Highlights From Stockholm Fashion Week Spring 2022

Stockholm Fashion Week was a relatively low-key affair that consisted mostly of studio visits (digital and in-person) and a scattering of live shows. The focus of the week was sustainability, particularly how it intersects with innovation and tech—areas in which Sweden excels.

A recent IPCC report issued a code red warning for humanity; yet overall the Swedish fashion industry remains optimistic that change can happen. Technology can help in the development of functional new fibers, in sorting, in tracking, etc., but what’s clear is that a lot of attention needs to be paid to pre-production, where about 80% of the environmental impact occurs—it’s also way before designers come into the picture. In a candid talk at the Encouragement for Action Awards, organized by the Stockholm Fashion District, Dr. Philip Warkander spoke plainly against the dangers of downplaying the challenges of sustainability to make it easy and palatable (the equivalent of liking a post on Instagram, you might say), when much personal and collective action is needed.

At the Fashion Future conference, organized by SFW, Professor Danica Kragic Jensfelt, a computer scientist and robotics expert, concluded her comments with an intriguing assertion. “I think that what we wear and what we eat is coming closer and closer together,” she said. “Can we eat what we wear, and can we wear what we wat? I think we need to live with a thought like that. We are basically like a very big recycling plant, ourselves as individuals.” It was another reminder that sustainability is about people as much as materials, policy, investment, and technological innovation.

Jade Cropper, spring 2022

Photo: Isak Berglund Mattson Mårn / Courtesy of Jade Cropper

Iggy Jeans, spring 2022

Photo: Isak Asia / Courtesy of Iggy Jeans

There’s a sense of change underway in Stockholm. Whereas two established brands I spoke to were keen to distinguish themselves as Swedish, rather than Scandinavian brands, the digitally native designers coming up seem to have a different world view, which is more global. And they are positioning themselves within the industry as a whole, not only the local one.

Remake, spring 2022

Photo: Andreas Kock / Courtesy of Remake

Minna Palmqvist, spring 2022

Photo: Isak Berglund Mattson Mårn / Courtesy of Minna Palmqvist

Quite a number of the new generation of designers seem less interested in linking fashion to lifestyle and are instead focusing on fashion as individual, and oftentimes idiosyncratic, self-expression. On the surface, the work of Stockholm-based Jade Cropper, for example, seems to have more in common with body-con designers like KNWLES, or the other designers rounded up in my colleague Steff Yotka’s “Summer of Skin” story, than any local brand. Yet the social systems that support Cropper’s creativity (no student loans, universal health care, vacation) are vastly different. To an outsider, the idea of lifestyle enabling design rather than being a branding concept seems not only novel, but sustainable.

Here, a look at some of the news from fashion week in Stockholm.

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