What if There Were Less Runway Shows and More Conversation? Copenhagen Fashion Week May Have Answers

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Cecilie Thorsmark, Chief Executive Officer of Copenhagen Fashion Week, confirmed the city’s August dates a couple of weeks ago, presenting a plan for a hybrid fashion week consisting of both physical and digital shows featuring brands from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Details were sparse at first, but now Thorsmark is revealing some of the concrete initiatives for Copenhagen’s spring 2021 season.

To start, there will be fewer physical shows, and social distancing in both front-of-house and backstage areas will be strictly enforced at the live shows that do take place. That said, Denmark has more or less reopened so the organization doesn’t see a need for such regulations as temperature checks and required masks. The Danish government is scheduled to lift its ban on gatherings of 200 people on August 8.

The week’s hybrid format was conceptualized by a digital advisory board that includes Ganni founder Nicolaj Reffstrup, Stine Goya CEO Thomas Hertz, and Martin Gjesing, the CEO of the creative agency MOON, as well as Holzweiler’s Susanne Holzweiler and Hope creative director Frida Bard. Together, they’ve created a digital platform to showcase virtual reality shows from local labels like Rains, as well as pre-recorded shows and videos showcasing other new collections. The shows will be released on a schedule, but will be available for viewing afterwards too. Thorsmark and her team have also partnered with the digital showroom NuOrder to connect brands with buyers. Beyond the virtual, a physical Copenhagen Fashion Week hub will host live events and talks that will be livestreamed.

“The impact and power of our event gives us a responsibility to address topics that are important not only as they pertain to the fashion industry but from a societal and cultural perspective as well,” Thorsmark says. “It’s so important to foster community at a time when the industry is changing and recalibrating.” The panels will address topics including tech innovation, sustainability, racial inequality, and social injustice within the fashion industry.

Being proactive instead of reactive, as well as creating spaces for dialogue is something that the fashion community needs to embrace in order to evolve. In the past, Copenhagen has led the charge around sustainability; now the city is taking its ethical, progressive approach to fashion a step further. If the other global fashion cities weren’t taking notes before, they should definitely do so now.

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