Today's hottest word in fashion is 'sustainability'. Apart from being a movement towards more eco-friendly choices, it's also grown into a fad that brands often use to up their social standing and sellability. But while other sectors in the industry are still trying to make sustainability a need more than a want, Sweden's fashion scene is already ahead on a different level.
In order to make a statement on how serious they are on sustainability in fashion, the Swedish Fashion Council decided to completely axe the upcoming Stockholm Fashion Week this August. This is due to the unwavering (yet unspecified) environmental concerns that are yet to be addressed by both participants and organisers alike. The bi-annual event is one of the biggest fashion occurrences in the country, showcasing some of the best in the Scandinavian fashion scene since 2005.
Changing the narrative for the better
The decision may be shocking to some, but it's worth noting that Sweden is one of the pioneers of sustainable living even before it was considered 'cool'. Some sources suggest that as early as the '60s, Sweden was already taking steps in addressing depletion in natural resources, even headlining a UN conference about the environment in 1972.
Jennie Rosén, CEO of the Swedish Fashion Council, said in a statement that this move is "to stimulate the development of a platform that is relevant for today’s fashion industry," and a way to "adapt to new demands, reach sustainability goals and be able to set new standards for fashion." This is because, for the longest time, Fashion Weeks all over the world became the breeding ground for making environmental sacrifices in the name of what's trendy and stylish. The promotion of fur and animal skin as luxury status symbols is just one of the few yet most glaring examples.
Today, renowned brands from the country like Acne Studios, Filippa K, and Cheap Monday, in varying degrees are developing their sustainability units. All are reported to be working with regulatory boards to ensure that these processes are maintained and improved.
A domino effect
Sweden's bold move to reformat one of their biggest fashion weeks may just be the starting point of something bigger and better for the fashion industry. This is on top of the foundation laid by brands like Prada, Burberry, Stella McCartney and more in pledging to shift from their non-eco-friendly methods to more mindful and ethical productions.
This also solidifies the stance that sustainability isn't just a trend that will pass and be forgotten, but a long-term concept that should take planning, action, and maintenance in order to succeed. Sweden's move serves as an invitation to other Fashion Weeks like New York, Paris, and London to follow suit, reformat, and commit to the call for change. We can only hope that this truly heads to the direction we're picturing it in.
What can you do?
Sustainability in this region is still a novelty. After all, we're still majorly reliant on trends from foreign fashion houses and fast fashion retailers. However, local brands are stepping up to make sure that this idea makes it into the mainstream and into the consciousness of many people. So what you can do is offer your support the next time you go on a shopping spree. Not only are you helping these brands grow and develop, but you're also doing your part in participating in a larger and grander scheme that will benefit generations to come.