21 Danish designers to explore if you’re into Cecilie Bahnsen


Ganni and Saks Potts are just the beginning.

Cecilie Bahnsen may have popped onto your radar recently.

The Scandinavian designer is enjoying newfound sartorial superstardom after taking Danish cool-girl style worldwide, with an entire design house dedicated to the humble sundress. Her work is playful and hyper-feminine, but with an absence of form-fitting, super-tight anything. In short, she does summer dressing very, very well.

And it has seen her popularity soar.

But Bahnsen is just one of an entire plethora of stylish Danes enjoying similar attention. Having recently moved to Copenhagen from Melbourne (and being very much accustomed to a monochromatic winter moment), I’ve noticed this transition starkly.

Firstly, because the fashion in Copenhagen is unlike anything else I’ve seen. Much like everything else in Denmark, a fierce national pride seems to influence a type of distinctly ‘Danish’ dressing. Danes (and their many design houses) have a unique affinity for oversizing, floaty cuts and a strong use of pastel colour and prints. So brands here are designing for Danes, by Danes.

Cos and Acne Studios aside, a mainstream obsession with Scandinavian design is clearly catapulting. It probably started in recent years with Ganni, who put Copenhagen’s little fashion universe on the map.

1. Ganni
ganni.com / @ganni

Husband and wife team Ditte and Nikolaj Reffstrup expanded the Ganni brand to New York in October this year; such is the global obsession with the Copenhagen-based fashion house. Ganni has a playful, colourful and inherently wearable style, that pushes fashion boundaries further than the High Street ever would. This season has seen the label firmly in the zetgeist, experimenting with pastel, floral and animal prints and pairing these with cowboy boots, mini bucket and bum-bags. In Copenhagen itself – where Ganni is quite literally everywhere, on everyone – a hot tip is to visit the outlet store, Ganni Postmodern.

2. By Malene Birger

Started by Malene Birger in Copenhagen in 2003, this label has only recently shot into the collective consciousness in Australia. In her home town, Birger is best known (and beloved) for her small collections of feminine dresses, cCashmere jumpers, draped silky shirts and tiered dresses, with everything slightly oversized.

3. Stine Goya
stinegoya.com / @stinegoyastudio

Copenhagen-born, Central St Martins graduate Stine Goya launched her eponymous label in 2006. Think Denmark’s answer to Gorman, with playful, original prints and everything colourful, feminine and floaty. Goya’s designs are often puff-sleeved, tiered or exaggerated in cut, then worn back by Danes with sneakers or sandals in an oxymoronic sorta way.

4. Saks Potts
sakspotts.com  / @sakspotts

Started by two BFFs, Saks Potts stays true to the Danish principle of ‘fun’ dressing. Their collections regularly feature coveted investment coats, with the brand perhaps best known for its extremely extra leather trenches with faux fur collars and cuffs (like the lime green one worn by Kendall Jenner). You might’ve already seen Saks Potts’ glitter co-ords or matching two-pieces on Insta, or worn by Selena Gomez, or by a then-five-year-old North West.

5. Baum und Pferdgarten
baumundpferdgarten.com / @baumundpferdgarten

Baum und Pferdgarten is by a designer Danish duo working out of Nørrebro (people might call this Copenhagen’s Brunswick, it’s definitely got the same effect). The pair delivers matching pastel co-ords, printed puffers, statement faux furs, and even a chic Scandi-style après-ski padded onesie, if that’s your thing.

6. Envii

Think Glassons but classier. Envii takes Scandi trends to the high street and makes them accessible to a young crowd, in a (high) fashion universe that tends to be anything but. It offers basics, denim, athleisure and current Danish styles you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

7. Boii

Boii is another label for if you’re feeling Scandi, but are on a budget. It offers dresses, skirts, beach-going attire and kimonos, so their Cph boutique has slightly Balinese temple vibes. That might seem un-Danish, so lots of locals will wear these dresses over jeans, since being warm is also important. It’s four degrees here today and I may or may not have just dropped $200 on Boii dresses, just to flex on all the basic beachgoers back home come January.

8. Meotine

If you’re not a platinum blonde with at least three whole meters of glossy, dead-straight hair draped across the (genuine) fur lapel of your Meotine Charlie jacket, are you even Danish? These iconic designs are insanely popular for something priced at $450. Meotine also does a bunch of other classic, fur-trimmed, slightly ’80s leather jackets, including a floor-length chocolate leather trench. There are perhaps more than a few similarities between Meotine’s styles and the jackets at Saks Potts, where the leather trenches are also fur-trimmed. But Meotine offers an almost-fluorescent cobalt blue and even Kendall Jenner has one.

9. and 10 Hultquist and Heroines
hultquist-copenhagen.com / @hultquistcopenhagen

Wearing a thoughtful assortment of gold jewellery all over your ears, hands, neck, ankles, wrists, etc. is apparently the Danish way. Lots of colour in said jewellery is also important, given that, as seems to be the approach, nothing is taken too seriously – if you like it, wear it. Both Hultquist and Heroines offer the opportunity to have fun with your jewellery. Their stores feature loads of charms (seashells, pearls and trinkets to jazz up gold chains) or beaded bracelets that could have been fashioned at a fifth birthday party but could now also be worn with a Cecilie Bahnsen dress.


HVISK seems to have changed the moderately-priced minibag game with the ‘Cayman’ fold-over, apparently owned by all of Denmark’s 5.6 million. This is iconic Danish practicality, and in literally every single colour. There’s absolutely no reason to separate one’s belongings into two separate vessels when the same thing could be achieved in one, and yet, on campus every girl has a HVISK slung across her chest, and a tote on her shoulder.

You also HAVE to wear the bag like this or else.

12. Mads Norgaard

Mads Norgaard’s eponymous fashion label was started in 1986 and has since come to specialise in the long-sleeve T-shirt (the #101). Niche, yes, but the style is now sold in no less than a million (estimate) different colours. All lined up, supermarket-style in-store, the #101 sits alongside Mads Norgaard’s Icelandic jumpers, Nordic prints, wool overshirts and padded jackets – all styles you likely wouldn’t see anywhere outside Scandinavia. The brand prides itself on a universal approach (old and young alike are featured in almost every campaign) and it seems to be indispensable to pretty much every Danish wardrobe. So you’ll see lots of Danes with Norgaard basics.

13. Rotate Birger Christensen

Copenhagen-based and only established in 2018, Rotate is a collection designed in collaboration with the Birger-Christensen fashion house, and two prominent Danish influencers/designers. It offers designs for the influencer-aged Danish woman, with ’80s-style statement outfits, exaggerated hemlines and sleeves. All very event-worthy yet accessible.

14. Remain Birger Christensen 

Remain is another joint endeavour by Birger Christensen, and influencers Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimarsdottir. Launching in 2019, Remain is slightly more understated with muted colours, classic cuts, denim and suiting. The Birger Christensen department store behind both brands has been trading for 150 years in central Copenhagen and is in its fourth generation of family ownership. Its Remain line is all about a contemporary ‘uniform’, reworking the classics of everyday Danish style.

15. Stand

Founded in 2014 in Stockholm, up-and-coming label Stand is dedicated to Scandinavian simplicity, classic jackets and investment outerwear. Winter 2019/20 is all about longline down jackets, on-trend faux-furs and teddy jackets, as well as animal prints and colour.

16. Cecile Copenhagen

Since bringing iconic Scandi style – in the form of simple linen shift dresses – to everyone’s attention in 2011, Cecile Jørgensen’s now world-famous RTW brand has continued to focus on elegant design. Collections often include monochromatic shifts, shorts and loose shirting. It’s currently stocked in Parlour X in Sydney, as well as a number of other retailers across Australia.

17. Designers Remix  

Launched in 2002, Designers Remix is a sustainable Danish label with a goal to be carbon neutral by 2020. In 2017, Designers Remix Preloved launched: a smaller collection with circular approach to upcycling pre-loved and pre-owned pieces. Founder Charlotte Eskildsen apparently named the brand after her love of re-designing and re-imagining her own clothes. For those who care, Designers Remix is also a staple of Princess Mary.

18. Arket
arket.com / @arketofficial

Think upmarket Danish Country Road. Arket is a firm favourite among literally every Danish demographic – women, men, children – selling everything, for everyone. Arket takes an even more minimalist approach to Scandi classics that will make you want to cultivate an entire new Scandinavian life for yourself (speaking from experience).

19. Won Hundred
wonhundred.com / @wonhundred_official

With a rock and roll approach to unisex dressing, an emphasis on denim and casual suiting, Won Hundred’s branded jeans, knits and sweats are among Copenhagen’s favourites. Founded in 2004, Won Hundred now has minimalist concept stores exclusively in Copenhagen’s trendiest neighbourhoods.

20. Norse Projects

Norse Projects is the small Copenhagen-based project blending workwear-inspired basics and classic streetwear across minimal colours, Japanese denim and basics. It’s upmarket and high quality, functional and classic. Norse’s minimal Copenhagen store is also what every Melbourne hipster’s dreams are made of, stocking APC, CDG, Margiela, Common Projects, etc, etc.

21. Samsoe Samsoe

Wearable, playful and fun, Samsoe’s combination of upmarket classics, with new, on-trend Danish brands makes it a Copenhagen favourite. The men’s and women’s retailer has stores in 31 counties, but in its home city of Copenhagen it regularly opens sample sales to the public, all of which are short-lived, always completely packed and frantic (I speak from experience). Such is the cult of Samsoe Samsoe.

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