol across the collection, wavy lines on collars and hemlines inspired by a heartbeat.”
The SS23 collection also showcased several collaborations including denim with Levi’s in natural dyes and upcycled pieces with Barbour, with Ganni injecting new life into Barbour Re-Loved jackets. The first Re-Loved collection will go on sale in October. Ganni also unveiled its third collaboration with Icelandic heritage brand 66°North with pants, a vest, a bucket hat and two neoshell jackets made exclusively from unused fabric rolls including recycled materials like recycled nylon and polyester.
Reffstrup added: “I’m a collaboration junkie. I love it when the chemistry works, and the ideas are flowing. As an industry we need to start cooperating more if we want to make fashion more responsible. No one brand, no matter how hard they try, can do it alone, we’ve got to work together.”
This season, Ganni also added that 97 percent of its ready-to-wear pieces consist of responsible styles, meaning at least 50 percent of the composition is certified organic, lower-impact or recycled.
Up-and-coming brand Copenhagen/Paris-based label OpéraSport presented its first-ever catwalk show at Copenhagen Fashion Week with a SS23 collection inspired by the sculptures that adorn both cities while paying tribute to the current place in their lives as mothers.
This resulted in a strong and sexy collection in a soft colour palette of sunset pink and purple hues featuring tie-front cut-out knitted dresses, sheer puff sleeve blouses, ruched crop tops, long leather trench coats and a statement grey metallic quilted suit.
OpéraSport also showcased a collaborative project with British model Alva Claire, a size-inclusive capsule collection inspired by her favourite vintage pieces combined with the brand’s DNA of essential shapes and recycled materials. The 12-piece capsule, which ranges from sizes XS to 2XL, fuses classic, sporty and wearable styles with sexy contrast cuts including a unisex sweatshirt and a quilted bag.
“We have approached this project very humbly, as it is our first show, so extra thought has been put into every detail, so that it all comes together in a higher unity,” said OpéraSport founders Awa Malina Stelter and Stephanie Gundelach in the show notes.
Jade Cropper ‘Future Vintage’
Swedish talent Jade Cropper is an emerging designer driving the new Scandi style with her signature deconstructed designs and unapologetic empowered style that is attracting a younger audience. ‘Future Vintage’ marks Cropper’s second collection and it takes inspiration from her mother’s photographic studies of decaying leaves and flowers and the beauty of the imperfect.
In the show notes, Cropper said: “As a person, I am quite introverted, and fashion has become my way of expressing myself. By using visual references from my mother’s photographs, I have designed this collection in the process of creating it, driven by curiosity and an exploration of material manipulations.
“More than ever, I have embraced and welcomed the natural disorder of my creative process and the visual outcome displays these imperfections and imbalances resulting in something abrasive.”
The result was a confident SS23 collection filled with slinky, body-con dresses tapping into the ongoing Y2K trend with intricate cut-out detailing, alongside bleached and hand-dyed denim pieces, monogrammed and gradient fine knits, as well as distressed knitwear and leather and designs with sweeping hems and unconventional fastenings.
Each of the pieces showcased was handmade by Cropper in her Stockholm studio, with distressed denim, knits and printed jacquard crafted using Circulose, a fibre made from 100 per cent discarded textile waste. Other sustainable elements included deadstock leather and printed Tencel fabrics.
Upcycled streetwear brand (Di)vision, staged a coed show in a woodland lit by mushroom-shaped lamps that took Francis Ford Coppola’s film ‘Apocalypse Now’ from 1979 as a starting point. The SS23 collection elaborates on the difficult themes of the film, from war to its psychological impact on people, which the design duo, Simon and Nanna Wick said in the show notes, “feels very relevant in today’s world of conflict”.
The “make love, not war,” feeling was translated into the free-spirited vibe of the collection. They reworked the military aesthetic, turning surplus military gear into lace-up mini dresses, oversized jackets, trousers and tote bags, alongside feminine paisley patchwork and bell-sleeved dresses, and patched denim pieces in the form of skirts, dresses and jackets.
(Di)vision states the use of surplus military gear is in line with the brand’s commitment to work with deadstock fabrics and to upcycle as much as possible, however, it did admit that the challenge of producing on a larger scale at a lower impact has also meant that it is constantly looking for new materials sources. This has resulted in developing some pieces from interior fabrics in collaboration with design house Gubi.
Copenhagen Fashion Week returns from January 31 to February 2, 2023.