Benchmarking Global Fashion Business in Copenhagen


To see and meet the fashion industry as it is during its showcases. To have a possibility to build one´s own network within the field. These are some reasons why a fashion benchmarking trip abroad is included in each of the Global Fashion Business module’s implementations.   

Last year, the study trip was arranged to Stockholm and this year the destination was Copenhagen at the beginning of August 2023. Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) is held twice a year to represent Nordic talents, brands and designers for international audiences. Alongside the CPHFW there is Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (CIFF x Revolver), the longest running and the biggest fair in northern Europe. It gathers biannually international fashion brands and stakeholders together to showcase future trends. Our trip included stakeholder discussions, fashion trend forecasting and getting to how fashion agencies and brands operate. 

Finnish brands at CIFF x Revolver

CIFF x Revolver fair in August 2023 consisted of approximately 700 fashion companies and 900 brands. Surprisingly among those numbers, there were only couple of Finnish exhibitors (Marimekko, Aino, Poppanachic, Ritva Falla and Vain Fashion Group). We had an opportunity to meet and discuss with some of those Finnish exhibitors as well as Finnish brands that did attend the fair only as a visitor exceptionally this time. Our first outcome from all these discussions was how carefully the company needs to consider its participation in the fair. The benefits and the costs of participation must be weighed.   

A Finnish family-owned clothing maker Aino’s representative Vesa Poutiainen mentioned that in the fair it is all about the location. As there is a huge number of brands it is important to be located among the same kind of brands but also in a visible area so that your brand can be easily spotted amongst the others.  

Shift from sustainability messages into actions 

There has been a lot of talk about sustainability issues of the fashion industry. Consumers, legislation and retailers have been demanding brands to be transparent and communicate about their sustainable solutions. It was interesting to notice that in nearly each of our meetings with brand representatives, they mentioned sustainability, but the focus was on concrete actions towards a more sustainable fashion industry rather than how to communicate about it. This shift of mindset will be crucial when it comes to creating concrete changes without greenwashing.  

DK Company is Denmark’s second biggest fashion group with their 24 brands. We had an opportunity to meet one of their brand CULTURE’s brand representative Lars Flycht and their Finnish agent Jatta Viitasaari at the fair. Flycht mentioned that adapting to changing situations is easier with a bigger fashion company with multiple own brands as new solutions can be tested with certain brands and then developed into other ones. For example, My Essential Wardrobe brand is one of DK Company´s most sustainable brands and this year they are testing to remove all the tags from clothes that communicates about their sustainability choices, as the tags themselves are not any kind of sustainable choice.  

Networks for the future cooperation 

The fashion atmosphere is visible all over Copenhagen during the week. We had an opportunity to visit Visionari Lab event organized by Zalando in the city center where they showcased creative and innovative fashion innovations with a focus on social impact. Young designers’ work was presented, and workshops were available for everyone.  We also visited the studio location of a LeFix brand and met its creative entrepreneur Benny Kusk. He shared his viewpoints on combining designer and artistic elements and how to make collaboration between these two worlds happen. On the last day we visited Tytti Sofia Hongisto’s brand Mahla Clothing at their studio location. Mahla Clothing have had already couple of HAMK’s fashion students as their interns. This time we discussed how to develop internships to be even more productive for each of the parties and shared new potential cooperation ideas of which we will hopefully hear more about soon.  

Even though one of the main targets of the trip was to get insights into current and future fashion trends and how fashion brands and retailers operate at an international level, the biggest results of this trip was definitely networks. We were able to create new networks to be used in student projects and internships as well as maintain previous relationships.  


Leena Koivunen, Senior Lecturer in Smart and Sustainable Design, HAMK 

Eveliina Toivonen, Senior Lecturer in Business Administration, HAMK 

Leave A Reply