Stamm Evokes Childlike Joy at Copenhagen Fashion Week SS24
Returning to Copenhagen Fashion Week spring-summer 2024 after a successful debut last season, Stamm pulled inspiration from childhood memories, putting on a high-energy, joyous show that marched to its own beat. Here’s a look inside the collection, dubbed “Don’t Stop, We’re Dreaming.”
Photography by James Cochrane.
You can feel the sonic vibration through the soles of your feet. Up your spine. Down your fingertips. Over the beat of thrumming hip-hop music, the air-horn is unleashed: be-be-be-bahhhhh. That, you can feel straight in your chest. Every part of the body is tuned in, shaken awake, pulled whole into the moment. Right here, in this basketball court divided by crisscross mesh, surrounded by a very different kind of fashion week crowd. And if the soundscape – dreamed up for the event by the French producer Princ€ – doesn’t get your blood pumping, the clothes undoubtedly will.
Out comes the first model, walking at a fast clip in a pair of scruffy, torn jeans and low-slung chain belt. She’s wearing sneakers and an oversized tee. For lots of guests, this look must tickle some kind of memory. It’s a look that would fit perfectly at a ‘90s rave, against the backdrop of some cool, hip warehouse complete with electronic music and maybe even a light show. But to founder and designer Elisabet Stamm, it’s a repository of memories.
Last season, the brand made its debut at Copenhagen Fashion Week with a show that brought audiences closer to outer space; aliens turned up on earth, bemusedly wandering through the labyrinthian runway. This season, in her second show at Copenhagen Fashion Week dubbed “Don’t Stop, We’re Dreaming,” Elisabet poured pieces of herself into the collection. In an industry buckling under the pressure of virality, of making the right bets, and of doing all of that at a punishing speed, the Danish designer’s personal approach, with its very concrete imagery, feels important – if not necessary.
In the brand’s personal-essay-slash-show-notes, a young Elisabet stands smack-dab in the center of a photo, one hand tightened into a loose fist. She’s biting down on what seems like a popsicle stick, squinting into the sunlight. A pink scrunchie blooms above her head, wound around a high ponytail. She’s wearing a salmon-colored Smurfs sweatshirt tucked into extra-large jeans cinched tight with a belt. “My mom wanted me to do team sports so that I could ‘open up’ and become social, but all I wanted to do was to ride a horse,” she writes.
Stamm’s show notes are full of these childhood stories. Of how she was a quiet child with a bellyful of fire and a mind brimming with stories. Of how she wistfully stood on the sidelines in school before finding her coolness in style and music no one else was listening to. Of how she found joy in horseback riding and being close with animals. These little glimpses echo the power of storytelling; by exposing personal memories, a designer can immerse us into a familiarly new world.
Some of these memories are literal translations. An oversized tee with a blurred print of the family dog, eyes glowing from the camera’s flash. (“We had four dogs all called ‘Chili,’” the designer writes in her essay.) Another generously sized hoodie showing the designer riding a horse. Jackets paneled with images of a truck’s grill lights (Stamm spent a great deal of time driving around with her dad). But the genius of Stamm’s design language shines through other elements, too.
Joy Is an Attitude.
When building the spring-summer 2024 universe, Elisabet plunged into her consciousness with both feet. Beyond childhood memories, she asked big questions. Like, what makes her joyful? And what does luxury mean (to her anyway)? In her introspection, some clear findings emerged. “Luxury to me is freedom of expression,” she writes in her show notes, “of playfulness and simple joy of living.”
With that carefree attitude as inspiration, generously oversized athleticwear dominate the collection. Shoulders are swallowed up. Silhouettes are drowned in enormous volumes. (Just like little Elisabet is in the aforementioned photo.) One model walks in a clumsy child-like gait, clad in a loose-fitting track jacket and slouchy long shorts, with colorful laces zhuzhing up his sneakers. Another model wears a giant highlighter-yellow t-shirt spelling out “Yes to everything” on top of a traffic-light-orange pants. T-shirts are bedecked with teddy bear images.
Elsewhere we see side-stripe joggers, nylon pants, athletic shorts, leather outwear, and chunky chains draped on everything. The color palette oscillates from nostalgic pinks and reds and culminates into deeper, more grown-up hues: blacks, mustards, tawny browns. And even those serious notes are still rendered playful through creative styling.
Building a Community.
“I feel joyful now about the same things I did when I was a child,” Elisabet writes. “I feel love and excitement for the fact that my imaginary childhood friends are now my real friends.” Yes, the Stamm family – or “Stammily,” as the brand refers to it – is a close-knit one. Almost every day leading up to the show, the brand’s social media platform highlighted the faces behind the garments – from team members to textile makers across countries.
During the months that I’ve personally been following the brand, I’ve seen countless behind-the-scenes looks at the makings of Stamm’s garments, the yarn-dyeing process, and trips to places like the Amreli district in western India. “I want to bring all the sustainable fabrics and my best friends recycled founds of fabric,” she writes, “but before that, I want to bring what I reignited during this process: A youthful energy unlimited and not to be defined by any age, an open exchange with people who inspire me.”
Which brings me back to the show – and to the moment Stamm’s show crescendos into something larger than itself. Toward the tail end of it, Scandinavian-Syrian rapper Silvana Imam, dressed head to toe in Stamm, enters the court and breaks into an energizing performance.
The audience bursts into applause. Air-horns swell into the air. As the show draws to a close, Elisabet Stamm walks out clutching hands with her son and pauses in front of a cheering audience. At that moment it’s obvious to me that the brand’s “Stammily” isn’t just one that’s centered around a mutual love for garments, although the fandom for Elisabet’s pieces is very much there. It’s one built around the idea of community, one that’s ever-growing, always dreaming – and showing no signs of stopping.