Drapers reports from the buzzy trade shows CIFF and Revolver, where the Danish capital offered up a strong menswear and womenswear season, charming both international buyers and exhibiting brands.
Both brands and international buyers reported a successful spring 18 season in the Danish capital last week, with trade shows CIFF and Revolver (9-11 August) running alongside the city’s womenswear and menswear fashion week catwalk schedule, offering up an excellent selection of brands, as well as ample networking opportunities in the stylish Scandinavian setting.
Local Danish and Scandinavian brands were a big pull to an impressive array of UK and international buyers, attracting crowds across the two trade shows and catwalk presentations. Forget Scandi minimalism: strong colours and eccentric prints dominated both men’s and women’s ranges, and the region’s signature focus on fashion-forward designs was blended with a typically easy wearability and keen price points – often hitting the contemporary level ‘sweet spot’ – helping to further fuel the seemingly ever-growing popularity of all things Scandi and offering up something for every buyer in town.
For example, current Copenhagen favourite Ganni, a small local brand turned international business, saw stockists as varied as global luxury retailer Net-a-Porter and young fashion leader Asos in town for its catwalk show. Local brand Wood Wood had visitors from large luxury department stores and independents alike on its trade show stand at Revolver – US department store Bergdorf Goodman even wrote its spring 18 order at the show.
Despite the Copenhagen shows being a little late in the buying calendar for some, all events were well attended. Although busy periods were matched by some quieter moments, everyone praised the overall calm atmosphere – a typical characteristic of the laid-back, well-executed Copenhagen shows.
“I like Copenhagen because there is a very relaxed atmosphere – they are the nicest trade shows you can visit,” said Herbert Hofmann, head of buying at Berlin men’s and women’s store Voo. “There’s lots of space, lots of daylight and a really relaxed atmosphere, which I really appreciate.”
Drapers at CIFF
CIFF is the bigger of the city’s two trade exhibitions – its 2,000 brands across 60,000 sq m are located just outside of the city at Bella Centre. The vast event is spread across several halls and offers a huge plethora of menswear and womenswear brands – almost like several trade shows in one – that aims to cater for both international and domestic visitors, as well as buyers from different levels of the market.
Sections such as CIFF Raven focus on the most directional, agenda-setting and emerging brands with a very international outlook – a who’s who of “super-cool brands”, commented Browns’ menswear buyer Lee Goldup.
Other areas focused on a strong mix of leading contemporary brands through to mainstream labels with a Scandinavian focus, a draw for buyers looking to find a good number of Scandi names under one roof – the Style Setters and Sleek areas had particularly busy periods.
Some halls were set up with the domestic crowd in mind, and hosted international names such as Superdry looking for local stockists. Elsewhere, large areas were dedicated to multi-brand sales agencies, exhibiting several brands at once in what felt like pop-up showrooms.
The “showrooms” were “great, as you can see a lot of brands at once on one stand – it just makes it so easy,” said Rachel Cooper, womenswear buyer at Harvey Nichols.
While some sections were buzzy and bustling, others experienced a much steadier and sometimes slower pace. Much praise was offered for CIFF’s unconventional and attractive layout – some areas were given large expanses of space and stands resembled art gallery-like installations: “it’s very beautifully orchestrated – big and spacious, it has a powerful impact,” added Laura Robertshaw, menswear buyer at Liberty. But this vastness did contribute to a slightly lacklustre atmosphere in some sections, as visitors were very spread out.
Drapers at Revolver
The city’s second trade show, Revolver, took place across town at Øksnehallen. While there were international brands within its mix, its main focus is on cool and contemporary, design-driven local brands: big name Scandi labels across womenswear and menswear such as Soulland, Filippa K, Wood Wood, Norse Projects, Stine Goya and Baum und Pferdgarten. The biggest of these edged the show’s central “avenue” walkway, which became a networking hub this season as a result of the pleasing addition of tables and chairs throughout.
Revolver’s more intimate location drew in similar crowds to CIFF, but its more-traditional, concentrated layout sometimes created a livelier atmosphere, and the second day was particularly busy.
Drapers at the Ganni show, Copenhagen Fashion Week
Schedules were packed even tighter with the addition of the city’s roster of catwalk shows and presentations. Highlights included big local names such as Ganni and By Malene Birger, alongside rising stars such as Cecilie Bahnsen and Mfpen.
A plethora of UK names passed through the shows: buying teams from luxury players such as Harvey Nichols, Browns and Liberty, digital brands including Asos and Thread, and a mix of different independents – Machine A, Goodhood, Jules B and St Albans’ The Dressing Room were all spotted.
Mood of the shows
Herbert Hoffman, head of buying, Berlin men’s and women’s store Voo
I come here mostly for Scandinavian brands. It’s nice that there are always lots of newer brands coming through here too. Copenhagen supports and showcases these emerging brands very well, which I really appreciate. It is 100% worth me coming here. I have all the Scandi brands in one spot, under one roof. That’s not possible anywhere else – I’d be travelling all over Paris trying to visit their showrooms. And I always find something new here. Copenhagen is also great for general inspiration, seeing what the locals are buying and wearing.
Rachel Cooper, womenswear buyer, Harvey Nichols
It’s my first time, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Revolver. There are lots of brands I could pick up there. The layout is great and very easy to browse. CIFF has been strong too. It has lots of multi-brand showrooms too, which is great as you can see a lot of brands at once on one stand – it just makes it so easy. It is definitely worth my while coming here and everything is here within two venues, and the networking opportunities are really excellent.
Camilla Johansen, sales executive, 2nd Day
It’s been okay this year. We come to CIFF and we also show at Revolver. There are a lot of Scandinavian buyers here as well as those from Germany and Belgium. The first day was by far the busiest, and it’s been going well ever since. I think buyers are feeling positive – it’s a tough time at the moment, but people seem to be doing well.
Chris Scholes, founder, Afield
This is the last show of the season for us. It’s been a great season so far and this has been a good way to end. We went to Revolver twice, then tried CIFF last season but decided to come back to Revolver this time. I think we’re better suited to the brand mix here at Revolver and I like the more intimate set up – it’s much easier to meet and connect with buyers rather than the big spacious set up of CIFF, where buyers almost get lost. Revolver is nice and easy and contained. Day two was the best day. We had German, Dutch, Irish and mostly Scandi buyers, which is what we came for.
Christian Jensen, sales manager, Wood Wood
Revolver has been super busy, as usual, but we are on home turf. We’ve been writing lots of orders here. The brand adjacencies are excellent and it’s a good platform to see lots of our customers at once. It’s surprising how many international buyers we’ve seen. From Liberty and Harvey Nichols in the UK to [China’s] Lane Crawford and Bergdorf Goodman from the US – the last wrote their order here. The quality of the buyers we’ve seen across the show has been excellent.
Stephen Wilson, wholesale manager, Kestin Hare
It’s our first time in Copenhagen, showing at Revolver. We’re seeing it as a bit of an experiment to judge the market out here. It seems that the bigger local brands are super busy here – the Scandi buyers are here for the Scandi brands. But we have picked up some new accounts. It’s been really pleasant and the overall quality of the show is great – we were actually quite surprised. It’s been steady but good, with a great atmosphere.
Wayne Sørensen, founder, Sørensen
CIFF has been a great show for us. It’s our first time here and it has been slow and steady but good – I’m happy with the show. What I love is that it really doesn’t feel like a trade show. For me, we’ve met some great buyers and had really valuable conversations, so I’m happy.
John Park, founder of sales agency Concrete Studio
There’s been a nice pace to CIFF: quite relaxed but good. CIFF is a very easy show and such a nice environment. It is excellent for networking, making and building relationships and seeing contacts in a more relaxed atmosphere – you get to spend time with the different buyers here and during social time.
It’s the first time we’ve bought our womenswear collections here. Our menswear sales books have closed now, so we’ve decided it’s better to bring the womenswear collections a little early, to give a sort of preview ahead of when those books open. The buyers can have a first look at women’s here and then when they come to Paris they will be prepared. Although saying that, we have actually written some orders here.
David Keogh, head of sales, Maharishi
We came to meet Scandinavian buyers and we’ve met some really good stores. Conceptually and visually, CIFF is lovely. It is quite late for us in the season, but we have written some orders. The winter show isn’t late, but the summer one is a bit.
Marie Schulz, CEO and founder, Schulz By Crowd
This is our second time at Revolver. We started out showing at CIFF but we think the buyers here are more focused on newness. At CIFF people tend to go to the brands that they know but here they’re a bit more curious and take more risks.
The first day was quiet, but there are a lot of interesting buyers and stylists here – lots of people from the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Amanda Halonen, sales, R/H Studio
Revolver has been good so far. For us it’s quieter than last season was, but I think the good weather is keeping people away. We’ve had a real mix of international buyers and have seen a few small UK independent stores. It’s a good show for us, as people come to Revolver with an inspirational mindset.
Sophie Jansen, international sales executive, Essentiel Antwerp
Day one and two were busy at Revolver, and everyone is very enthusiastic. We’ve mainly seen Danish buyers and are primarily here to focus on the Scandinavian market. We have seen people from the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands as well. It’s our second season at Revolver now and for us it’s busier. We’re in a good location with a lot of footfall passing by. We’ve been writing orders at this show. We do Premium in Berlin, and Paris shows, but here is always busy because we are still quite new and a bit unknown.
Christina Palne, sales and PR, Lous
We’re new to Revolver and we’re happy. We’ve had a very good response and we’re in a good position for footfall. There are a lot of international brands here and we’ve seen a lot of Japanese buyers.
Sussie Frank, director, Muse
CIFF has been busy and has been very good for networking. The Danes are here obviously, both new customers and existing ones. There are a lot of Dutch and German buyers which we’ve not really seen before. Usually they go to Premium but this year they seem to be in Copenhagen instead.
CIFF has such a high profile and there’s so much going on that it’s really fantastic. All the different areas and projects bring in a lot more people. If you want Scandinavian brands then you come to CIFF. I feel like there is a lot of newness here.
Caroline Warlev, sales, Notes du Nord
It’s been very busy at CIFF this year, especially on Wednesday. It’s always slower on Friday but we have a lot of sales meetings set up. There’s been a mix of independents and bigger stores, including several independents from the UK. This is the first time we’ve showed at CIFF, we’ve always been at Revolver before. We wanted to try something a bit new and different and we felt that CIFF was more business focused. We’ve written a lot of orders, especially for our Danish clients.