The Swedish Fashion Council sits at the forefront of change, guiding the global fashion industry as it enters a new era. Sustainability is no longer just a trendy cape to sport for spring, but is becoming fundamental for brands to earn respect and ensure long-lasting success. And leading the way is Swedish fashion.

The Swedish Fashion Council strives to promote, educate and innovate within the Swedish fashion industry in order for it to become competitive. Established in 1979, the council leads research projects, provides industry reports and supports the next generation of fashion leaders through its incubation programme known as Swedish Fashion Talents.

When the organisation was born, the industry need was for it to provide a global overview and report upcoming trends, as well as to supply a platform on which to showcase Swedish fashion. However, this need has changed in line with the industry’s natural growth. “As the industry has evolved over the years, including digitalisation, we’ve had to shift focus within the organisation in order to keep up,” explains Jennie Rosén, CEO of the Swedish Fashion Council. “Today, it’s our visionary and creative actions along with a strong community that make us a defining contributor to the overall industry shift.”

As mentioned above, the Swedish Fashion Industry is based on three main pillars and works to promote, educate and innovate. Combined, these contribute to the council’s vision of guiding the fashion industry into a new era and positioning Swedish fashion as something to look up to.

Swedish Fashion Council: Style and sustenance

Photo: AAJIYA

Proud to promote

The main thing to highlight under the organisation’s ‘promote’ umbrella is Swedish Fashion Talents. This is an incubator programme created to support newcomers on the Swedish fashion scene and provide them with guidance, making them fit for the future. “We see new emerging designers entering the market with a new agenda connected to sustainability, ecologically as well as socially and economically. This is at the core of the brands’ foundations, rather than just something that has been applied on top,” says Rosén.

The programme itself was reconstructed and relaunched back in 2018 and saw the start of the collaboration with Rave Review. The brand is dedicated to upcycling and was back then completely new on the scene. Fast-forward to today and Rave Review is seen as a pioneer within upcycling, not only nationally but on an international level.

The incubator programme is based on the ‘scaling up’ method and has, since the start, recruited 12 highly talented brands. Apart from Rave Review, these include HODAKOVA, AAJIYA, Selam Fessahaye, Jade Cropper and Popswap, among others.

Dedicated to educate

The Swedish Fashion Council is also an educator, providing the industry with a range of research reports. The purpose? To increase the knowledge around Swedish fashion, but also to cement it as an industry fit for the future. The most recent one released by the council is a sub report called Fashion Transformations. Presenting relevant industry statistics, the sub report also acts as an introduction to a report series set to launch later in 2022. “This series will provide a holistic perspective and be the first one to document and highlight the transformation in the fashion industry,” Rosén explains.

Swedish Fashion Council: Style and sustenance

Jennie Rosén.

Inspired to innovate

The third and final pillar of the Swedish Fashion Council is to innovate, and it does this by initiating and running several research projects. “Sweden is strong when it comes to innovation, and we see it as our responsibility to administer and grow in the role of global leaders within textile and fashion innovation,” says Rosén.

A good example is Challenge the Fabric, a collaborative project initiated by Ekman Group and organised by the Swedish Fashion Council. The idea of bringing together actors from the entire value chain to help shine a light on cellulose fibres proved very successful. Design talent from all over the world got to create pieces based on cellulose fibres and showcase them at London Fashion Week back in 2018. It gave them worldwide recognition, and the idea itself is still seen as ground-breaking. Later this year, Challenge the Fabric will return with a symposium at the Institut Suédios in Paris.

The future of fashion

The fashion industry is facing huge change, with the elephant in the room being mass production of clothes. The best solution to fight this is to review existing business models and produce less – something that is perhaps easier said than done, but the Swedish Fashion Council is here to help.

“We’re in constant conversations with decision makers, making sure they have reports to help increase knowledge within the industry. This also helps brands to make decisions in line with the bigger industry shift,” explains Rosén. “There’s still a lot to be done, but the important thing is that we’re on the right track.”

Swedish Fashion Council: Style and sustenance

Web: www.swedishfashioncouncil.se
Instagram: @swedishfashioncouncil

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