COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (CIFF) is opening its doors to the public for the first time.
The Denmark-based trade show’s special projects area, curated by Stavros Karelis of London-based boutique Machine-A, will showcase a partnership with New York artist and songwriter A$AP Nast and a sustainability project with denim brand Lee alongside panels, pop-ups and installations co-curated by Fashion Revolution Founder and Creative Director Orsola de Castro that will be available to members of the public for free.
CIFF, one of the most prominent fashion fairs in Northern Europe, is shifting its audience strategy amid challenging times for trade shows. With more buyers opting to do business online rather than travel to view collections at physical events, trade shows are having to reinvent themselves to remain relevant.
“These could be the designers of tomorrow,” said Chief Innovation Officer Kristian Anderson of the new audience the trade show is hoping to attract with its public-facing special projects and free admission. “We believe that B2B needs to stay somewhere, but we need to challenge it and keep it agile,” he added.
The three-day event taking place between January 29 and 31 will feature an array of projects from buzzy names within the industry and beyond. A$AP Nast, part of the A$AP Mob alongside A$AP Rocky and Ferg, will debut his limited-edition capsule collection with LA-based streetwear brand Pangea in a pop-up called “Please Don’t Pet.”
CIFF’s designers-in-residence, Bethany Williams and Duran Lantink, will showcase collections made using Lee’s deadstock denim and denim innovation fabrics, in partnership with Lee, Fashion Revolution's Castro and sustainability expert Dio Kurazawa, founder of The Bear Scouts.
“Sometimes when we talk about sustainability, the principles are there but the results are not,” said Karelis, who was drawn to the two designers because they “both know how to create something extremely attractive to the consumer,” while adopting environmentally conscious design methods.
The special projects area will also include a mending bar for repairing and upcycling old denim, a “Denim Tattoo Bar” for embroidering jeans, and a sustainability “confessional” led by Castro, offering individual attendees a private audience with industry experts to ask for tailor-made advice ranging from mindful shopping to clothing care and maintenance.
This isn’t the first time CIFF is turning to a sustainability-minded programme. In August 2018, the trade show collaborated with Naomi Campbell, Virgil Abloh and Nick Knight to promote the Little Sun Foundation, a solar power non-profit. CIFF also tackled sustainability at its Paris show in June, its first event outside of its home city.
The trade show is also doubling down on its sportswear offering with a dedicated CIFF Sporting area, complete with workout classes and a real estate development project building sports facilities in the local area.