Copenhagen Fashion Week SS21, running from the 9th – 12th of August, is set against a backdrop of global turmoil. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown unprecedented challenges at designers and the digital fashion week formats have struggled to have the same impact.
Copenhagen is alone in being able to present a hybrid fashion week, one that utilises virtual spaces as well as physical ones. It’s a defining moment for the bi-annual event and many brands showing, as decisions made now could mark the beginning of more permanent change.
We spoke to established and emerging brands, Stine Goya and Skall Studio, about the importance of Fashion Week and how they’re tackling the hybrid season:
Skall Studio, a sustainable brand established in 2014 by sisters Julie and Marie Skall in North Jutland, will be presenting an intimate show in keeping with governmental guidelines.
The presentation promises to be one that “will be relaxed and dreamy,” in keeping with their SS21 collection that “dreams about the South of France and blurry summer days as captured by David Hamilton.” Although a small group will be invited to take part, Skall Studio will also be presenting digitally, with “a surprise for the international guests attending virtually.”
For established brand Stine Goya, the hybrid format has offered an opportunity to strip back to basics and celebrate the Goya team.
“We will present a short film made in collaboration with Blonde Media & Working Holidays, followed by an Open House at our showroom with local media and press. Stine Goya’s success has been built through collaboration and community and this digital presentation is our moment to refocus the lens on the many faces behind the brand.” Explains Goya.
For a small brand like Skall Studio, the importance of showing at fashion week cannot be understated. “It’s the very first time that we are on the schedule, so we’re excited and honored. Time will tell what it will bring, but we hope everyone will enjoy what we’re doing and we’ll get the chance to spread the word about sustainability.” Says Skall.
Stine Goya has enjoyed international acclaim in recent years, something made possible by CPHFW’s support. “Over the course of 14 years in business, CPHFW has been critical to our development and acted as a catalyst to our international growth,” explains Goya.
“Fashion Week is the moment when the entire industry comes together to share ideas and showcase talents – and it’s often through this physicality that the strongest relationships and partnerships are formed. When we have the opportunity to invite editors, buyers, creatives into our universe – there is a more complete understanding of our direction and our DNA.”
Although fashion week is important, the opportunity to rethink traditional presentations has not been lost on Goya: “The pivot in fashion week’s programme is an important opportunity for us to welcome the world to our universe in a whole new way. Our shows are usually attended by between 250-450 people depending on the venue which is completely impossible during this time. Although the scale of production and consequently the reach is completely different, we believe the focus on our strong local community & partners will actually serve us better.”
For a brand with sustainability at its core like Skall Studio, being a part of a hybrid season – one that’s a little slower and more sustainable by virtue of being virtual – makes more sense than ever:
“The show will be for a very limited number of people due to the circumstances – luckily, we like the intimate atmosphere. We think [the hybrid format] is a great way of rethinking the format of fashion week in general. It’s nice to have the opportunity to include people abroad through online formats, but the world is getting more and more digital, so this is a natural step and a great way to convey a message.
“We hope that everyone will use as an opportunity to reflect on lifestyle choices and consumption. The pandemic has taught us all a lot already, we hope this will push us to be better and think outside the box in the future.”
CPHFW’s hybrid format has given brands the opportunity to experiment and choose how they wish to show. For Stine Goya, it felt too soon to dive back into a traditional format. Instead, they’ve had the opportunity to “reconsider how important a strong digital agenda will be to the brand going forward.” But it’s also important for fashion weeks around the world to consider this going forward.
“CPHFW like British Fashion Council or Camera Nazionale della Moda are being forced to pivot and deal with an entirely new situation brought about by COVID-19. This means new platforms, interview hubs, live sessions and streaming – it also means reconsidering the calendar and production cycles. But fashion has always been about change – this is just a new chapter.
“We hope that the successes and failures of this season’s new hybrid format will be teachable moments for both us as a brand and the industry as an entity. We hope that hybrid isn’t a precursor for “back to business as usual” and instead marks a critical change in the industry for the better of all stakeholders involved.”
Regardless of size, both brands are hopeful for the same thing – inspiring their audience to demand a better system:
“We hope that our audience will still feel that same sense of excitement that you get when a model first walks out onto the runway. We hope we can inspire and activate our community” says Goya.
Skall hopes “this will bring new ideas to the table. We are all a part of forming the future of the fashion industry. In the end, it’s a learning process and we are lucky to be in it together.”