The hemline of Denmark's vibrant fashion industry no longer stops at Denmark's borders, but is now rapidly extending southwards, according to new figures from Statistics Denmark. Exports to southern Europe rose from DKK 324 m (USD 58 m) in 2005 to DKK 482 m (USD 87 m) in 2006.
Fashion firms like Bruuns Bazaar and IC Company are successfully exporting their designs to France and Italy, where they are competing with the likes of Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Chloé on their own home turf. This is not such a bad strategy, since while Scandinavia's image as a fashion centre is still relatively new, France and Italy are the undisputed centres of chic. By mixing with the best in the world of haute couture, Danish fashion is gaining in reputation by association.
Nicolaj Dupont-Mersing, chief economist of the Federation of Danish Textile and Clothing comments: "France is one of the newer markets for the Danish fashion industry. Brands like Bruuns Bazaar have been there for a couple of years, but others are now following in their steps. When one brand gets a foothold, it generally produces a synergy effect for the other brands. You get into trendsetting places like Galleri Lafayette in Paris, and you're the talk of the town."
The advance of Danish clothing brands in the sophisticated south has been helped by a clever combination of high fashion and mid-range prices. Dupont-Mersing points out that there is a lot of potential in this price segment, since there are many for whom prestigious brands like Dior and YSL are beyond their pocket. Meanwhile Danish brands offer the same hot-off-the-hanger fashions at considerably more affordable prices, and Dupont-Mersing sees this market positioning resulting in double-digit growth rates for the next couple of years.
Besides Bruuns Bazaar, other Danish fashion firms exporting to France and Italy include Sand, Bestseller and IC Company. The latest annual accounts of the latter show that sales in French boutiques shot up 41% in just 12 months, from DKK 25 m (USD 4.5 m) to DKK 41 m (USD 7.4 m). For Danish fashion firms, the future south of the border appears to be very promising indeed.
The news was reported by national daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.