Copenhagen Fashion Week, which kicked off on January 31, was opened by a collection from Hungarian brand AERON. The Danish capital’s fashion week puts sustainability at the heart of its mission, which Eszter Áron’s brand also regards as one of their core values. We spoke to the founder, Eszter Áron, about the collection, the brand’s principals, and the creative process, and also spoke to the Danish textile artist Marie Nørgaard Nielsen, who created the show’s unique installation, and Christian D’Or, who provided the music.
AERON’s Fall/Winter 2023-24 collection is clean, and its models are diverse in age, body type, and background—something that is still considered a brave undertaking in the fashion industry. We asked the founder of the brand, Eszter Áron, about this phenomenon.
The show featured a spectacularly wide range of models of all body shapes and ages. This kind of diversity is a risk in a fashion industry still accused of perpetuating unachievable ideals. As a designer, do you feel a sense of responsibility, a duty to show this?
I don’t think it’s a duty, but rather a matter of the heart, to declare, as a woman and as the founder and designer of a fashion brand, that a woman can be beautiful in many different ways, and that the bad feeling we all have because we don’t look like the supermodels in the magazines is real, but it’s not right. This has already been our second international fashion show where we selected models with a focus on character: we wanted to see women in our clothes who were so interesting that if I saw them on the street, I would want to go up and talk to them. Who are they, and what is their story? How are they doing? We believe that beautiful women are those who dare to be themselves.
The collection consists of strikingly clean pieces. What was your inspiration for the design process?
In the design process, there is always a desire to express complex things in a simple and clean way. The more focus and time a certain cut, stitch, or knitting technique requires, the more important it is for me to keep the silhouette simple. This is not easy to achieve; for instance, our leather blazer called Mercedes, which is made up of nearly 100 pieces, feels incredibly simple, with all the tricks to make a comfortable and wearable garment hidden in a single horizontal seam line.
At AERON, we’ve been paying more and more attention over the seasons to the events happening around us: how do women live, act, and move in the world? That’s what we seek to answer with each collection. When we started designing the Fall/Winter 2023 collection for Copenhagen, we realized that something was really happening in the offices. What we noticed is that women are dressing more boldly for the workplace after the pandemic, they are much more concerned with self-expression than before. Because of the home office, we didn’t really have to dress up for a long time, so it was surprising to me as well to realize how much I love the morning exercise of figuring out what suits my day, my mood, and my goals before I go to work. At the same time, working from home, we got really used to comfortable, snug clothes. So the question was, how do we imagine the modern woman’s wardrobe today to be comfortable but self-expressive, ambitious but casual?
AERON is a truly ‘life-size’ brand aiming to serve real needs, which inevitably raises the question: what kind of women does it target? Whom does AERON want to address?
The opening of AERON’s first store in Budapest, in Szervita Square, a few months ago, is an enormous help because anyone can walk in and get to know our world and our products up close. The AERON woman can be very diverse, not defined by age, body type, or birthplace, but rather by a desire to evolve, while also embracing classic values. She is modern and forward-looking but lives by values that are rooted in the past. She is certainly sophisticated, very feminine too, but never ostentatious. She loves earth tones providing stability, and she has a passion for good design, for having some outstanding objects in her environment. It’s her taste that makes the AERON woman special.
The AERON show was exceptional not only for the garments presented but also for the mode of presentation. The installation, called The Oracle, from which the models marched, was the creation of Danish textile artist Marie Nørgaard Nielsen—we also asked Eszter about working with her and collaborating with the DJ who provided the music for the show.
How did you choose who to work with for the collection’s launch? For example with Marie Nørgaard Nielsen, who created the installation, and DJ Christian D’Or, who was responsible for the music.
A collection, a show is always a team effort, with the creatives and international professionals that we consider the best. In our team, performance and professionalism are given, it’s more about how well we can work together toward a common goal. Whether we can click and work as a team. Much to our surprise, we have a very good professional and personal relationship with the Danish creatives, and our production (ALPINE) and PR agency (SVPR) help us a lot to make the best decisions. All our processes are driven by a zero-waste approach. We had several set design options for the show, but when we saw Marie’s work, talked to her, and felt a strong connection between us, it became clear that we wanted her to collaborate with her. We had previously worked with the DJ who was composing the music, Christian, for our previous Spring/Summer fashion show, so it was exciting to feel the process of how we both evolve and grow, how we continue working together where we left off last August.
We also asked the other party, Marie Nørgaard Nielsen, about the experience—the textile artist said that she felt the AERON collection and her installation shared the same identity.
How did you take the opportunity to work with AERON?
My first reaction was: it sounds great, but is it for real? A fashion brand has chosen my installation? Who is AERON? I quickly had to finish another installation project that week, so it was hard for me to get my head around it. But then I did a little research on the brand, and I found they created really nice, cool, and aesthetic pieces. I always thought that The Oracle was the perfect fit for a fashion show, and as they picked me, I had to make it happen!
What was your inspiration in the process of creating The Oracle?
My main inspiration was the feeling and experience I wanted to evoke in people visiting the installation. I wanted to create a space where you could disappear and feel for a moment the absence of the outside world and your own presence. My intention for The Oracle was to provide a space to journey into our own wisdom and light and to make it clear that we are all masters of our own universe.
How do you think the installation contributed to the AERON show’s ambiance?
I think The Oracle gave the show a fresh and modern feel, with some futuristic touches—linked to something undefined ahead of us. I loved the way the models could interact with the installation.
The Aeron show was also accompanied by a special soundtrack, courtesy of DJ Christian D’Or—Christian has been a fixture on the Copenhagen music scene for the past 15 years and spoke about his own contribution to creating the desired atmosphere.
What feelings did you want to convey to the audience through the music of the show?
Very light and warm, yet intense and intriguing feelings. We wanted to create a gentle build-up, allowing the audience’s ears and minds in. Through the rhythm and repetition, I aimed to keep their attention and create a space that was suitably harmonious yet dynamic, taking their senses on a journey that blended with the collection and the environment.
How do you think the collection and the music played at the show were connected?
I was very impressed to see how the two interacted. The show started with light color tones as the clarinet and strings were playing, followed by deeper earth tones with the introduction of percussion elements, and then black with the entrance of the synth. We were definitely in sync.
How is working with AERON different from working with Danish brands?
Working with Danish brands is very different from brand to brand. The AERON team is extremely dedicated, we have a dynamic dialogue, and we talked almost daily for two weeks before the show. They are engaged with music and understand the power and importance of music and sound, which I really appreciate. I love that they can be as emotional about music as I am.
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