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What is Scandi style today?

Gingham, pastels, puffy dresses and prints are giving way to a new era. The CPHFW community weighs in.

Five years ago, as Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) began to take off and brands like Saks Potts, Cecilie Bahnsen and Ganni entered the mainstream, there was a fixed idea of Scandi fashion, with bright colours, gingham, heavy patterns and puffed-up sleeves. Today, Scandi fashion is harder to pin down.

Part of the reason is that CPHFW is evolving. For Autumn/Winter 2024, many of the city’s defining brands pared back their shows or didn’t show at all: Cecilie Bahnsen will show in Paris for the sixth time in February, mainstay Ganni stepped aside and labels like Saks Potts and Stine Goya presented collections in pared-back shows in their office spaces.

“Copenhagen used to have a real through line in terms of collections, but since the schedule has achieved more depth, [with a host of new names and established brands], it’s harder to define an aesthetic,” says Emily Chan, sustainability editor at British Vogue and mentor in the CPHFW New Talent programme.

In the absence of these aesthetic-defining labels, new talents were able to move into the spotlight for AW24, as international luxury players also crept into street style. Vogue Business asked a series of CPHFW insiders what Scandi style means to them today, whether or not it’s still definable as a homogenous look, and where personal style fits in.

Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO, Copenhagen Fashion Week

There is no set visual of what defines Scandi style anymore, which we wholeheartedly welcome. What we want to show the world is the wonderful kaleidoscope of perspectives that this inspiring region can encompass. Fashion should be for everyone, not one style set, and I feel we have captured this very much in our AW24 edition.

Ditte Reffstrup, co-founder and creative director, Ganni

In the past, Scandi style was very much known for a lot of colours and lots of prints. You can sense that there’s more suiting around today, more classic styles and more structure. If we talk about Ganni, we’ve grown up. We’ve become more sophisticated, so you’ll see more suiting and more elevation ahead.

Noorunisa, CPHFW official street style photographer

This is my fifth CPHFW, and I don’t think that Scandi style needs to constantly evolve and adapt to something new.

The girls here nail outerwear and make layering look like an art form. As a Muslim girl and modest dresser, I always keep an eye out for modest looks and the Scandi girls, especially in winter, provide the ultimate modest girl outfit inspiration.

This season I have also seen a lot of pony-hair bags, full-length fur coats (faux or not is yet to be revealed), subtle and not-so-subtle political statements made with clothes (including keffiyehs, which are being worn in support of Palestine). It’s probably the only fashion capital where people feel comfortable enough to be loud about their personal political views and not feel unsafe. Girls here seem to love to support their country’s brands — you see a lot of emerging designers and bigger local brands being championed (I never see this much Ganni anywhere else) and the Copenhagen unofficial uniform of the balaclava is still going strong.

Thora Valdimars and Jeanette Madsen, founders, Rotate

In Denmark there’s always an element of being comfortable. People bike around, we’re active. So I think there’s always a sense of comfort in everything that you wear. Jeans and knits, that’s the staple wardrobe. But here in Denmark and Copenhagen, there’s a sense of having a personal sense of style as well that began to flourish a couple of years ago. People were suddenly wearing coloured jeans with a different colour knit, colour blocking or using prints to stand out. Today, it’s more subtle, just with elements of playfulness.

When we came out on social media, it was the “normcore” era. Rotate isn’t normcore! So we stood out. We sell a lot of denim, PU, knits and stuff like that. But in Italy, for example, it’s the party pieces, the dresses. And in Scandinavia, they prefer feminine colours, whereas in other countries they like dark.

Alectra Rothschild, designer

Scandi style overall has a practicality because of the cold and so many bikes. But I think we might have to expand on the idea of what Scandi style is to what and who. The people I know look at it very differently to your average Scandi person.

My proposal for Danish fashion is to show a different perspective than what’s been considered “Danish” or Scandinavian fashion. I believe that the style we now associate with Scandi/Danish fashion is from a certain lifestyle and class and I’m here to tell you that there are many other pictures to paint.

Allyson Shiffman, print editor, Vogue Scandinavia

In a nice way, Scandinavian style is less definable and people are leaning more heavily into personal style. It’s still super colourful. Even this week it’s super cold and people are wearing colourful faux fur and big colourful hats. I think we’re still just trying to have a little bit of fun in the sub-zero temperatures. It’s still very androgynous, and very tailored.

These days trends permeate between cities. Everything just lives on the internet, so it’s hard to segregate trends by location. I still think that Copenhagen has its own flavour and it manages to maintain that, which is pretty impressive.

The original article can be found on Vogue UK.

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