Top 5 Copenhagen Boutiques Showcasing Independent Designers
As the Danish saying goes: “No-one can save everyone, but everyone can save someone." In Copenhagen locals rescue creatives via boutiques strips and little lanes of owner-run stores that trickle off the city's Strøget. For independent designers, friendly Copenhagen is a safe market place to stock their brands. Wandering through the richness of the Nørrebro region and the hip Østebro, here are five Copenhagen boutiques known for showcasing independent design.
1. Wood Wood
One of the six Copenhagen fashion designers changing fashion and textiles, Wood Wood is a luxury casual label-turned-store that has earned its fashion stripes in the street. Formed in 2002 by three former students of Denmark's Royal Design School, Wood Wood lies somewhere between high fashion and sportswear. Located in Copenhagen's Grønnegade (close to the city center), the label originally stuck to namesake t-shirts, sneakers, skateboards, collector toys and art books when it bowed its first store. Now it houses foreign newcomer brands to the city. Today, there is a hip-hop, activewear theme hanging on the racks at Wood Wood. Japanese urbanist, Uniform Experiment, is one such contributor to the look. Founded in 2008, the menswear line cuts square yet tailored shirts and tees with elaborate graphics, numbers and florals. The streetwear line is monochromatic and mosaic sometimes, layering most shirts and cotton jerseys with synthetic mesh that hangs longline. Another Wood Wood member is Parisian label, Pigalle. Founded by Frenchmen, Stephane Ashpool, the designer's infatuation with basketball and fashion mixes urban game silhouettes with satiny nylons and stretch-look neoprene. Multi-colored pleat trousers are something to look forward to in coming months for Pigalle, as seen on the runway for AW15.
Fünf opened its doors in August 2004 - an initiative lead by five fünf independent Danish designers wanting to build a multi-brand store to carry their wares. In the beginning, all garments were sewn in the back room of the shop, with select pieces and sizes being made for the individual customer. Come 2015, and one designer down, the four brands - Sophia Lee, Tolsing, Froks and Fünfs - have relocated their manufacturing to Bulgaria due to logistic problems with their back room. The designers - Sofie Nørregaard, Sara Tolsing, Maja Haahr- visit the eastern European factory twice a year, keeping a close relationship and clear transparency with their suppliers.
From the small shop in Nørrebro, Sophia Lee - owned by Sofie Nørregaard - is sold, embodying flowy fabrics and soft silhouettes that evoke femininity. Tolsing is designed by Sara Tolsing. The clothes are set between graphic cuts, feminine tailoring and aprés-ski looks, sporting premium polyester fabrics and cotton/silk blends. Maja Haahr, the designer behind Froks, embodies Danish minimalism but with a focus on details such as industrial zips, quilted panels and big sleeves.
3. Elviro by Wythe
Cordelia Wythe, a British former ballerina, left her London life when she met her Danish husband and moved to Copenhagen’s hip Østerbro area. The dancer's passion for luxury turned to fashion when she opened up her own multibrand store, decked out in stainless steel and bohemian decor. The eclectic domain in which Elivro by Wythe operates attracted Parisian independent, Vanessa Bruno. The French designer is ultra feminine in her collections with mosaic, textural skirts in aquatic blues; offset with denim-on-denim trench coats cinched at the waist. High-end t-shirt maker, Majestic Filatures, is a second brand. Its luxury tees are made from soft and delicate materials, like linen, cashmere or silk, reminiscent of a casually chic Charlotte Gainsbourg. Elviro stocks interiors brand Louise Roe too, whose Danish designed cushions, in canvas and cotton, are true examples of Scandinavian functionality. Big brands on sale include Moncler, Missoni, Pierre Balmain, Barbara Bui, Sonia Rykiel and Cacharel.
Mother and daughter duo, Isabel and Lene, are the co-creators behind iiL7. The iiL7 collection is edgy, with clean lines and fresh details. The women aren't afraid to experiment and take risks with fabric, adding textures as layers to their feminine designs.The modern, urban lifestyle in cities such as New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo, make up the boutique's 'one world, one community' retail philosophy. Joining iiL7 is lingerie maker Bordelle. Satiny and silky black bodycon undergarments mix with corset-looking contraptions; and luxury laced bras and undies. Contrasting, with dystopian blacks and heavy greys, Sandrine Philippe gives a nod to the 'last days' with sheer, asymmetrical dresses - ripped in slicks so that holes emerge. Great Dane, Anne Vest, who hand draws patterns for unique silhouettes, is a boutique drawcard - mixing grainy leathers, plush shearling, silk, cashmere and linen. Italian shoe maestro, Casadei, cannot be overlooked either, with its 13cm-heeled, patent gold ankle boot. Come to iiL7 for fashion favorites McQ and Barbara Bui, and footwear from Giuseppe Zanotti.
Muuse is a design collective with roots that stem back to socio-political movements in 1700 Nordic history. The double 'UU' in the name Muuse points to the philosophy that there is more than one "you" - something the Muuse takes seriously. It poaches design talent after graduating from top schools, such as Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Central Saint Martins and Beckmans College of Design. Then, it manages the production process for the new designers on their behalf (helping with sourcing fabrics and manufacturing garments), guiding them to craft sole pieces, mini-lines or whole collections. Each designer is individually paid and credited for their work, under the Muuse brand name. In 2014, Vogue Talents launched the Young Vision Accessories Award with Muuse. Deniz Terli took home the award for her “futuristic lines, sense of volume and different femininity", according to Italian Vogue’s Senior Fashion Editor, Sara Maino. Come to Muuse to shop the rawest of talent. It is visionary fashion for wardrobes of the fashion-forward.