Admired for its chic, minimal style and iconic labels like Acne Studios and Cheap Monday, Sweden is a country with a renowned fashion industry. But this week, the Scandinavian nation made a decision that will impact the industry as a whole, in favour of a more sustainable future.
The Swedish Fashion Council has decided to cancel Stockholm Fashion Week, in a shock move to address the environmental concerns surrounding the bi-annual event. Due to take place from 27th – 29th August 2019, the country’s fashion week will no longer be taking place, with an alternative format being thought out in the meantime. This break in tradition will mean disappointment for many Swedish designers expecting to showcase their work, but the Swedish Fashion Council hope to inspire a knock-on effect. Copenhagen Fashion Week, a firm contender for the top Scandinavian spot, is set to take place in early August (4th-7th), but after this announcement, who knows whether the city will rethink too.
Why is Stockholm Fashion Week being cancelled?
Sweden is heralded for its eco-friendly reputation in fields such as recycling, aviation, green technology, renewable energy and ranks first in the EU for consumption of organic foods. Equally, Stockholm leads the way in vintage, pre-loved fashion and is the birthplace of inspirational climate change activist, Greta Thunberg.
However, the country is well aware that the business of fashion is doing a lot of harm to the environment, and can no longer ignore the unsustainable nature of the industry. Did you know, out of 100 billion garments produced every year worldwide, under 1% is recycled? Frightening statistics such as this, combined with the prevalence of the digital era and new and improved methods of clothing production, have thus inspired the traditional format of fashion week to be changed.
Jennie Rosén, CEO of the Swedish Fashion Council, commented in a statement:
“Stepping away from the conventional fashion week model has been a difficult, but much considered, decision. We need to put the past to rest and to stimulate the development of a platform that is relevant for today’s fashion industry…the Swedish fashion industry is extensive and growing, so it is crucial to support brands in their development of next-generation fashion experiences.”
“By doing this we can adapt to new demands, reach sustainability goals and be able to set new standards for fashion.”
Catwalks for the press, media and buyers, embody a format that has long dominated in the fashion world. Fashion shows are glamorous, exclusive, and, you guessed it, wasteful. Many of the collections displayed are not available to purchase immediately, and are merely there for show. Designers such as Burberry and Tom Ford have picked up on this in recent years, opting to adapt their shows to a ‘see now, buy now’ strategy. Equally, now that brands can use social media as a powerful tool to exhibit collections, it begs the question, are ‘fashion weeks’ still relevant?
The Swedish Fashion Council will unveil its new strategy for Stockholm Fashion Week later this year, poised to focus on cross-sector collaboration and new revenue streams in future years.
Alongside this drastic rethink, the council will launch its Fashion Talents incubator programme, to help brands develop their sustainable credentials.