Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize and the Future of Danish Fashion

Since 2012, Magasin du Nord Foundation has been giving out the prestigious Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize awarded by the Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess (of Denmark), who for many years has been a champion of Danish Fashion. Last month, Magasin du Nord Foundation announced this year’s three finalists; Blanche, Helmstedt and Hyun Mi Nielsen.

Blanche was originally founded and launched as a sustainable jeans brand in 2017 by Melissa Bech and Mette Fredin Christensen, and quickly became a darling among influencers and fashion editors alike. Since then, Blanche has also launched the Blanche Atelier collection, a ready-to-wear line focussing on fashion, trends and refined styling. From its start, the brand has been represented in some of the best and most popular shops. With years of experience from the Danish fashion scene, the two ladies have managed to create a popular sustainable brand.

Helmstedt is the brainchild of designer Emilie Helmstedt, a colorful and playful universe with simple yet powerful silhouettes. Her easy-to-wear 30’s and 50’s inspired loungewear were exclusively sold in collaboration with the very popular high-end boutique Holly Golightly in Copenhagen. Emilie Helmstedt was originally trained as a tailor and graduated by 20, however, she is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. She has created a brand that has all the right ingredients of a heavy hitter within the Danish industry and with the right kind of support she is likely to go global eventually.

Hyun Mi Nielsen is the creation of designer Christine Nielsen. She has quickly made a name for herself with her ethereal take on gothic detailing, organza draping and leather tailoring. At this years Paris Couture Week, she was invited by the French Fashion Federation to showcase her designs among staples in the world of fashion and did so quite brilliantly. Christine Nielsen is far from new to the world of fashion, before founding Hyun Mi Nielsen, she has worked at fashion houses such as Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Alexander McQueen. While there is no question about her pedigree, starting from scratch can be tough and her ability to take on the hard tasks so easily will be an asset for years to come.

On October 25th, 2018, Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize was handed to the young designer Emilie Helmstedt. “I never imagined being here. It is like a dream. It is the biggest thing to happen in my life”, Emilie Helmstedt said and continued: “I would like to thank the Magasin du Nord Foundation for this award. The award will make it possible for me to reach my dreams. I already have a ton of plans I intend to get going with tomorrow. I cannot wait to showcase my dreams coming to life, even more.”

Emilie Helmstedt received a one-year membership of Dansk Textil og Mode also received a grant of DKK 500.000, which will go towards expanding her design- and business concepts.


LaLa Berlin and the Levity of Universalism

by Omi

Lala Berlin can light up even the dreariest of days. It could be because Layla Piedayesh is an inherently hopeful person and that inherent optimism shines through her work or it could be because Lala Berlin as a brand is most effective through the lens of uplifting optimism so what we see is more or less our projection stemming from how we associate certain colors with certain emotions. Theory and philosophy aside, Lala Berlin’s Spring / Summer collection titled Lala Island is an exploration of fused identity through the prism of color and tonality. From lilac to vivid orange, pastel hues to printed silhouettes, the whole collection is a curious dip into the fused aesthetics of cultural identity without the mind-numbing appropriation that comes with it. For that alone, this collection deserves a lot of praise.

On a more functional level, Lala Berlin is not here to reinvent the wheel but to make sure when the wheel is stuck in the muddy interiors of tribalism, nationalism and identity politics, there is still some respite in the form of fused identity without forgoing identity itself.

Cross-stitched Kufiya embroidery and the floral prints are deliciously poised to evoke a sense of belonging yet they are light enough to elevate the mood of the day. As a whole, the collection is filled with levity and rarely does it not fail to deliver. It is a complete collection with quirks of German functionality (in the form of scarfs turned belts), Persian sense of color and universal exploration of who and what we are.

Leyla envisions an island full of complementing identity with no real element of conflict or subjugation and foundationally that sense of aesthetics is what makes this collection one of the most well thought through and complete collection of Copenhagen Fashion Week.