Miss FQ - - Contents -

Meet the woman be­hind the Dan­ish la­bel

Chances are you laid eyes on a Cecilie Copen­hagen piece be­fore you knew the name. Stocked at cool bou­tiques the world over, the sig­na­ture Kef­fiyeh scarf-in­spired de­signs are in­stantly recog­nis­able; a favourite among It-girls and in­flu­encers in­clud­ing Aus­tralia’s Margaret Zhang and Bri­tain’s Pan­dora Sykes. The epit­ome of cool her­self, de­signer Cecilie Jør­gensen was re­mark­ably just 17 years old when the clas­sic dilemma of hav­ing noth­ing to wear saw her fash­ion her first shirt out of two scarves from her par­ents’ base­ment.

“It was pure im­pulse and in­stinct,” says Cecilie, now 22 years old and speak­ing from her home in Copen­hagen.

Her in­stincts were of course spot on. Re­quests for the shirt she wore that night came rush­ing in, and af­ter the ini­tial 15 shirts she made sold out, the ac­ci­den­talde­signer knew she was onto some­thing.

Fast-for­ward five years and Cecilie’s brand has gone from be­ing a Copen­hagen suc­cess story to gain­ing trac­tion around the globe. Street-style bait from day one, so­cial me­dia ex­po­sure has given the

Olivia first came across the brand on a buy­ing trip in Paris. She saw a friend wear­ing it and in­stantly knew it would be some­thing that would res­onate with other Ki­wis. “Right now, the global fash­ion arena is sat­u­rated with high-end con­tem­po­rary brands, and fast fash­ion giants. How­ever there’s not a lot ca­ter­ing to girls in the mid­dle who want some­thing spe­cial, but don’t want to see ev­ery­one else wear­ing it down the street,” says Olivia. “Cecilie’s honed in on that gap with great pieces that are easy to wear, and aren’t too ex­pen­sive. It’s a state­ment ba­sic that feels luxe.”

Taught to sew by her grand­mother at a young age, mak­ing her own clothes be­came sec­ond na­ture to Cecilie. It was then a very nat­u­ral evo­lu­tion to en­roll in the Dan­ish Fash­ion De­sign Academy — she was in her fi­nal year when she cre­ated her brand. Now the de­signer has a stu­dio lo­cated in the heart of Copen­hagen, in what is known as the old part of town. Hid­den on the third floor of the build­ing, the space is shared be­tween the de­sign and cre­ative stu­dio, and a bou­tique. It’s from there that Cecilie spends her days do­ing a bit of ev­ery­thing.

“I’m in­volved in all as­pects of the la­bel in­clud­ing styling and pho­to­shoots,” says Cecilie. “So I’m al­ways work­ing on the im­agery and brand­ing part of Cecilie Copen­hagen in be­tween col­lec­tions.”

Her staff is small — a team of just six — but they’re all young, am­bi­tious and ac­cord­ing to Cecilie, “guided by their in­tu­ition”. With Cecilie at the helm, they won’t com­pro­mise on what doesn’t feel right for the brand, ei­ther.

“I’m al­ways open to lis­ten­ing to ideas and look­ing to the de­sign­ers and artists I ad­mire,” says Cecilie. “But I still keep my core brand val­ues in my mind in ev­ery­thing I do, es­pe­cially de­sign. If I started com­pro­mis­ing on de­sign, I’d lose that per­son­al­ity and my brand DNA.”

This isn’t to say that Cecilie — or her brand — has stopped evolv­ing. But she says be­liev­ing in her­self and her prod­uct has been the key to her suc­cess. Asked what ad­vice she has for other young peo­ple want­ing to go into busi­ness, she cites this, and a healthy dose of re­silience.

“Go for it and don’t be afraid to fail. That’s where you learn. Stay true to the dream you want to be­come a re­al­ity, and work a lot,” she says. “As long as it’s your dream it doesn’t feel like work any­way!” startup a boost. But credit must also be given to the brand’s Scandi-chic aes­thetic — think long-sleeved shirts and blouses, match­ing shorts and flow­ing dresses in muted colours — and its wear­a­bil­ity.

“My sil­hou­ettes aren’t com­pli­cated,” con­firms Cecilie, who from the be­gin­ning vowed to only make pieces she could see in her own wardrobe. Add to that the fact she’s not con­cerned with mass mar­ket ap­peal and you’ve got a win­ning for­mula. In­deed, the savvy de­signer has al­ways been very par­tic­u­lar about who stocks her range. De­spite re­ceiv­ing re­quests from over 500 stores around the world, Cecilie has hand­picked just 60 to date; among them, land­mark London depart­ment store Lib­erty, lux­ury on­line re­tailer Matches Fash­ion, and Auck­land’s Muse Bou­tique — the ex­clu­sive stock­ist of the brand in New Zealand.

“I pre­fer to work with like-minded, de­sign-lead re­tail­ers, and when [Muse’s owner] Olivia Vin­cent reached out, right away I could see her love for fash­ion,” says Cecilie. “Her busi­ness and our brand share the same val­ues, so we’re a per­fect fit.” #

Meet the de­signer be­hind the Dan­ish brand with the cult fol­low­ing

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