Tired of waiting for endless talk of change to actually spur action, the Swedish Fashion Council (SFC) drew a line in the proverbial sand and took a stand for change in the industry, establishing Fashion X last year as a way to move away from market-centric shows and focus on designers and other ways of understanding the industry. “If we look into Fashion Week, it’s [about] events connected only to fashion, and what we try to do with Fashion X is also connect fashion to culture,” SFC CEO Jennie Rosén told Vogue Runway.
The second edition of the event, which gathers fashion folk from across the globe in Stockholm, took place last week. In four jam-packed days in Stockholm, guests listened to talks (some in collaboration with Dazed) on diversity, emerging talent support, Gen Z, forestry, and the secondary market. They enjoyed African cuisine and locavore fare (who knew how versatile mushrooms could be?), and viewed, thanks to Market Art Fair, the work of contemporary Swedish artists in SEB’s unused bank vault. Wallets were emptied at Acne Studios Archive, and outerwear brand Klättermusen outfitted guests for a nature hike—all in an effort to put the human back into the fashion system.
According to its official mission statement, the SFC (which is owned by the Swedish Trade Federation) aims to “accelerate the transformation of the global fashion industry” and “establish Sweden as the global leader of the industry’s new era.” As it happens to be the case that Stockholm Fashion Week (organized by Stockholm Fashion Association) is on hiatus, and because Fashion X doesn’t follow the traditional show format, it’s awfully tempting to describe this happening as a Fashion Week alternative; but that’s not really the point. The goal of SFC is broader and more far-reaching. “Fashion weeks support mostly a linear system connected only to sell more products, but if we’re looking into how we’re going to transform the industry, we need to put fewer garments on the markets,” SFC CEO Jennie Rosén told Vogue Runway. And, we need to take more time with things. Fashion X is, essentially, a slow fashion event.
The dazzling opening night event took place in Stockholm City Hall. The Nobel banquet is held in the building’s Blue Hall; SFC held its dinner upstairs in the Gold Hall, a room decorated with 18 million mosaic pieces in Byzantine style, where earlier this year, Max Mara hosted a fete after showing its Midsummer-inspired collection. The 2023 Swedish Grammi nominees, Johnny and Sammy Bennett of Deki Alem gave a rousing performance before a crowd that included H&M creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson, the activist rapper Silvana Imam, who is currently starring in Hamlet in Stockholm, and Drain Gang’s Ecco2K, who made a cameo at Mowalola for spring 2024. In the golden glow it felt like Stockholm was starting to come alive again.
-ISM (I See Myself), COLLECTIVE FASHION AND EDUCATION
Angelo da Silveira, a Togolese-Swede, has been leading the way, using his brand Die Monde, and his micro factory Atelje Unitex, as platforms to lift up others. That’s an approach also at play at -ISM a collective headed by Banna Kidane, who is a cofounder of Changer’s Fashion, which seeks to provide education and opportunities in the industry. ISM, which stands for I See Myself, is a kind of manifestation. During Fashion X, the brand presented the capsule collection of its first guest designer, Samantha Esfandiari, who will own the rights to the work she made—raw yet fragile minimal pieces in black and white on the brand-set theme of Phantom of the Opera. This was a sartorial amuse bouche, ISM’s first ready-to-wear collection will launch next year.
TUTTOLENTE MAKES A STATEMENT WITH STREETWEAR
Music is also central to the Tuttolente collective, which speaks directly to a new generation, one raised on (Swedish) hip-hop and rap. The brand, which produces mainly hoodies, sweats, and polos with the MT logo (initials that stand for midnight, empty, or something else that one of the founders didn’t want to reveal), fills a gap in a market where local streetwear seems nonexistent. The Tuttolente show included a collaboration with Swedish model Alma Corbic, who has walked for the likes of Bottega Veneta and Christian Dior, and has her own line of air-sprayed garments, Shamo Gear. She left aside the cute characters she often paints to focus on abstract patterns for this project. This is one of several collaborations the model has done with the collective and she was given a free hand to do as she wanted. Asked about how she sees Tuttolente, Corbic had this to say: “I think this style that Tuttolente has, it represents more the style [of] the suburbs—and not only in Swedish suburbs, I would say more in maybe the UK or Marseilles in France. What I like about Tuttolente,” she continued, is that “Sweden is very segregated when it comes to the youth; everyone is divided in groups with styles, like some people are posh, some people are street wear, some people are this, and I like that Tuttolente is a mix of everything. You get confused.”
MAGNIBERG LAUNCHES LOUNGEWEAR
Just in time for cuffing season, Bengt Thornefors and Nina Norgren expanded their bedding line to include some loungewear pieces. Thornefors is an Acne and Saint Laurent alum, and the line up includes lace pajamas, and others made from the same striped cottons as the brand’s sheets, as well as essential slip dresses. Whether these pieces are bar-to-bed or bed-to-bar is up to the wearer.
HODAKOVA HOSTS A HOMECOMING DINNER
One of the points the SFC wanted to make with Fashion X is that fashion’s value is not only related to commerce. “If we’re looking into how we’re going to transform the industry, we need to put fewer garments on the market, and then fashion as an expression and culture will have a bigger impact,” said Rosen. You could see that at work at Ellen Hodakova Larsson’s dinner in the copper tent in Stockholm’s Haga Park that exuded the same kind of medieval fairy-tale charm that the designer was pursuing in her first runway collection for spring 2022.