Designers’ Nest: Going global

DATE & TIME: Tuesday 7 August – 17:00
Place: Egekildescenen
Words Jeppe Ugelvig 

In a steamy warehouse Tuesday evening, Scandinavia’s top five design schools — Kolding, Danish Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Beckmans, and Aalto — presented their annual picks from the graduating classes, their offerings promptly causing wonder, amazement, and quite a bit of hope for the region’s future fashion scene. Under the new leadership of fashion curator Ane Lynge-Jorlén, the seasoned competition has sharpened its formula, with the English NewGen and France’s Hyères as role models. This was reflected in the jury, as well as in the fashion on show, which emphasized conceptual rigor and technical ability over wearability (at last!)

With a total of 18 contestants, there are still too many names in the competition, a reflection of the current nomination system. Reducing the number to 10 would undoubtedly allow for longer-lasting impressions with both judges and press. That being said, there was one glorious moment after another throughout the thirty-minute show: Stina Randestad’s bouncy 2D/3D knitwear tubular dresses; Helle Lie Jakobsen’s bright pagan-like robes with mesh fish-net detailing evoking the Nordic seaside; Lili Pham’s humorously illogical basic-wear deconstructing utilitarianism à la the Parisian art brand BLESS; Domantas Smaizys’ baroque and stately menswear (a personal favourite!) featuring clunky, multi-coloured textiles executed with a clear maturity.

The highlight was 1stprize winner Marie Sloth Rousing, who incorporated everyday objects such as umbrellas and racks into breezy silk silhouettes, challenging the way we perceive functionality in design while evoking the vanguardism of early Viktor & Rolf. Rousing proves that when Scandinavian design dares to be intelligent, it excels with a clearly international potential, and this in itself makes Designers’ Nest Copenhagen Fashion Week’s perhaps most important fashion show.

View all looks here.