Meet Isabella Rose Davey, Fashion Week's Force From London To Copenhagen

By Cathrin Schaer
Isabella Rose Davey is head of communications and digital at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Photo / Tine Bek

Before arriving in Copenhagen, where she is head of communications at the Danish capital city’s Fashion Week, Isabella Davey had done a bit of everything in the industry, from working in boutiques to modelling and styling, to writing about fashion and art.

She’s also something of a citizen of the world: She has family in New Zealand, grew up in Australia, went to university in Ireland and then spent seven years in London before relocating to Denmark in 2019.

Talking to her, you get the feeling the one thing that spans all those jobs and continents is Isabella’s drive and determination. She says it was hard work that eventually got her a job with the British Fashion Council where she worked in designer liaison and managed the NewGen section at London Fashion Week.

It acts as a launchpad for emerging talents, including in the past big names like Alexander McQueen, JW Anderson and Simone Rocha. Because London is well known in the European fashion world for its non-commercial creativity, the NewGen section is particularly important.

Despite the excitement of such a job, Isabella says she started to feel the need for a change. “I felt too comfortable,” Isabella says of accepting a job as a brand strategist for Danish brand Stine Goya, and moving to Copenhagen. “I like feeling curious and I am always worried about feeling too contented.”

Unfortunately, after only a few months the pandemic hit and the brand had to lay off staff. But the pandemic had also forced Copenhagen Fashion Week which, according to Vogue, had gained "cult status, built on a canny use of cool-girl influencers, buzzy young Scandi-style brands and sustainability credentials" to go online. It would be one of the first hybrid fashion weeks and Isabella was given the job of making sure everybody knew about it.

Yes, the fashion business is pretty different in Copenhagen, Isabella concedes. “In London there is such an incredibly diverse and young fashion scene, that’s why the schedule is so exciting,” she says. “And [the fashion] does feel more commercial here. There’s not the deep creativity you see in London. But then, it also feels more democratic here. It’s a different approach. It’s more accessible.”

Right now, the Danish lifestyle in general is also something that is keeping Isabella curious. When she first arrived in Copenhagen, she found it hard to fit in as an outsider even though most people speak English. “There’s not that immediate warmth you get in New Zealand and Australia,” she says.

Her appreciation for the local culture has grown. That includes Danish preferences on egalitarianism, the environment and gender equality. Copenhagen Fashion Week is known for its focus on sustainability and she bicycles everywhere.

Then there’s the bar down the road from her apartment known as “the politicians’ bar”.“They bring in the politicians to pull the pints,” she explains. “It’s about breaking down the barriers between the politicians and the people. I think that is so cool. The Danish have really great ideas like that.”

Another aspect of Danish life Isabella admires relates to gender. “Women here can be leaders and they have the right to be mothers too. It’s really refreshing that there are so many female heads of business here and that they can leave at 3pm to pick up their children. The work-life balance here is really inspiring.”

– Originally published in Viva Magazine  Volume Three

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