In recent years, Copenhagen Fashion Week has become a hot ticket. Earlier this month, international press (and the often insufferable street style social media-star types) headed to the Danish capital for the Spring/Summer 2019 collections. And, with temperatures rising into the 90s, it was hot indeed. Luckily, handheld fans and cool beverages were provided to guests attending the opening show of the week from Copenhagen-based womenswear label, Blanche.
The collection was excellent—for fans of Acne Studios and Sandro, this one’s for you. Models pumped down the runway clad in an easy, breezy, beautiful collection from the newcomers. There were lots of intriguing denim moments, including a jacket and jeans number worn inside-out, as well as logo denim fanny-packs and denim bucket hats—the latter which, THANKS!, were gifted to the front-row. There were a slew of simple, super wearable pieces in subtle pastels, though the styling (like what one might call a “feminine” blouse paired with sporty cycling shorts in denim) and the immaculate tailoring helped the looks standout.
Standout looks, we should add, that are all sustainable—materials are organic or crafted from leftover fabric. The soundtrack was invigorating and much appreciated (YES to Brandy’s “Full Moon”!), and so was the casting. The casting included a model in her seventies, a transgender model, a model wearing a hijab, a pregnant model, top Danish models and models of many nationalities. They represented the Blanche woman and the burgeoning label’s motto: “For women, by women!” Read on for our chat with Blanche’s creative director, Mette Fredin.
COOLS: What inspired you to launch Blanche?
Mette Fredin: I founded Blanche in the summer 2017 from a desire to create a womenswear brand with substance, quality and fit as its founding elements—a trifold combination that I felt was missing in the Scandinavian market.
COOLS: And why did you call the label Blanche?
MF: Blanche means white in French. It’s the female version of the word. We wanted to start out from a clean slate—like a white canvas that you add colors to. Also because we are aiming to be a sustainable brand everywhere and the innocence of white underlines this.
COOLS: You’re big on sustainability. Can you tell me more about this? What materials do you use?
MF: Blanche is built on a holistic approach to timelessness in fashion. We began at the fundamental design: denim. However, our denim is more than just that—it’s made from pure textiles through sustainable production where a large majority of our materials are either organic, GOTS-certified or leftover fabric from past production. We try to use less water, less chemicals and to lower transportation by making our products mostly in Europe. We want the consumer to be more aware of sustainable making and longevity in the garments.
COOLS: What is the mood of your S/S 19 collection?
MF: Contrasts and diversity. Raw yet elegant. Maximalism gone minimal. Playfully subdued. Artistic but pure. A balance study of complementing contrasts that juxtapose and elevate each other at one and the same time.
COOLS: Were you excited to open Copenhagen Fashion Week? Considering you’re such a young line, did you feel the pressure?
MF: I felt very excited and also a bit scared. It was so overwhelming to be the official opening show… Having all eyes on Blanche. We held a show back in February but that was not on the official schedule. This truly felt like it was our very first show. Luckily it went well and here a week after I can finally enjoy the experience.
COOLS: What was your favorite look from the collection?
MF: Personally I loved the blue ruffle jacket paired with the baby yellow corduroy pants and the denim bum bag. It sums up the different contrasts in the collection and really shows the Blanche DNA. But my second favorite was the white blouse and white cyclist shorts with the black logo belt—so simple yet sophisticated.
COOLS: Do you feel like there’s a typical Copenhagen fashion aesthetic? If so, does it reflect the energy from daily life in Copenhagen?
MF: Yes, we are all influenced by the Scandinavian minimalism and a “less is more” way of dressing. The Copenhagen fashion girl is always emerging and taking on new trends to her look and style but she is also very practical and combines fashion and everyday life in a way you don’t see other places. I think the changing weather and the fact that we bicycle to work and everything has a great impact on our style.
COOLS: From the show’s casting, it seems clear that Blanche is made for all women. Can you tell us more about the importance of diversity for Blanche and the casting process?
MF: We wanted to show that we practice what we preach/speak. We are “For women, by women” and that means that we want to embrace diversity and differences. It was important for us to have a wide range of models and to show that all nationalities, all cultures, all ages, and all sizes are welcome in the Blanche universe.
We began our casting by writing down what we felt was missing on the Danish catwalks. From there, we set the cast including Grethe Kaspersen (74-years-old), Vincent Beier (transgender), Amina Aida (wearing hijab) and a plus size and pregnant Christine Sofie joined by top models like Nadja Bender, Emma Oak and Laura Julie. Among other models with different nationalities. Blanche wants to show that fashion can be including and not excluding. We want to embrace that diversity is beautiful.
COOLS: In terms of your creative process, how long does it take start to finish? Are there multiple revisions to a look?
MF: Normally it takes me and my team five months to make a collection. From raw sketch to catwalk. It is always an interesting and unpredictable process, especially with sustainable goals as the first starting point for all collections. With sustainability, you can always do better and it never stops.
COOLS: Do you have a certain woman in mind when you design?
MF: It’s hard to typify who’s your muse and put a name and face to it. To us, our design is rather about the values and sentiments of the people wearing the clothing rather than who they are. We wanted to combine the timelessly iconic typologies of womenswear with a contemporary context, creating modern day design for all women out there.
COOLS: Is there a public figure that you think exemplifies the Blanche woman?
MF: If I have to choose one and only from a designer perspective, it would be my ultimate fashion and style icon, Iris Apfel. She is to me all about diversity and courage and mixing everything up! And she even says that she was the first woman to wear jeans! So she’s to me a perfect ambassador for Blanche. But I personally also love to see my designs on real, everyday women.