Copenhagen: A Leading City in Sustainability

With Copenhagen SS20 Fashion Week under way, we look at how best to focus on sustainability when visiting the Danish city renowned for its sustainable practices.

Often considered a hub for sustainable living, Denmark’s capital city prides itself on having five bikes to every car and aims to be the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. This week the city is hosting its Spring/Summer 2020 fashion week, with influencers and fashion bloggers heading to the city to see Scandinavian brands take to the catwalk. Following the news of the cancellation of Stockholm’s Fashion Week ‘for the foreseeable future’ due to concerns around sustainability and Extinction Rebellions call for London Fashion Week to be cancelled, the continuation of Copenhagen SS20 could call into question the city’s sustainability credentials.

Fashion Week
According to the official Copenhagen Fashion Week sustainability report, the organisation is striving to ‘help reduce the negative environmental and social impact of the industry, as well as to encourage more responsible production and consumption of fashion.’ This has been encouraged and influenced by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, addressing social inequalities and diversity within the industry, as well as producing a ‘free 15-step guide to inspire fashion brands to produce more responsible shows, presentations and events.’ Whilst the organisation themselves can ensure that their production is as conscious as possible, sustainable fashion practices are only a focus for a minority of the brands showcasing this year.

A brand of note is Holzweiler, a Norwegian company making steps to ensure their latest collection forefronts sustainability issues. The brand reports how it is making steps to become a zero-waste company, minimising its plastic packaging with the intention of becoming 100% plastic-free by the end of 2019. With regards to its material usage, the brand has opted for recycled wool as well as denim production which ensures the use of fair trade cotton complying with the Better Cotton Initiative, reduced water consumption and non-toxic dyes. In conversation with Vogue, the company mapped out their goals of being able to ‘track all garments down to the fibres and components such as buttons and zippers – which we avoid unless they fulfil a function – and map out our whole production chain.’

A Sustainable City
With the influx of people that fashion week brings to Copenhagen, understanding how best to navigate and make the most of one of Europe’s most sustainable cities is crucial in keeping the weeks environmental impact to its lowest. The Brøchner Hotels are the world’s first carbon neutral hotel group, with beautiful venues such as Hotel SP34 and Hotel Astoria focusing on organic food and energy saving initiatives.

Once in the city, making the most of cycle lanes wider than pavements is an excellent way to navigate around between fashion shows, avoiding unnecessary high polluting taxis. Though initially this sounds less than chic, many of the bike rental shops offer beautiful bicycles in the classic Danish style, in a range of high-fashion colours from duck egg blue to a royal red. If you want something a little less formal, city bike company Donkey Bikes offer a pick up, drop off app service, allowing daily rental of their neon-orange bikes. So however best suits, make like a local and navigate the bike lanes of the capital – just be sure to read up on the rules and procedures before heading out!

A day of fashion is not complete without a debrief over food and wine. Following the success of Noma, the Danish food scene has seen an increase in local produce to the highest quality, with the natural wine scene being equally as enticing. With an impressive 88% of the food consumed in the city’s public institutions being organic, the sourcing of good quality ingredients is second-to-none for the Danes. The city’s food market scene is perhaps one of the best, with newly opened Refshaleøen and Torvehallerne being just two of the permanent food market options. Arrive with your own containers and cutlery for an eco-friendly, in-between shows fix.

Plant-based dining in Copenhagen is becoming easier to navigate too. Coconut based ice-cream cookie sandwiches are perhaps one the city’s best vegan secrets, with flavours at Nice Cream Copenhagen including peanut butter, chai and blueberry cookie swirl. Fashion favourite, vegetarian cafe Atelier September is often frequented by Copenhagen’s most fashionable, with green bowls and matcha lattes atop of the marble window bar being a firm Instagram favourite.

In spare hours not filled with catwalks and showcases, wander the streets of this very walkable city to discover perhaps the best sights the Danish capital has to offer. Stroll the length of the lakes having filled your Keep Cup at Zaggis, a secret local spot for cheap yet incredible coffee. Climb to the top of department store Illum to sit on the Origin Coffee balcony, with views of Amagertorv square. Sit at the harbour front and take in the touristy buzz of Nyhavn, the architecture of the Royal Theatre and the quaintness Christianshavn. Leave feeling influenced, not just from being a part of the scandi fashion scene, but also from the Danish way of life – a calmer, more considered way of living, with environmentalism at its heart.

For more travel inspiration, read our With Love From series including PugliaEdinburgh, New York and Sri Lanka.

Need something to wear to fashion week? Discover how to renting is the most sustainable option.