At the fashion fair’s 62nd annual event, Document sits down with a crop of brands central to the burgeoning Nordic fashion scene

I got lost, I got the loving vibe of a music festival, and I got the impression of optimism everywhere I turned. These were my three foremost experiences at this year’s 62nd annual Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (CIFF). What is a “fashion fair,” you may ask? Imagine a trade show to the nth power, multiplied by Coachella, distributed across 26,000 square feet with over 1,000 independent brands, and you’ll merely scratch the surface of this year’s event, aptly called CIFF 62. In partnership with fellow Danish fashion fair Revolver, CIFF 62 was based on the theme of One Copenhagen, a call to action for citizens to build communities around a diverse set of industries, fashion included. Labeled “CIFF City,” the fair was housed inside the Bella Center, with its own town square dedicated for food, entertainment, and music, and a series of permanent design showrooms housed on a second floor reworked as the fair’s “village,” with a catwalk looking over the space.

“This January’s show is the one year anniversary since establishing a new vision for One Copenhagen and represents the realization of this ambition for a consolidated contemporary international trade hub in the Nordic region,” says CIFF Director Sofie Dolva. “We now focus on turning our attention outwards to showcase to the global markets what has been established.”

Not only is CIFF the host of a great party, but the organization houses over 350 brands year round in its permanent showrooms. CIFF’s dedication to revolutionizing the industry reflects the Danish attitude toward fashion: young brands are a vital resource that should be nurtured. As a way to show their support for new talent, CIFF awards studio spaces to rising stars as a part of a program for emerging Nordic designers. One of the permanent showrooms’ occupants is TG Botanical, a brand by designer Tetyana Chumak, who showed her Fall/Winter 2024 collection in CIFF Village during the fair, right across the metaphorical “street” from her studio.

As the story goes for many fashion brands just starting out, a few brief years (and perhaps a heritage handbag later) leads to many designers to shutter before they can really spread their wings. CIFF not only buttresses those new to the industry, but provides enough ongoing support to draw Danish designers back home from showing at Paris fashion week.

Document sits down with four of CIFF’s finest to chat all things unique to their practice in Copenhagen.

Henrik Vibskov

Maya Kotomori: Have you been experimenting with any new materials or textiles?

Henrik Vibskov: We’ve been looking into different ways of working light and shadow and this kind of plus-minus. There’s this French millhouse we’ve been working with for the last several years, and they can create some super crazy patterns. The first three looks on the catwalk come from them, and [the pattern] looks a bit camouflage, but it’s actually a full landscape turned into a print.

Maya: Describe your relationship to color and/or pattern for this collection.

Henrik: The last year we’ve been working a lot with some friends’ fabric mills and creating some different techniques for weaving. We want color artwork not to scream, but still being colorful is important. The patterns this season are a bit darker than normal, I would say, as a sign of the times in the world.

Maya: Tell me about a particular milestone you and your team have achieved this season.

Henrik: A particular milestone was to only do one show, instead of doing two or three. For over 20 years I’ve been doing Paris, and for this season we only did one show and that was in Copenhagen so we can focus a bit more on sales and press where we can get more out of showing than just customer benefit.

Tetyana Chumak, designer of TG Botanical

Maya: Does showing in Copenhagen inspire any of your design process?

Tetyana Chumak: Being part of Copenhagen Fashion Week is truly inspiring, as it is the only fashion week that not only speaks about important social and global topics like sustainability, but also works directly to address them. This gives us the belief that the world is changing for the better and awakens the desire to create each piece with more consciousness and painstaking care.

Maya: Tell me about the casting process for your collection. Are there any special talents who served as muses for this season?

Tetyana: The models helped us understand the final concept of the AW24 collection, and the casting process itself was the final stage of its realization.

We’re not so much concerned with the ‘muse.’ Our key requirement is still the policy of diversity. It is very significant for us to demonstrate the beauty of many appearances and to emphasize the unique wearability of TG Botanical on different shapes and figures.

Maya: What’s next for you and the brand after this collection?

Tatyana: New challenges, new complexities, and new opportunities. Our team is working hard to develop new designs and production techniques, as well as find innovative tools that will allow us to be more creative in our [existing] sustainable corner of the fashion industry.

Nadia Wire

Maya: Tell me about a particular milestone you and your team have achieved in creating this collection.

Nadia Wire: We just did a project with ESPRIT where we upcycled two of their hero jumpers. It was a super exciting project, and we all came together with Highsnobiety to celebrate the project with an event during CPHFW. Making these jumpers has been very different from how we usually work, since the fabrics already existed. I wanted to show the different crafts of knitwear: how it can both be manual labor and machine-made. I wanted to be respectful to the jumpers, [to show] the shape and the materials without cutting into the fabrics, as you normally do when you upcycle. I only disassembled the [garments] in the seams, worked with the fabrics as they already were, and put them together in a new way. I ended up using different techniques such as jacquard knitting on a digital knitting machine, and hand embroidery using domestic knitting machines. All of these aspects made the process very time-consuming, but it also gave me time to constantly reflect on what it was we were creating.

Maya: Why did you decide to show with CIFF this season?

Nadia: We have a very strong community in Denmark, which we are super proud of. We have never shown at CIFF before, or even been present during CPHFW, as we have always been focused on Paris and on our international relations. Last season, we got a new retailer in Denmark, NAKED Copenhagen, which broadened our focus to Scandinavia, which is super exciting. In a sense it feels like we are ‘coming home,’ even though we have always been here.

Wood Wood

Maya: What would you say is the most exciting technique unique to this season of your brand?

Wood Wood: Not a particularly visible one. We focused on the quality of the block: a standard of measurements and dimensions to ensure that going forward the customers can trust our fit.

Maya: Describe what a uniquely “fall” collection looks like in terms of your house codes.

Wood Wood: The agenda this season was to re-establish the Wood Wood codes for the future. We focused on a sporty angle given the brand’s long history with sneaker collaborations. Layered over this was a desire to introduce some chic-ness. WW is a 20-year-old brand now so we wanted to pay homage to those women who have now grown with us from the start, and offer them something they can relate to in their ’40s.

Maya: Do you have any personal rituals, pre- or post-show?

Wood Wood: Pre-meticulous checking…and rechecking. Post-show we get very depressed…giving life to a collection is an intensely emotional experience for us, and we are so [bent on] setting a new path for the brand. It’s important that the creative and commercial teams understand what lies ahead. I think we achieved our objective this season.