Berner Kühl SS23 Collection interview

One of the strongest collections at Copenhagen Fashion Week came from the very first brand on the schedule. Local designer Frederik Berner Kühl returned to show the Spring/Summer 2023 collection from his namesake, further developing the ideas he has showcased since the earliest days. At the heart of the Berner Kühl brand is the combination of the often competing worlds of luxury and performance, arguably best encapsulated by a trench coat that appeared at the SS23 show.

“These performance outerwear really encapsulate what we want to do,” says Berner Kühl of the coat, which is traditionally cut, constructed from a textured double-bond nylon and finished with technical details. “We want you to be able to wear it day in and day out, styled with a suit, styled very casual. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or if you have to go to a fancy dinner, it will always be there to support you. »

“We want you to be able to wear it day in and day out, styled with a suit, styled very casual.”

Throughout the collection, Berner Kühl revisited this theme – that no matter how classic a garment looks, it should enhance the wearer’s daily experience. The designer points to ribbed T-shirts made from 100% merino wool (“it doesn’t lose its shape, it regulates temperature”) and the recently introduced Japanese denim pieces (“some of the most durable garments you can make”). All these fabrics, materials and finishes are chosen for the same reason. “It’s the idea of ​​being able to wear your clothes in any environment,” says Berner Kühl.

Although this theme has run through Berner Kühl’s collections – and is the ethos on which the brand is based – the brand has continued to evolve over the year since its first exhibition. A key shift is the brand’s confidence in itself and its mission, as shown by the SS23 show, which opened with a model wearing only a long-sleeved T-shirt and a pair of jeans. It’s a brave move to open the entire fashion week, not just your own show, with such a simple look.

“We knew what we wanted to say and we were bold enough to open the show like that,” he explains. “Everyone can relate to that type of product. Last year we were afraid of being too boring, we were constantly wondering what to add to a piece to make it show-relevant. Now we are much more confident in saying that we do not need to add anything, this is what we are doing.”

The message through all of Berner Kühl’s designs is that wearable is not the same as boring. Although these pieces may look simple, they are elevated through the constructions, fabrics and details used. “It’s a very nice everyday uniform, where you don’t think about it, but it looks a little better than what you would normally wear,” adds Berner Kühl. “I’ve been wearing the jeans for 3 months and they still look great. That is the very essence of what we are trying to show.”

For the SS23 collection, the young brand introduced a new theme, with durability as a constant point of reference. Arguably the clearest example of this is the Japanese denim that opened the show. “The world we live in, you need to do less bullshit,” continues Berner Kühl. “The only way to do that is to make something that lasts longer.” In addition to the jeans, he points to the tailoring found in the collection. “It’s still 100% wool, but we gave it a bio coating. If you wear a pair of wool suit trousers for a year, they may get tired, but this will keep the fabric the same as when you bought it.”

“All the details we put into the product are to make it more long-term or durable.”

The use of bio-coating is just one of the ways in which Berner Kühl tries to preserve these objects. “All the details we put into the product are to make it more long-term or durable, either via the stitching, or the way it’s made, or the pattern,” he says. “There are a million details that go into one product. That’s why you need time, you’re not going to create the perfect product all at once. It’s only going to be perfect in two or three seasons, when you’ve modified it and figured out what doesn’t work. You should not move on too quickly. You need to figure out why this works and how you can make it 10% better next time.”

Berner Kühl’s SS23 collection, and its second exhibition, shows how the brand has refined and refined things over the past year. Through it all, the focal point is to improve everyday clothing, and create elements that can be used when they are needed. “We have performance and we have luxury, and we merge them,” explains Frederik. “It’s going to be a new kind of luxury, something that will be there all the time for you.”

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