Not many people know that Scandinavia has its own fashion ecosystem and footprint in the industry.
Indeed, Northern Europe’s subregion has its own respective fashion councils and fashion weeks in Sweden, Copenhagen, Iceland, Finland, and Norway, filled with a community of fashion and textile designers that provide support on labour law regulations, incubator programmes, trade oversight, sustainability initiatives, logistics, training, retail, and ecommerce.
Sweden is one such country in this ecosystem with design talent that spreads the globe.
For the past two days, the Swedish Fashion Council (SFC) gathered international and local communities, highlighting a new era in Swedish fashion while celebrating the launch of a new digital platform.
“Sweden as a country has a unique combination of an outstanding force of innovation, a widespread focus on sustainability and creative excellence. By leveraging these strengths, the Swedish Fashion Council is working to establish a new era of fashion,” shares Jennie Rosén, the CEO of the Swedish Fashion Council.
The ‘Stockholm [X]perience’ was five-fold, with the launch of a report series, physical displays, as well as the launch of a new book, a new cultural platform, and a launch dinner.
But, before getting into that, many reading this may be asking: What is Swedish fashion and what does it look like?
Sweden is Europe’s third largest country and considering its geographical position, the word 'cold' comes up a lot. Weather has an influence on the fashion, which has led to an ingrained sense of style that’s minimal and monotone in colour. Textiles are also a serious thing, as Swedes place high interest on quality wools, knits that can be layered for varying temps, and denim-dark denim.
Swedes also have a knack for all things vintage, which can be seen in the myriad of thrift stores found throughout the country. Over the past few years, the world has gotten familiar with brands like ACNE Studios, COS, & Other Stories, Monki, Sandqvist, Arket (a member of the H&M family), and we can’t forget H&M itself.
Stockholm [X]perience has included the Council’s incubator program, SFC [Incubator] that combines their innovative eco-friendly models and creative talent with disruptive vision. Brands in the SFC [Incubator] get coaching in marketing and business strategy, production and sales.
The Council has also launched Fashion Transformation, a report on the fashion industry as a whole and SFC’s place in it and its future agenda.
A panel discussion moderated by Lucy Maguire, Senior Trends Editor at Vogue Business, took place at Polestar Stockholm to discuss how digital innovations, a growing secondhand market, new business models, inclusive approaches, and new consumer values are affecting Swedish fashion.
Present during this panel were Isobel Farmiloe, Strategy Director at Dazed Media; Jonatan Janmark, Partner at McKinsey; Danica Kragic, Professor in Computer Science; Suzan Hourieh Lindberg, Founder of The Social Few; Linn Af Klint Kansmark, Circular Business at H&M; Fredrik Timour, Founder of Fashion Innovation Center; Lisa Lang, Director of Legislation and EU Affairs, EIT Climate KIC; and Komal Singh from Polestar.
One of the standout quotes in the Fashion Transformation report is by Achim Berg, a senior partner at McKinsey’s Frankfurt office in their apparel, fashion and luxury group: “If you want to grow the Swedish fashion industry, you need to internationalize the Swedish fashion industry."
Wowing with exhibitions and performances
Displays by Swedish brands were unveiled at different venues around Stockholm like the Stockholm Fashion District, Loyal Gallery, and A House Ark, allowing attendees to take in the sights and feel of the city.
An exhibition by art project AMAZE wowed visitors, and NIFROM and ALL BLUES, two brands that were on display, hosted a lunch during the two-day event.
Off the schedule, Eytys and Our Legacy had their own showroom, and BYREDO invited attendees to an intimate breakfast at Nordiska Kompaniet. Brands apart of SFC [Incubator] that were on display included upcycling brand Hodakova, Avavav, Feben, Jade Cropper.
Södra Teatern was the site for performances, which were curated by Wasima Ayad (known as Dar Warda) and R&B musician Mona Masrour as the headliner. Other local talent included R&B and hip-hop artists Mazzo and Elias Abbas. The performance titled ‘Mona Masrour + FRIENDS’ was supported by the Swedish Fashion Council and Sneakers ‘N’ Stuff, and was live-streamed exclusively on TikTok, as a result of the SFC and TikTok Nordics content partnership.
The new book, MODE 2022, piggybacks off the Fashion Transformation report, giving light to leading voices that drive the fashion industry forward. It features interviews by well-known international journalists from Vogue with talent like Feben, Anna Uddenberg, Rave Review, Our Legacy Workshop, Saman Amel Atelier, and EYTYS.
“While the report is mainly directed towards politicians and executive level industry people, the book is instead directed towards everyone else with an interest in fashion (but who are perhaps not as keen on reading a 50+ page report about it),” says Rosén.
“The idea behind the book is to be the creative translation of the report, showing the transformation from another perspective. The book is titled MODE 2022 (which means fashion in Swedish) and is created together with NUDA PAPER. MODE 2022 highlights creatives, brands, "ordinary people’’, and artists who are all part of shaping the new era of fashion.”
After having read the book, readers will understand Sweden’s place within fashion, as main player in the textile, design, and innovation realms of the industry.
Eyes on the future
Fashion X examines the industry from a social, political, economic, and creative stance. It also gives a voice to people representing this new era of fashion, creating a space for their experiences which have been continuously overlooked.
The launch dinner for Fashion X and MODE 2022 included 150 prominent brands, creatives, journalists, companies, innovators, entrepreneurs, and politicians.
“The launch dinner took place at Fotografiska in Stockholm,” continues Rosén. “Apart from being the final celebration of the two-day event and the reveal of the book for the first time, it was also the starting point for Fashion X – a new digital platform discussing the future of fashion. The platform was developed in partnership with SALLY by EY Doberman.”
The dinner included Lulu Kennedy, Founder and Director of Fashion East; Ida Petersson, Womenswear Buying Director at Browns; Leanne Elliot Young, Co-Founder and CEO of Institute of Digital Fashion; Audrey Hu, Fashion Editor of Vogue China; Lezan Lurr, Co-Founder of Namacheko; David Martin, Editor-in-Chief of ODDA Magazine; and Erik Fagerlind, Co-Founder of Sneakers ‘N’ Stuff and more. Also in attendance were Swedish models and influencers - from Gizem Erdogan to Evin Ahmad, Alexander Abdallah, Daniela Rathana, Deki Alem and Julia Dang.
It was hosted in collaboration with Fotografiska Stockholm, the leader in discovering world-class photography, rotating exhibitions, one-of-a-kind programming, and dining experiences.
The past two days have shown that international media has their eye on Swedish fashion, with a budding ecosystem striving to help design talent thrive.