Swedish Fashion Now – how democracy and “all man´s right” makes Swedish fashion sustainable

As part of the London Fashion Week program, five Swedish fashion brands joined a panel talk around “Sustainable design Scandi (Swedish) style”, moderated by Vogue’s first Sustainability Editor Clare Press, at the Swedish Ambassador’s residence in London on February 17.

“We wanted to highlight the fact that 80% of the climate impact of a product is determined in the
design process. In Sweden, democracy and equality, as well as something called All Man’s Right,
meaning that nature is the responsibility of everyone, are all part of our culture. This makes
considering social and environmental sustainability a natural mindset”, said Catarina Midby, Secretary
General at the Swedish Fashion Association.

The brands who represented clean cut, modern and functional Swedish style at the event ranged from
AVAVAV who makes happy, fashion loving and limited editions from leftover materials from Italian
suppliers, to Asket, the permanent collection without compromise on sustainability at any stage,
founded by two business school friends. House of Dagmar was founded by three sisters 20 years ago
and have made fashion with longevity for modern women ever since, and Swedish giant H&M Group
who recently appointed their former Head of Sustainability the company’s new CEO, has the most
comprehensive sustainability agenda aiming to be climate positive by 2040. Jeanerica is the new kid
on the block in denim nation Sweden, making cool classics from sustainably sourced cotton.

“Swedish fashion brands have been ahead of the sustainability conversation for many years”, Clare
Press said introducing the panel and, wearing a dress by AVAVAV, continued to ask the designer
Linda Friberg how their collaborating with local artisans translated in their collection. Linda explained
how they adapt styles and quantities to the materials they find, and don’t work in seasons but rather
with continuous releases, reducing overstock and making adapting to consumer demand much

House of Dagmar’s Kristina Tjäder explained they were inspired by grandmother Dagmar who always
looked chic despite sparse resources, and who thought them how to care for and cherish their
clothes. They recently opened store in Stockholm feature their “Good choice” collection made with
sustainable processes and materials, like their sustainable furs made of 100% wool.

Yves Saint Laurent once said he wished he had invented blue jeans as they have expression,
modesty, sex appeal and simplicity, which is exactly what Jonas Clason wants Jeanerica to be about.
With their simple, stylish and European aesthetics, sustainability is at the core of the brand for which
they use all sustainably sourced cotton.

“Swedish fashion is in a good place with the big brands paving the way investing in new technology
for sustainability, and the emerging designers challenging the system”, said Jakob Dworsky of Asket
who knew nothing about the fashion industry five years ago when starting their journey making an
organic cotton T-shirt in 15 sizes to provide for all bodies and shapes. They have grown their
collection piece by piece, with high sustainability credentials, and are currently delving further into
traceability with blockchain partner TrusTrace.

Finally, iconic Margareta van den Bosch, H&M’s very first Head of Design, proudly announced that
H&M now uses 100% sustainably sourced cotton. And how they have come a long way since their
first organic cotton collection in 1995 aiming to use all sustainable materials by 2030. Also, how the
company now are setting goals they would never have dreamed of 30 years ago, like being climate
positive by 2040.

“There is cultural sensibility in Sweden that lends itself to looking after nature, designing out waste,
that I think we can all learn from the Swedes”, Clare Press concluded.

Read more about Swedish Design Movement here.