Beyond practical black clothing, look in your closets and we will all find Scandinavian. It incorporates minimalism, clean lines and a bit of quirkiness. With an eye on utilitarian, it finds the right balance with denim, outerwear, street, and sportswear: the clothes we actually live in.

Each season CIFF gives us a vision on creativity and innovation. Teaming up with Stavros Karelis of MACHINE-A to curate CIFF RAVEN Special Projects area we got inspired by ALYX, DO IT YOURSELF, i-D, MM6, OAKLEY by SAMUEL ROSS, SHOWSTUDIO and VOID. Each one proposing new questions and starting new discussions.

Walking through CIFF Raven we checked out the upcoming collections from Ashley Marc Hovelle, Cottweiler, Drink Beer Save Money, Drôle de Monsieur, Kappa, Le Fix, Tonsure and We Not Fat to name a few. We caught up with CIFF Director and Creative Director Kristian W. Andersen to dig a bit deeper as to the certain je ne sais quoi that makes Scandinavian designers such a global success that attracts international designers to present side by side and roundup some of the highlights this season.

This season you had Virgil Abloh making chairs! Can you tell us a bit about getting him on board and the installation?

This third collaboration with Virgil came along as a vital part of our new curator Stavros Karelis from Machine A for the CIFF Raven projects area. Our idea was really to strengthen CIFF’s pursuit in becoming one of the world’s leading destinations for creativity.

The Max Lamb and Virgil collaboration by Sami Janjer is as relevant as it gets – a hot spot for talents and young curious followers to work with and interact with such personalities as Max and Virgil. Moreover, it’s a way to focus on sustainability – building your own chair at a very low price. The crossover between art, design, and fashion is really very very important to me. Not just in words but actually to be able to do what we just did this season is something you will see more of in the future.


Tell us a bit about the SHOWStudio Live panel discussion this season.

The overall topic was discussing how to support young talent. It’s tremendously important to me personally that we discuss this. Finding new ways, alternative solutions – giving space, time, and resources in order for talented creatives to have a new platform for showcasing their often multidisciplinary skills. Listening to your rising stars like Samuel Ross, discussing the “pilgrimage” it really is to start your own business. At CIFF we may not directly invest in new brands, but we indirectly support new talents all year round either in Copenhagen or in our global events “Northwind”.

CIFF is by far the largest commercial fashion platform in Scandinavia. What makes the Scandinavian market stand out for menswear?

I guess the men’s wear scene has a very honest true to the Scandinavian lifestyle DNA. The look is modern fashionable yet uncomplicated and to some extend very representative for the “good life” Scandinavia is so famous for. It’s kind of unpretentious and it speaks to a lot of people globally.


Next door you hosted several runway shows including Martin Asbjørn, Halo, Hærværk, and Han Kjøbenhavn. Is runway something you want to explore?

The runway dimension of CIFF is definitely a part of the business we want to explore even further. Currently, we are working on a completely new format to premiere next January 2019. It will represent an international panel, media partnership, and an award/ price opportunity.

CIFF Raven always has the cutting edge designers of menswear. Which brands were new this season?

Working on the same conditions as a fashion store it’s important to identify new talents just under the radar. Or to represent well-known brands but in a different context – Just like Oakley and Samuel Ross, or MM6 and Mykita, or new talents like Hærværk, Nosomnia or Drole de monsieur + many many more…


What do you look for in a designer?

Personality. Apart from the obvious that you must have your technical skills in place, it’ really comes down to the person behind the brand, the dreams, the willingness to pursue your goals and dreams, no matter how complicated that is. It’s not enough just to be very talented, or very gifted in terms of understanding marketing and branding. The ones that stand out to me is really a combination – and if you at the same time manage to be a personality that empowers your surroundings and team and not just yourself – you’re good to go with me.


What advice would you give a designer?

I think the best advice, no matter how hard it is to understand: It takes a least 10 years! To build a sustainable brand. Allow your self to fail, and the rock on again. Don’t listen to much to other people. Maybe your mother, her love is unconditional, but apart from that be yourself. Stay away from people who tell you it’s not possible, they will drag you down. And remember your gut feeling is more important than what your brain or surroundings try to tell you. If you need a little inspiration Bruce Mau’s “ incomplete manifesto for growth”. I read it 15 years ago and try my best to follow some of the awesome advice in my job and life.


What makes menswear exciting for you?

Men are sexy and today’s fashion empowers young and mature men around the world to dare more. It’s important and a lot of people discover who they really are once they understand and use the fashion around them.

Last year you presented the second edition of CIFF’s innovative, roving capsule Northwind in Los Angeles honoring writer and curator Neville Wakefield. What exciting plans do you have for 2018?

2018 is indeed an exciting year. This spring we will announce new exciting collaborations and global platforms. Right now I’m not going say more – yet to be announced collaborators and myself are super super excited to reveal more very soon!


Finally, a trip to CIFF is a trip to Copenhagen! Beyond fashion, Copenhagen has one of the most delicious and innovative culinary landscapes in the world. What do you recommend for a taste palette?

Indeed, and it’s not only a very sustainable way of cooking it’s healthy, fresh and delicious at the same time.

I have several favorites but among the top ones you’ll find a delicious vegetarian cuisine at Geranium and an extraordinary experience at Kadeau or simply go for a modern version of “smørrebrød” open sandwich at Aaman’s.

The wine production though small is interesting. Try a crisp Danish white wine or gin and whiskey.

Favourite food from Denmark for me personally would be oysters from the fjord.

I love oysters more than fashion!