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CPHFW

A new beginning for Scandinavian fashion

Gitte Wetter, Head of menswear at Samsøe & Samsøe, on her SS20 inspirations, the brand’s international growth, and why we only need one Scandinavian fashion week — in Copenhagen.

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Words Olivia Palmqvist Photography Lucas Frisk Bergqvist

Gitte Wetter, Head of Menswear at Samsøe & Samsøe, has been working with the brand for almost a decade. She has seen the brand grow from being a local brand in Denmark, to an International player, with stores in big cities around the world.

To this day, they choose to show their collections at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Wetter explains why some things might come to an end, or from another perspective, a new beginning, in Scandinavian fashion.

— I grew up in the countryside of Denmark, we were moving from one part of the country to another and ending up at the windy dark west coast. During my studies at the design school Kolding, I worked for Henrik Vibskov. Henrik was an amazing mentor and inspiration, he really pushed my creativity and love for design – and as a result I ended up creating my own brand. Working on my own brand, I gained many insights to the fashion industry, it was very tough and fun at the same time. After four years of working with the brand, it was time for new challenges and I joined the Samsøe & Samsøe team nine years ago. I still love it!

At that time, Samsøe & Samsøe was mainly a Scandinavian affair. Her first task was to create a collection with more international approach, with a strong focus on quality and shapes.

It has been a long journey for Samsøe & Samsøe since you started working there. Tell us more about this time.

— It has been a fantastic journey. When I joined, it was a small t-shirt brand. Now, it’s an international fashion brand with full ready-to-wear collections for both men and women. We have more than 40 stores around Europe, the latest opened in Soho in London in June. There is much more exciting stuff to come when we open up in Paris and Brussels in September. I’ve really enjoyed working with so many dedicated people over the years, who’ve all done a big effort to bring the brand to the next level. It just makes me proud to be a part of this journey. Samsøe & Samsøe showed their SS20 collection at Copenhagen Fashion Week. The choice of location is partly because of heritage, partly because of the cities itself, and its impact.

— I see the fashion week as an important window between the Scandinavian fashion industry, international buyers and influencers. Over the years, it has had a great influence on how Copenhagen has changed as a city — it has developed an international and cool atmosphere.

Stockholm Fashion Week turned down this year, how do you think that will evolve in the Scandinavian fashion industry?

— I honestly believe, we can all gain from only having one fashion week in Scandinavia. It will be much stronger and internationally relevant. Sorry Swedish friends — but my obvious choice for a Scandinavian fashion week is Copenhagen.

What was your inspiration for the collection?

— The spring 2020 collection is a nostalgic nod to the mid-century Danish design movement, characterised by guiding principles about clean lines, high quality of materials and consideration of function. As relevant today as ever, the soft modernism of Scandinavia plays in the collection. Fusing workwear and classic menswear gives a utilitarian edge to the collection. It has new and more crafted materials shape this collection, Wetter explains, and has a strong focus on natural fibers, such as linen, cotton, and hemp. The choices of fabrics gives a light summer feel to the silhouette.

Do you have any special projects coming, like collabs, special pieces or similar?

— I have a huge passion for vintage workwear, and for this upcoming autumn collection, we did a collaboration with the Danish workwear brand Kansas. It is a small capsule collection for both men and women, containing our favourite workwear items. It will be in the stores in October.

What are your plans for the future?

— I think the biggest and most important challenge from now on is to make the right choices for the environment while being in the fashion industry. We all have to commit and work hard to make radical changes — and as a brand we really need to move fast and take ownership here.