Hærværk shines at Copenhagen Fashion Week dropping child to teen transition collection
Showing on the first day of Copenhagen Fashion Week, Hærværk continued to build on its coming-of-age narrative with an AW19 collection inspired by the awkward transition from child to teen. Hærværk, which means vandalism in Danish, fittingly chose the iconic Stengade for its location – a volunteer-run music venue covered in graffiti. Hordes of smoking boys – still stuck in their own awkward phase between teenager and man – stand around, unphased by street style photographers and hoping to get a spot inside. Haervaerk seem to have created a buzz for themselves akin to brands like Supreme or Palace.
The entire collection is a constant push and pull between childlike play and teenage angst. As the show opens, Casper The Friendly Ghost by Daniel Johnston plays. This jarring song about a beloved children’s figure, with lyrics like “nobody treated him nice while he was alive”, is from the soundtrack of Larry Clark’s ‘Kids’, a cult-classic listed in the show notes as an inspiration for the collection. This portrayal of a harsh realism is romanticised by the constant inclusion of childish themes. Although punk is referenced heavily, from oversized bomber jackets with Doc Martens to Kurt Cobain-green spiked hair, the collection is made in a colour palette lifted from a Lego set, with primary reds, yellows and blues grounding the anti-establishment aesthetic in a juvenile daydream. The silhouettes are playful and over-exaggerated, with oversized pieces that slouch around the models’ bodies, at once giving them an attitude while still looking like a child playing dress up. Boxing gloves hang from sleeves like a child’s mittens and green beanies almost cover eyes as though they’ve been styled by Kevin the Teenager. The models stomp around the room in an adolescent fit of rage, as a track described as “goofy, exaggerated, cartoon-y in a way” by designer Guntoft Hansen plays and undercuts the tension. The collection also feels resourceful at times, in the way creativity plugs the holes that finance can’t when you’re young. The blue, rubbery material that makes up a vast proportion of the looks is reminiscent of a crumpled IKEA bag, and belts and bag straps are made from rubber tubing that looks like it could’ve been found at a mechanics.
As the show closes, Mother by IDLES begins to play and the tone changes dramatically. The final model stands in the middle of the runway and stares aggressively, as the other models push past him to fill the room. It is charged and with purpose: for the first time in the show it feels as though childhood is lost. Youth culture has been a constant source of inspiration for the brand, and the Hærværk muse is one just starting to find their place in the world. Watching this show as a Briton, it is especially powerful to hear lyrics like: “My mother worked seventeen hours seven days a week, The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich”. At a time of global political upheaval, it can feel as though we are all starting to find a place in the world, making this show more prescient than ever.
Written and photographed by Sorcha McCrory