Nordic street style returns to the runways in Copenhagen

Nordic style at Copenhagen Fashion Week

When I left Denmark for London in the 1980s our fashion was nowhere. Nobody spoke of Scandi style and what exactly was Copenhagen Fashion week? A lot has changed since then and now major British journals report faithfully as Nordic street style returns to the runways in Copenhagen Fashion Week.

Nordic style was never about Christian LaCroix, Yves St Laurent or even Chanel. It’s more Armani and Jil Sander. Understatement, or negative style, is our style. Nothing too flashy or showy. In fact, we’ve never taken fashion too seriously.

Nordic street style and the anti-fashion statement

But the Autumn Winter collections that featured in the Nordic capital on and off the runways have raised eyebrows this season with a sort of anti-fashion statement: asymmetrical, oversized, tomboyish, clashing colours and a fair dose of odd-ness.

Below is a cutout from London’s Evening Standard, one of the country’s leading fashion sections. The daily newspaper has its finger on the London fashion pulse, but here features Copenhagen Fashion Week.

“Scandi fashion is leaving the cuteness and moving into the coolness, the grooviness,” writes the paper. “Whatever new form it takes, the world will undoubtedly be watching,” adds writer Chloe Street.

Nordic street style at Copenhagen Fashion Week

The Scandis used to pride themselves on not having to try too hard – less is more. But a lot has changed over the years. Copenhagen has fought hard to be part of the creative scene: the Danes are now leaders in fashion, jewellery, film, food and much else.

And, surprisingly, the international fashion press are keeping a close eye on the Danish look, not least the Scandi classic design duo Baum und Pferdgarten with their super padded puffers, but also ordinary street style.

Stine Goya looked up from the street and into space to pitch her look for autumn while (di)vision focused on grunge and sustainability. Oversized mannish jackets for women are back in vogue and emphasis is on wearability.

Their finest moment was planting a model amongst the audience who, as she stood up and started catwalking she took the tablecloth with her – it was part of her dress, glasses, plates and all…

We’ve never excelled at glamour – we’ll leave that to the French and Americans. But Giorgio Armani’s unisex trouser suit is a cut we can relate to. So the Autumn Winter 2023 collections featured on the Copenhagen runways returned to the toned down 90s cool.

Nordic street style in London's Evening Standard

The Nordics like to mix it up too. Sequins and tassels were teamed with trousers and Doc Martens or a long, broad-shouldered coat.

Another new idea is the use of pre-loved fabrics. Recycled material stitched together, on top of eachother, to create organised chaos with a soul. There’s a real story behind every garment you see on the runway or in the street.

New and old trends on and off the Copenhagen runway

Trend spotters are particularly keen on what happens off the runway, admiring the special Copenhagen aesthetic: creativity mixed with sustainability. Oversized silhouettes, shades of red, mixed layered materials, manly mixed with feminine, and space and nature themes rocked the week.

That all reminds me a bit of the London fashion scene in the late 1980s and 90s. The UK was the HQ of creativity and innovation while Paris and New York were for the grown ups. Today, Copenhagen is very much the creative hub.

Maybe that is why the fashion pack sit up and take notice every time Copenhagen Fashion Week comes round. Read here in the Evening Standard: Why we’re all still slaves to Scandi style.

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