Not content with being one of Europe's best city break destinations (seriously, the architecture is amazing, food outstanding and people impossibly beautiful – it's like a toy town), Copenhagen is now one of the best places to see emerging designers and brands before they make it big. We nipped over for a few days last week to see what all the fuss was about at Copenhagen Fashion Week and CIFF - a fashion trade show with a difference - and took a little time to explore the best the city had to offer too. No joke, we're thinking about moving.
1 | Danish fashion is on the rise
Tough as it was to haul ourselves away from beer, meat and cheekbone-filled parties, we were in Copenhagen to check out the clothes. Highlights included the Tonsure AW16 show (full of slouchy tailoring and heftily textured outerwear), and NN07's new concept store (above) on Gammel Mønt in the Indre By district, which exhibits the label's range of modern essentials perfectly alongside guest brands including O'Keeffe and Borsalino. And then there was CIFF, where some of the most exciting young names in fashion (such as Wood Wood and Soulland) came together. When you factor in bigger names like Norse Projects and Astrid Andersen, the future of Danish menswear looks very healthy indeed.
2 | Every city needs a meatpacking district
Photo via visitcopenhagen.com
About ten years ago, the local council decided that the city's meat packing district (Kødbyen, which means 'Meat City') needed a refresh, and decided to invite cool young foodie types into the melee (just like what happened in New York), now craft beers, concept restaurants and minimalist nightclubs sit alongside industrial butchery, and it works. Over the course of the week we ate there a couple of times (read on to find out where), but perhaps the best example of Kødbyen's insurmountable coolness was when we stopped in at Fucking Young! Magazine's anniversary party, then wandered down to Soulland's bash just a couple of lock-ups away.
3 | Ethically produced clothing is one for the future
One of the reasons CIFF was so good was Raven Projects, an area dedicated to innovative brands, live performances and presentations. Three brands in particular grabbed our attention, two Brits and a Spaniard. Story MFG (British - seen above) creates 'Positive Products' that not only benefit the wearer, but the earth too. They're clothes are cut from hand-loomed, naturally dyed cloths, and they champion the skill of production as much as the finished garment. Then there's EcoAlf (Spanish), a sustainable brand that makes its range of technically astute clothing, accessories and footwear from recycled materials, and finally Haeckels, a fragrance and skincare maker from Margate. Founded just four years ago, they only use botanicals that can be found near the town, and seaweed plays a big part. The scents are amazing.
In an impassioned live presentation, Bobbin, one of the founders of Story MFG, championed considered, ethical production methods, and it was hard to not be inspired by it. Fast fashion is still very much a part of our national wardrobe, but bit-by-bit, things might be changing.
4 | They got the smoking ban right
Photo via visitcopenhagen.com
After dinner one night we stopped into Bo-Bi Bar in the old town, and it was a shock. In Copenhagen, bars smaller than 40sqm allow smoking indoors, so when we stepped in out the cold, it felt a bit like we were going back in time. It was dark, moody, and when we asked for a Negroni the bar girl (fag in mouth) told us the options were gin or beer. Sure, our clothes stank the next day, and we had to leave after an hour because our eyes were stinging so much, but it was fun to sit around a little table, mull over the day's exertions knock back gin and chain smoke.
5 | The Danish know how to eat
Photo via Instagram
The likes of Rene Redzepi's Noma have put Copenhagen on the food map, and it's safe to say Nordic food is much more than rye bread and pickled herring. Here's three restaurants to visit when you go:
Unsurprisingly, this is a fish bar. Industrial within (and without – it's in Kødbyens), the name of the game at Fiskebarren is shellfish, but you can get regular fish too. The mussels are particularly good, as is the brown crab, and don't be scared of the crab semen it comes with. You read that right.
The food here is great, but you should stop in for the bread (above) alone. Great crusty hunks of the stuff (made from beer and yoghurt apparently) come to the table warm and accompanied by the best butter you'll ever eat.
Another star of the meat packing district, Fleisch is great for lunch. During the day, the butcher-cum-bistro serves open sandwiches while the sun streams in and slickly barbered chefs hack away at carcasses in the open kitchen. Have the rolled sausage or the roast beef.
6 | Simple hardwearing clothing is back
Wandering around CIFF, it was hard to ignore the abundance of simple hardwearing, Americana-style clothing. We're talking thick cottons, wide leg selvedge denim and chunky overshirts. What with spring around the corner, it may not be the best time to invest, but it's one to consider for the autumn. Three brands that were new to us are Willy Chavarria, Schnayderman's (pictured) and Lady White Co, the former's collab with Dickies was a particular highlight.