Bitte Kai Rand and the Trapeze of Ethno-Techno

by Omi

Danish Fashion Industry has had its fair share of the avant-garde, out-of-the-box designers in the last few decades. While initially the Danish fashion market was heavily influenced by Danish architecture and design, the egalitarian attributes of Danish culture provided a backdrop to more non-traditionalist work within the fashion industry. But amidst a torrent of young guns clamoring to shock and awe you into submission, it is easy to forget the foundational basis of this industry that is going through a process of reorganization and globalization at the same time. So when Bitte Kai Rand decided to show her new collection at the Copenhagen Fashion Week, that forgotten element became the front and center of the fashion week. 

To suggest that Bitte Kai Rand is one of the vanguards of Danish Fashion industry would be an understatement. She and her husband Michael, started the label in 1981 and from quirky knitwear to classic drapes, she has built the foundation for the Danish market in more ways than one. Her ability to stay relevant; to stay nimble and evolve with the ever changing dynamic of an industry that looks suspiciously on any legacy and ignores sustained creativity for the sake of a dash of flash has reached legendary status. 

So it is no surprise that Bitte Kai Rand's announcement to be on schedule was met with collective cheers of excitement and appreciation. The high-rise hotel STAY with its industrial backdrop and stadium seating was the perfect setting for Bitte's work to further substantiate her undisputed status as one of Scandinavia's  beacon on the hill.

Hype and expectations aside, Bitte's work has a very simple philosophy, it is the philosophy of timelessness. While many swear by the same modus operandi, very few actually are able to encapsulate the simplicity of that monumental task of creating pieces that over time lose no ground to time itself. Bitte's collection falls into one of those rare territories where you can easily see the classic and the modern finding equipoise and clarity among each other. Bitte calls her SS18 collection Ethno-Techno which encapsulates the subset where ethnography meets technology, where identity politics meets globalization, where cosmopolitan meets traditionalism. 

While the overarching concept is deeply rooted in Bitte's Ethno-Techno movements, it is de-structured through four elemental attributes which stem from environmental muses (Water, Earth, Fire, Air). The deeply thought out show provided each elemental muse with a set of aesthetics from delicate prints to soothing sky blue tones. The whole collection pays homage to femininity and function in an expert manner. Bright color to earth tones to outright monotone single pieces made the collection look and feel complete. In an industry where fast fashion and fast shows are the norms, this show felt like a proper exploration of one's work. 

The tight rope that all great designers walk is the tight rope of commercial appeal and artistic integrity and Bitte by now has become as good as a tight rope walker as any.