Royal Danish Academy - SS23

By Olivia Ekelund

The finest of Nordic future fashion talent on show

This year, The Royal Danish Academy master’s showcase was a commentary on cultural intersection, identity and the convergence of the past and future; honouring what has come before alongside intentions for the future.


Set in the cultural centre appropriately named ''The Basement', the industrial backdrop and purple-hued lighting catered perfectly to the student’s boundary-stretching designs. In line with the trend seen across shows and street-style alike this week, near-nakedness featured heavily in the form of sheer fabrics, cut-outs and rope designs with nods towards Shibari. There were incorporations of burgeoning trends such as folded-over waistbands and deconstructed knits – here in full-body pieces. Dramatic ruffles and pillowing forms were also on show, and overall, the designs, themes and carefully crafted details of this year’s masters students made their spring/summer 2023 show both evocative and fun to watch.

The underlying message was of hope for a waste-not culture, as well as reflections on what femininity and masculinity can embody in the future of womenswear, menswear and genderless designs, solidify this batch of designers as ones to watch. Their pieces carry with them an appreciation and care; for the self, for identity-exploration and for garments themselves. Read on to see their designs and accompanying reflections.

Serena Coelho

“I call for existence... To reflect upon
who one once was,
who one is
and who one will become ... what divides our experiences within time and space but also everything which is in between."

Betty Norling

“The collection 'From the memory of longing for femininity' is built upon the contrast between a young girl’s perspective on femininity and clothing contra my own view on femininity today.”

From the memory of longing for femininity by Betty Norling

Lydia Vermaat-Wallin

“A fragile artefact falling towards the ground, captured in blitz just before the impact.”

Before the impact by Lydia Vermaat-Wallin

Caoimhe Dowling

"This project is a reflection on how blue we felt as a society post-pandemic and how we could see opportunity in the cynicism and disillusionment to propel us towards greater change. I looked to historical movements such as The Kibbo Kift and The Punk Movement for inspiration on how we could craft our way out of the rubble and reconnect to old values we had lost. In the midst of a materialistic and disconnected society, I wanted to use nature and traditional craft processes to subvert the norm."

Turning Blue by Caoimhe Dowlin

Maibritt Marhunardóttir

“Despite being Faroese, I do not see myself as a “Faroese designer”, and I have no desire to create traditional or “typical” Faroese knitwear, on the contrary I have spent years harbouring a desire to break all the rules, and openly declare war to everything that I perceived Faroese knitwear design to be. However, after having spent most of my life trying to escape the fact that I am from the Faroe Islands and denying that my heritage and where I come from has any influence on who I am as a designer, I have now experienced how the last five years of my design education, has pushed me to the realisation that it has in fact affected everything that I am and do as a creating individual.

This revelation has left me with internal division and a feeling of always being a bit off, both wanting to fit in and stand out at the same time, and the process of making my MA graduation collection “Fucking Jävla Kuk-Kinship” has therefore become a kind of self examination. It is a study in acceptance, of finding my way back home after having tried to escape for so long. It has become an investigation of how I can unite these two worlds, the tradition and cultural heritage which I come from, and the more modern context in which I wish to position myself as a designer. And by doing so, bridging tradition and modernity, I can make connections between the past, my history and heritage, with the present and the future, and thus try to shape the forms of tomorrow through the wisdom of the old.”

F**king J*vla K*k-Kinship by Maibritt Marjunardottir

Jonas Theede

“The vision behind my collection "SÅ LÆNGE DET LEVER" was first of all to honor the danish bodegas as a cultural institution. To cherish and pass on the legacy of the places and stories from the local people who have been coming here for decades. "SÅ LÆNGE DET LEVER" is danish meaning “As long as it lives” also referring to the beauty of old, used garments that only lives as long as we cherish and care for them.”

SÅ LÆNGE DET LEVER by Jonas Theede

Emma Rohde

“My project "Det der får mit hjerte til at slå" is first and foremost inspired by my friends and is a tribute to the party and to love. A tribute to moments where we throw away the expectations, the everyday worries and love our self and each other for who we are.”

Det der får mit hjerte til at slå by Emma Rohde

Marie-Louise Guldbæk Andersen

“I want to develop a new creative universe within menswear that embrace femininity in an alternative way.”

Marie-Louise Guldbæk Andersen

Alectra Rothschild

“For this body of work, I was investigating queer stereotypes and making them into personas that relate to my own experience of queerness and transness. These personas that I created - The Joker, The Pirate, The Babe, The Raver, The Fairy, The Demon, and The Witch all became a portrait of myself and the context I exist within. So the collection is at the intersection of this character study of the multiple self-theory and the investigation of Glamour and Flamboyance through the lens of abjection or rather the divine abjection and the reclaiming of that. For more tangible inspirations, I’ve been referencing Angelyne - The Billboard Queen, Pete Burns, Arca, Elvira, and such queer icons.”