Stockholm Fashion Week showed how innovation and new voices are driving change in the industry

There was with great anticipation Stockholm Fashion Week made its return last week. With a new hybrid format, live shows were mixed with exhibitions, fashion films, broadcasted studio visits, and other types of formats. With three days packed with events and shows, we unpack the things that stood out.
September 06, 2021

Conferences, talks, and a sustainability hub 

The week kicked off with hybrid half-day conference Fashion Future (former Fashion Tech Talks), where topics such as fashion, tech, and sustainability were discussed. The schedule was filled with top names from the industry, including creative advisor Simon Collins, actress Maisie Williams, Global Fashion Agenda’s Federica Marchionni, and H&M CEO Helena Helmersson, discussing this year’s topic Leadership. The entire conference is available to watch here. If we were the pick out one highlight, we’d go for Amanda Parkes, Chief Innovation Officer at Pangaia, and Danica Kragic Jensfelt, Professor of Computer Science at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), on How technology and material innovation can craft the future of fashion (around 2 hours and 40 minutes in).

As a part of the sustainability work, the organization had initiated the Sustainable Fashion Hub. A pop-up and meeting place where the public had the opportunity to meet different initiatives, contributing to more sustainable fashion consumption. The hub even got a royal acknowledgment, when the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria paid a visit on Tuesday morning. All the five participating initiatives, all female-led, showcased different ways of getting the most use out of your wardrobe, repurposing, and up-cycling of materials and enabling a smooth second-hand consumption of clothes.

One of the participating companies was Popswap. The app — which lets you trade your clothes with other users, through a user experience similar to Tinder — organized their concept Popswap Dress Up. It invited users to hand in their already used party dresses, in exchange for another user’s dress. A much-appreciated initiative, where many dresses got to swap owners.

— I believe Sustainable Fashion Hub is a very, or perhaps ‘the most’, important initiative, during Stockholm Fashion Week, says founder Lin Kowalska, continuing to praise the Swedish sustainable fashion movement, 

— New solutions require entrepreneurs, tech, and innovation. Three areas where Swedes are super strong. Therefore I believe Sweden will once again stand out, just as it did for the music industry – offering bold and smart solutions related to circular business models for fashion, crossover industries collaborations, and working together with the consumers to find the best alternatives for new ways of consuming clothes, alternatives that enable a world where fashion is circular.

Innovation gets rewarded 

Fashion weeks and prizes often go hand in hand. This Stockholm Fashion Week was no exception and several players from the fashion industry were awarded during the week.

Encouragement for Action, instituted by Stockholm Fashion District, is a prize that encourages sustainable initiatives within fashion. For 2021, Swedish up-cycling brand that has gained international recognition, Rave Review, was awarded the Sustainable Identity, the mentioned app Popswap won in the category Closing the Loop, Dedicated Brand won the Fashion Retail talks Sustainability, and textile innovation company Coloreel got the ‘Fashion Innovation’ prize.

Another prize was Stockholm Fashion Week and main partner’s New Talent and Innovation Award. The award is split into three categories of awards to highlight the most innovative and creative fashion brands and influencers within the Nordics. RodebjerDiemonde, and Anna Lidström were the winners in the categories ‘Innovation Driver Brand Award’, ’New Talent Award’, and “Innovation Driver Influencer Award”, respectively. 

During the week the cover star of the second print edition of Scandinavian MIND, Jacob Felländer, inaugurated his exhibition and project The Great Escape. The multimedia exhibition takes place both physically and digitally and invites visitors to take part in Felländer’s works, but also create their interpretations of them with the same method as the artist himself through their smartphones. The multimedia exhibition is also accompanied by a capsule collection of clothes, in collaboration with H&M, that all carry the prints of Felländer’s works.

— The project, both the exhibition and the collection, is basically about educating and training the new generation in creativity because we need to find new solutions to old problems — the environment, pandemics, conflicts, and famine. That is the reason why I want to reveal my secrets and my method and share them with everyone, explains Jacob Felländer.

Young talent

Fashion-wise, Stockholm Fashion Week served a line-up full of interesting debutants and up-and-coming names. One of these was Filippa Agaton. The newly graduated Beckmans College of Design-alumna had received the Stockholm Fashion Association’s New Talent Diploma and got a spot on the official schedule as a reward. Read more about it here.

In the graduation shows from Sweden’s leading fashion schools — Beckmans College of Design and Swedish School of Textiles — graduating fashion students presented its collections that flourished of creativity. The students presented with many new techniques, materials, and ways of expression that the Swedish fashion scene will be one to count on in the future. One of the sharpest and intriguing looks was one from Swedish School of Textiles-student Josefine Neuman’s collection, ’A Seat at the Table’. The collection works as a commentary on the relationship between fashion and eating and is using unconventional upcycling methods.   

Abomé is another young Swedish brand that is run by designer and artist Amanda Borgfors Mészáros. The brand has been recognized by the romantic, flowing dresses that have been adorned with rustic leather bustiers. The designer that moves between art and fashion has for its SS22 collection worked with upcycled crochet and lace cloths, which unveils the designer’s fascination for folklore and juxtapositioning of soft and hard.

— My design framework is very sculptural and I focus on a combination of soft and hard, for example with my moulded leather bustiers and the soft airy dresses. That combination excites me. I believe in authenticity as a healing factor for our society and I take action whenever I can to support this idea. This means I follow nothing but my heart in designing my products, that all materials are honest to nature and that each piece has a timeless vision. This SS22 collection has few and powerful looks, focusing on a soft sculptural silhouette with delicate upcycled crochet details, all white, explains Borgfors Mészáros.

Minimalism and maximalism

Stockholm Fashion Week jumpstarted already on Monday-evening when Ida Sjöstedt kicked off the week. The show took place in the courtyard of the Hallwyl Palace, which became a dreamy backdrop to the show and collection. The collection represented the now 20-year history the designer has achieved and all the different characters a woman possess. Flowing dresses in tulle, with floral decorations and sheer materials, was combined with more harsh looks including leather pants, denim, and eclectic prints — creating two equally recognizable protagonists. 

Stylein, the brand that has been catering to Scandinavian minimalism for 20 years, continued on the beaten path. For its SS22 collection, the brand is taking its muse to London, where it gets inspired by the vibrant and pulsating city. With sober colours, relaxed silhouettes, and thoughtful material choices, the brand are presenting a sleek collection that will stand the test of time.

— Our muse is all about sensuality and ease. She has an urge to slow down fashion, preserve what is naturally beautiful and invest in designs that last over seasonal trends, says designer and founder Elin Alemdar.  

Fetching inspiration from a city was also the case at Stand Studio, but from a different point of view. The brand went even more west and based its collection on inspiration from Los Angeles and its vibe. With bold colour choices and the introduction of activewear and garments that has connotations to college culture — it is a collection that easily transports you to California in mind and brightens up gloomy Scandinavian summer days.

Having a city as a vision and inspiration was a reoccurring theme during Stockholm Fashion Week. In fact, the dreamy atmosphere of California was also an inspirational element for Lazoschmidl, but with a twist. The creative duo behind the brand, Josef Lazo and Andreas Schmidl, describes the collection as ”very German techno in Los Angeles 2022”. That means, by looking at the collection, prints, colours, flowers, shiny patent materials, and extra everything. All topped off with printed copy, referencing consumption culture.  

Speaking of LA and California, surfing might be more top of mind than when speaking about Stockholm. Though, the brand Stockholm Surfboard Club is doing what it can to get the Swedish capital more into surfing. The brand, founded just two years ago, is rooted in surfing culture and produces surfboards, wetsuits, and the fashion to accompany it.

For SS22, creative director Manne Glad, has gotten his inspiration from a historical perspective on golf attire, but mixed with the brand-DNA of surfing. This makes up to a collection that has both argyle-patterned sweaters, suits, and t-shirts recalling ’70s punk-merch. As Glad describes itself in the presentation video the collection ”ended up very much as a nice lost-and-found wardrobe”.