Welcome to Who What Wear Travels, a series of curated guides to destinations the fashion set loves. Consider this your download on everything from the chicest stays to the most memorable meals to the perfect travel wardrobe, all vetted by stylish locals and well-traveled fashion folks.
When you think of a typical "fashion city," the names that come to mind usually include Paris and Milan and perhaps New York and London. But Copenhagen is quickly emerging as a fashion capital in its own right, and it has our full attention. The Danish city has always been a unique breeding ground for cool Scandinavian design, from interiors to clothing, and earlier this month, the fashion industry descended for Copenhagen Fashion Week, one of the fastest-growing new markets. From an editor's perspective, it seems like more Americans than ever are raising their hands for a CPHFW invite. As the cooler younger sister to the "big four" fashion cities, Copenhagen boasts a lineup of emerging designers who are widely acknowledged as some of the industry's most exciting and forward-thinking talent with a special emphasis on sustainability.
"The Copenhagen fashion scene is really visionary," Hood Agency co-founder Helene Skytte tells Who What Wear. "Copenhagen Fashion Week is growing bigger every season, and I totally get it. Denmark is so strong on furniture design and architecture, and you can see this reflected in the fashion."
In fact, visionary is a good word. The Danish capital is forward-thinking in more ways than one. Beyond its sartorial draws, you'll find that Copenhagen is at the forefront of sustainable living, and the Danes have a lot figured out that we can learn from. For one, biking culture is huge here—yes, even fashion people in skirts and heels—and everything, from Danish clothing brands to Copenhagen's top hotels, is designed, produced, and run to a high standard of responsibility.
For Danish American actor Amelia Hoy, that vision extends to a culture of progress in diversity and equity. "I personally think it's inspiring to follow a city where you can visibly see how diversity is forming a new fashion narrative and to be part of the much-needed change," Hoy says. Small initiatives like the Nordic Fashion Directory, of which she is a part, are pushing for change in this industry. It's a lifelong journey, Hoy admits, and the topic may fall in and out of trend, but she says "it's a motivation for [her] personally to push on, to show up, and to do the work."
Photo:Original Illustration by Makena Frederick
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While the city is small, Rotate co-founder Jeanette Madsen insists that it feels so special because it has a lot to offer. "You can walk around the whole city in a matter of minutes, and you have everything you need right at your fingertips. Every corner you turn, there are amazing restaurants, shops, galleries, and parks," she adds. "Small but authentic" is how Skytte describes the city, and to her, it's the perfect combination of beautiful nature and city life.
WWW Travels Tip: Prioritize a trip between the months of May and October, Skytte says. Summer in Denmark is known for its golden days and refreshingly long, bright nights. People in Copenhagen live outside during the summer period, enjoying long dinners and taking night swims in the ocean.
I enlisted the help of some very fashionable and cool Copenhagers to let me know which spots are their go-tos. Madsen and Thora Valdimars are the minds behind the cool-girl label Rotate. Both came from different facets of the industry—Valdimars from the modeling world and Madsen from the magazine world—before teaming up to start their brand.
Emili Sindlev is a name you definitely know. The content creator and creative consultant is a regular face at fashion weeks around the world, and her sense of style has garnered her over 800k followers on Instagram. Vogue Scandinavia likens her to a modern-day Carrie Bradshaw. Sindlev was born and raised in Copenhagen and tells us that she's always been such a city girl. "Copenhagen, to me, means family, and this is where I have most of the people I care about. It's probably why I could never move anywhere else even though most of my work and my clients are in other countries," she shares.
Hoy is a Vogue-featured Danish American actress and activist who's established herself as a voice for progress in the performing arts and fashion. She grew up in California but relocated to Copenhagen during the pandemic and has called it home ever since, citing "the architecture, the social system (worth protecting) that provides free education and healthcare, the food, and the light" as the reasons why she finds the city to be such a special place to be.
Skytte is a fashion-industry veteran who worked in the industry for 15 years previously as PR director for By Malene Birger and Ganni. Now, she runs her own creative agency, Hood Agency, as well as the organic skincare brand Woods Copenhagen and jewelry line Ragbag.
Skytte, along with plenty of your favorite Danish fashion people, is a huge fan of conscious luxury stay Villa Copenhagen. The centrally located hotel has the best breakfast, she says. Not to mention, it has the most charming rooftop pool and sauna and is close to the popular Copenhagen amusement park Tivoli Gardens.
Valdimars says that Hotel Sanders is the only place she ever recommends: "It is just the cutest place." Sindlev is in agreement here, adding that it has a great central location that's still off the crowded streets. "The vibe and décor inside the hotel are just amazing," she adds.
Coco Hotel is a small boutique hotel in the heart of Copenhagen with the most charming green courtyard. Skytte adores the atmosphere here and the coffee too.
More stays to jot down: Sindlev also adores the upscale and old-school Hotel d'Angleterre for its impeccable service and underground spa. Central Hotel feels like the smallest hotel in the world and only has one room. You feel like you are
in a little ship when you are inside, delights Madsen. Skt. Petri is where everyone is hosted for fashion-week stays, and Babette Guldsmeden is an all-organic stay noted in Condé Nast Traveler.
@baka.d.busk; Magnus Omme; @heleneskytte; @mangia_vesterbro
At this point, who hasn't heard of La Banchina or at least seen it? In a viral TikTok video posted by Copenhagen-based creator Katrín Björk, clips of the indoor-outdoor wine bar quickly garnered a million views and sent the internet into a tizzy. People from all over the world were instantly hooked, commenting things like, "The way I'd move here so fast." Can you blame them? Drinking wine and nibbling on snacks while jumping off the wooden pier into the Øresund strait sounds like my idea of Scandi summer heaven.
Skytte agrees that it's the best spot for a swim and to enjoy food and good natural wine with friends, whether you sit by the sea or take a small boat here. Fun fact: The restaurant also has a sauna.
WWW Travels Tip: The best tip for Copenhagen is to rent a little boat and explore the canals and the harbor, Skytte says. You'll get to see all the beautiful historical buildings of the city this way.
"[Baka d'Busk is] the best gastronomical experience in CPH," insists Skytte. With a plant-based kitchen and the best natural wine, the restaurant has created one of the city's trendiest dining experiences, and it doesn't hurt that the people working here are so friendly and fun, she says. Indeed, fashion brand Baum und Pferdgarten hosted a dinner here during CPHFW, and according to Who What Wear's own regular attendee, Erin Fitzpatrick, the vegetarian spot also comes highly recommended by the local PR pros.
WWW Travels Tip: Be willing to go slow, Hoy insists. Copenhagen isn't fast-paced. Service will be slow, and dinners and events will be long. Enjoy the opportunity to have conversations.
"Danish people like to travel a lot, and by traveling, you learn a lot from other cultures. Although we are a small place, the cuisine is very varied and well-informed," Valdimars shares. "If you go for Italian, sushi, or Mexican, it is really made with passion and education." Perhaps no other restaurant I've heard about in my research embodies this passion and attention to detail quite like Mangia, an Italian spot that I've heard repeated over and over among fashion people's short list of the best restaurants in Copenhagen.
Skytte confirms my hunch. "It has the best handmade pasta that would melt your heart and the coziest vibe. The people who eat here always people seem to have good energy," she says.
WWW Travels Tip: If you're looking to make a reservation at Noma, Geranium, or any of Copenhagen's other renowned restaurants, be sure to plan ahead and book your table well in advance.
More restaurants to jot down: Sindlev gave an honorable mention to Esmée, which she says is her favorite restaurant in Copenhagen, as well as Levi. For more casual dining, she suggests checking out Jah Izakaya and Delphine. Recently, Hoy has been spending a lot of time at a lovely restaurant her friends recently opened on Tagensvej called Casamadre.
With its towering plates of whipped butter and a perfectly curated assortment of traditional Danish breakfast items, Atelier September is as much a feast for the eyes as it is in the literal sense. A quick glance at the Instagram feed of the café confirms that it is, indeed, an absolute must-stop for a daytime meal in Copenhagen. Skytte suggests a stop here for breakfast or lunch when biking around the city, and that combination sounds like the most iconic Danish day you could have.
WWW Travels Tip: Have a credit card on hand to use for most purchases, preferably one with no foreign transaction fees. Very few businesses require you to pay in cash, and many places are completely paperless.
"I always try to get recommendations from locals, so after the Gestuz show during Copenhagen Fashion Week, I asked the brand's head of PR for an idea on a place to hang out before my next show," says Fitzpatrick, Who What Wear's associate news director. Fitzpatrick has made it a habit of attending CPHFW and has become somewhat of an expert on the city from her six trips. "She sent me to Hart Bageri, and it was the perfect place to spend my time," she continues. "Not surprisingly, I saw several other fashion girlies who had walked over to Hart Bageri from the show too. I had the spandauer, which has a yummy custard baked in it and was simply divine. I went to the location at Galionsvej 41, which is right on the water and so picturesque—even on a cloudy day!"
One of the original bakeries from the new wave of upscale bakeries in Copenhagen is Juno, and Sindlev says she goes there all the time for cardamom buns since it's in her neighborhood. Although Hoy adds that it's hyped and there is always a line, she admits that even locals brave the wait time because it really is that good.
More cafés to jot down: Skytte also loves Sonny for its bread and coffee, especially when you can sit outside and enjoy the cozy Copenhagen vibe, and Mirabelle bakery for "the best bread you will ever taste." Demokrati Garage is a really cool café in Nordvest that's still pretty unheard of, but Valdimars says the coffee is so good. Madsen spends
most of her time eating at local neighborhood spot Pauseriet. During the summer season, Hoy recommends Andersen & Maillard, which makes a soft serve–filled croissant dessert that is as wild as it sounds.
@ferialberri; Rue Verte; @theapartmentdk; @fitzpatrickerin
@emilisindlev; @paloma_vintage_copenhagen; @ferialberri
If you type "best vintage shopping in Copenhagen" into Google, Paloma Vintage will almost always surface at the top of the results. Speaking with both Danish and American fashion people, the shop has clearly earned a beloved spot in both their hearts and wardrobes. Sindlev calls it the best spot for vintage finds, a superlative I'm not in the habit of taking lightly from someone with a closet as iconic as hers.
"My dear friend Ferial [Berri, owner of Paloma Vintage] has the best style" shares Skytte. "You can discover the best vintage finds here, from old Chanel bags to hats and accessories."
If you're a fan of contemporary, industrial-inspired décor, make a beeline to Rue Verte. The interior brand offers handcrafted furniture, lighting, and objects in a desaturated palette of charcoal, cream, and eggshell. It's a favorite of Valdimars, who gushes that it has the most unique, beautiful pieces.
"Studio Arhoj has the absolute cutest ceramics, glassware, and trinkets that are all handmade right there in the shop," Fitzpatrick shares. "Every time I visit, I come away with something new, hoping to fill my kitchen cabinet with all things Arhoj. It's the perfect spot to buy a non-cheesy souvenir."
More shopping to jot down: Visit New Mags for decorative coffee table books. Magnolia's is a treasure trove for secondhand fashion. Jerome Vintage has the best curated designer clothing. Skytte says that, if you're lucky, you can find your favorite Saint Laurent blazer or Celine slip dress. The Apartment is the ultimate destination for contemporary design and vintage décor. Tina, the owner, does the most stylish buying of furniture, lamps, and décor. Louise Roe Gallery is where you'll find chic interior wares.
@amaka.hamelijnck; @fitzpatrickerin; @doronbarsky
If the MoMA is where design-minded New Yorkers go to glean some inspiration and fill up on world-renowned artworks, then the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is the Copenhagen equivalent. Located on the shore of Øresund in Humlebæk about 22 miles north of Copenhagen, the museum is described by Condé Nast Traveler as a "shrine to Danish modernists" with over 4000 works that span from 1945 to the present.
"I love spending time in nature on the weekends, and there are so many good spots where you can combine nature and culture," Skytte says. "I would go a bit outside Copenhagen and drive along the coast and visit the Louisiana Museum. Then, I'd drive up to the north coast an hour outside of the city and visit all the beautiful charming smaller cities like Tisvilde, Gilleleje, and Horbæk." Hoy agrees that the museum is always beautiful, and the building itself is stunning. She says from there you can take a short walk to Aarstiderne, a local organic farm across the road.
Biking is the best mode of transport in Copenhagen, boasts Madsen and Valdimars, so get comfortable being on a bike! "It is the true sign of a Copenhagener if you can bike through any weather and wear any outfit—heels and miniskirts included," they say. As for where to head, I get the idea that there's no part of the city where it wouldn't make sense to explore by bike, but Skytte suggests the Christianshavn, Refshaleøen, Vesterbro, Nørrebro, and Østerbro neighborhoods and the city central to see all the adorable buildings.
WWW Travels Tip: "Learn how to bike in heels," Sindlev insists. "Everyone here bikes to and from the club on nights out."
"My favorite fun fact: Walt Disney was inspired by Tivoli when he created Disneyland," Fitzpatrick shares. Founded in 1843, Tivoli is an amusement park located smack-dab in the center of Copenhagen, so it's extremely convenient for tourists. "Every detail at Tivoli is simply oozing with charm, as you can tell in the photos," she continues. "I particularly loved the Flying Trunk ride, which is like Disneyland's It's a Small World, but it's based on fairytales by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, including 'The Little Mermaid' and 'The Princess and the Pea.' The entrance fee is $23, and the wristband to access all the rides is an additional $38."
More sights to jot down: Glyptotek Museum is always a good idea on a rainy day, says Sindlev, because the museum is so stunning. The garden Bibliotekshaven is a secret hidden gem in mid-Copenhagen. It's a bit tricky to find, but make a stop here, sit with a coffee, and enjoy. On a rainy day, go to Aire Ancient Baths for what Skytte says is the best massage you can get.
"Danish women are good at finding hero pieces like wide-leg trousers or a perfect jacket, and they build from the base, adding layering of their own unique style," Valdimars and Madsen explain. "Those statement 'Scandinavian' basics create a sense of uniformity but always with individual flair." Skytte adds, "If you want to [achieve] Copenhagen-girl style, you should wear jeans, a men's shirt, and silver jewelry." She also lists practical items like a raincoat, a swimsuit, a warm sweater for the evenings, and good sneakers you can walk a lot in. In case you haven't guessed, you're going to be logging plenty of miles in this city.
For Sindlev, the list of Copenhagen essentials is short and sweet: flats for biking and layers like a good leather jacket if you're visiting outside of June to August. While biking is highly recommended, you'll likely be doing the most exploring walking because you can visit many different parts of the city all on foot. Unsurprisingly, a good, comfortable pair of shoes is a must, and the Danes are all over cool and practical footwear. Just this month, It-girl brand Ganni released limited-edition sneakers in collaboration with New Balance, and Scandi style people were quick to snap up a pair.