FIRST DAY @ CIFF: The creative wave

Copenhagen International Fashion Fair opened its doors on Jan. 31st The CIFF community gathered in Copenhagen for the FW 2018-19 edition, and to experience CIFF´s unique take on the future of fashion.

Unlike most exhibitions, big fun happens right from the beginning at CIFF, because at the entrance of the Raven area there is the special project curated by Stavros Karelis from MACHINE- A, the independent London store where emerging talents get mixed with hugely directional brands. People slowed down as they passed through Alyx immersive never-seen-before imagery from the catalogue shot by Nick Knight «New Happiness. Love Chaos». And positive chaos is one of the key words of this edition, a good vibe gently disrupting what people expect from events like this. «I travel a lot for my work, but what I really like about CIFF and Copenhagen in general is the different approach they have towards fashion», says Sara Sozzani Maino Deputy Editor in Chief of Vogue Italia and Head of Vogue Talents. «Buyers as well as press need to confront themselves with pure creativity beyond the actual clothes and here we can do it. Besides, I am very impressed by the work done by fashion schools in Denmark: they are growing so much and so well».

The collective show held by Via Design with sixteen of its graduate students kickstarted CIFF Runway schedule in the morning, proving Sozzani Maino’s words to be right. The kids come from Hungary, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany and Denmark of course and they bring their fresh vision on style. But they all go deeper, using their small collections to express their point of view about life. In their garments you can tell their concern about pollution and overconsumption, so they up-cycle already existing fabrics or train themselves to design a wardrobe inspired by Tibetan nomads, to learn from the art of sticking to the essential.

In the meantime, there is an illustrator hanging around the catwalk and drawing sketches. Her name is Fiona Gourlay and she is a long time SHOWstudio collaborator, the fashion website founded and directed by Nick Knight. She spent the morning painting the wall of SHOWStudio area, inside the MACHINE- A curated project, but she also wants to capture the essence of the brands on the catwalk, like Martin Asbjǿrn the golden boy of Danish menswear.

He turned the parterre of his show into a live Dj set illuminated by passionate red lights and introduced the audience to his perfectly accomplished latest fashion turbulence. «Before launching my collection in 2014 I spent much time in my kitchen trying to define my identity as a brand», says Asbjǿrn, «I trained at the Design Technical Tailor Academy here in Copenhagen where I learned so much about the craftsmanship and the fitting, so now I can take the liberty to be creatively messy. Chaos is exciting as long as you know how to perform it properly».

At Maison Margiela MM6 they are masters of boundless experimentation. The maison arranged a three days long happening where the creative team and the public all contribute to paint and decorate a set. What is very CIFF, though, is the community response to that call to action. The doors had just opened for business, but many people stopped by to leave their mark on the scene.

The «take it slow» attitude spreads in Copenhagen and inside CIFF’s booths because it’s highly effective. To give yourself the chance to boost creativity and to tighten up CIFF community bonds, makes you see things from a different perspective. There are many young talents showing at CIFF: some of them will turn into the hot designers of the future. Others might prefer the niche market forever. Maybe someone will eventually quit. But today at CIFF they all set their minds free. And helped us all to do the same.