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In Profile:                 ROTATE Birger Christensen

In Profile: ROTATE Birger Christensen

Here are a few things that happened in 1869: Tolstoy's War and Peace was published, Jesse James robbed his first bank, and the Copenhagen boutique Birger Christensen was founded. Only one of those is relevant to cool girl wardrobes everywhere inspired by the fashion of the 60s, and nope, it's not all 1205 pages (!) of Leo's book. Flash-forward a century or so to 2018, and that same Danish institution is giving two Scandi stylists a chance to craft a range of dresses that are colourful, decadent and feminine.

Those stylists are Jeanette Friis and Thora Valdimars, and the brand boasting those dresses is ROTATE Birger Christensen. Since launching 2018, the label has garnered many fans thanks to Friis and Valdimar's distinct aesthetic, inspired by the fashion of the 60s but ideal for any number of modern occasions. As their brand continues to grow, FLANNELS thought: It's International Women's Day this week, we love this brand, it's run by two successful and stylish women... Why don't we reach out to Thora and Jeanette for a wee chat?

Tatiana Holbrook wearing ROTATE SS20
Tatiana Holbrook wearing ROTATE SS20

Who was the ideal ROTATE woman when you started the brand and has that perfect customer changed in any surprising ways?

The ROTATE woman is daring, independent and confident, and she doesn’t mind standing out in a crowd. This is still the woman we design for; it hasn’t changed at all since we started.

What is it about ROTATE that makes it perfect for nights out?

We really try to think of all the details when we design our dresses. It’s really important to us that we feel comfortable in them, and that the details, fit and colour all stand out. A key factor as well is that they are all wearable. In Denmark girls bike almost everywhere so you need to be able to move.

Has British style influenced your work in any way?

British style is known for being eclectic. Mixing vintage with modern, mixing various eras and creating something completely new and fresh. We love that way of thinking out of the box. Sometimes there is an expectation to work in traditional ways but the British way of thinking is really something that speaks to us. It’s more about a feeling than what is expected.

How has Copenhagen style changed over the past few years? It feels like there has been one breakout brand after breakout brand.

Fashion in Copenhagen has finally gotten its own personality. Sweden is very minimalistic and somehow it became a Scandinavian thing. However, we aren’t really that minimalistic in Denmark. We are more daring in the way that we style ourselves and that has definitely inspired designers new and established to be more daring.

Tatiana Holbrook wearing ROTATE SS20 collection
Tatiana Holbrook wearing ROTATE SS20 collection

Has the growth of ROTATE surprised you?

Yes, it’s definitely a surprise that we have grown so quickly. We had no idea what to expect when we started the brand but to be in a position where we are constantly thinking of new ways to grow is just beyond any dream we ever had. It’s all so exciting.

Has your work ethic been challenged by the brand’s rapid growth?

We are constantly working actually but we were like that before we started the brand as well. Today it’s more about finding the right balance between being influencers and designers.

What are your favourite designs from the SS20 collection?

We love the styles in the collection, it’s so difficult to choose. However 'Heather' with the big shoulder pads is definitely a favourite.

Is there anything that you would consider off-limits for ROTATE?

We don’t really believe in saying never or stating something that’s off-limits. It comes back to a feeling and if we feel it’s right tomorrow then we go with that.

We’re publishing this interview to coincide with International Women's Day. As successful women running an acclaimed label, what can be done to have more women and female-identifying individuals at the top of fashion houses?

That is such a difficult question. Women are often stereotyped as moody and hormonal if they show attitude. It’s like we’re taught to be nice girls and society likes to keep us in that role. However when you give women the opportunity to prove themselves and accept that when a woman is being firm in her opinions or when she fights for her vision, that it’s just as legitimate as when a man does it, then we will come far.

Is there anything you would like to say to your fans shopping at FLANNELS?

We hope that you create amazing, unforgettable experiences in our dresses.