Sweden has a hugely successful fashion industry where many big players have emerged. There’s also a widespread sense of social responsibility where people make an effort to find out how they can make a difference to the bigger picture.
With all new styles and collections that brands compete to introduce at the Stockholm Fashion Week, beginning this week, we figure out how to ensure socially responsible consumption. Learn about the ethical and environmental responsibility of the brands present at this week’s event.
Like any other business fashion can't ignore the threat of climate change. Thus the Swedish fashion industry invests substantially into research, striving for more sustainable ways to create fashion. Companies have even started to collaborate to find solutions and share their knowledge in order to speed up the progress by using a research programme called Mistra Future Fashion. It strives to implement systematic change towards sustainable fashion. Focusing on design, supply chain, users and recycling. (More info at mistrafuturefashion.com/)
Traditionally, fashion has been defined by change and a desire for constant new designs. However, Swedish brands now also actively work to make sure their creations last longer by choosing ecological and high quality material.
Nevertheless big Swedish fast fashion brands talk about sustainability and at the same time produce a giant pile of new clothes every day. The production of materials, dyeing and finishing them with chemicals and the manufacturing and shipping of the clothes puts a tremendous strain on the environment and consumes vast resources. Workers are placed in unsafe conditions to get the cheapest work possible. The brands also fight textile waste while at the same time producing massive volumes of cheap, easily disposable clothing.
Is fashion becoming fast disposable and cheap?
Fashion cycles are moving faster than ever. Big fashion brands are churning out new styles more frequently. More styles mean more purchases – and that leads to more waste created. Mass produced clothes also become more affordable and therefore attracts buyers to buy more. You probably have those clothes just lying around in your closet, a dress that looked cool for a second costed you next to nothing and you managed to wear it once or twice before it went out of fashion.
Even though brands define themselves as slow-fashion you may wonder how they are contributing to stay sustainable. However you might come across a brand at the Stockholm Fashion Week that is defined as a slow fashion but that only focuses on slower production schedules. Though we are more likely to dispose of cheaper, mass-produced fashion garments than pricier clothes than clothes made in conventional cotton or other unsustainable fabric is still damaging to the environment.
Filippa K and Nudie Jeans good examples
It is obvious that we need a more sustainable textile production and that we need to increase the recovery of clothes. Perhaps future generations will not have the same need to own clothes and will rather choose to rent clothes. We’ve started carpooling which is more environmentally friendly and sustainable way to travel. We believe fashion brands can give consumers an opportunity to share clothes by renting collections and keep their closet updated.
Even though fashion has always been defined by change and constant new design fortunately many companies are now actively working to make sure their garments last longer. Nevertheless designers must put more focus on sustainability. Some brands have parts of their collections in eco-friendly fabrics just to make consumers believe they are contributing to stay sustainable.
As a brand you’ll have to stay committed and have sustainable practices integrated into all parts of the company to become sustainable and ethical company that consumers can trust.
Filippa K is at the forefront among Swedish brands when it comes to integrating sustainability with the company. The brand has pieces from previous seasons rented out, and when they are no longer suitable for leasing, the clothes will be sold second hand.
Nudie Jeans is another example. They repair your old jeans so you don’t have to buy new ones, which challenges the idea that fashion should always be defined in relation to what is new and in style.
How to value brands at the Stockholm Fashion Week?
Even though there has been a leap forward in sustainable fashion over recent years, many sustainable labels still main remain unknown to the general public.
The Stockholm Fashion Week is a great opportunity to get to know newcomers, find socially responsible clothes brands supporting a cause you care for, and that are transparent, use only eco-friendly fabrics and work towards reducing waste.
We would like to see more brands embracing sustainability as part of their core ethos. Everyone in fashion should make it an important part of how the industry runs. Longevity of a garment and less environmental impact starts with brands minimizing offcuts, using eco-friendly fabrics, being less trend driven and more style focused.
It’s not about giving up style, but instead being more aware of the choices we make as consumers, and the brands we choose.
Learn 3 tips to a more sustainable lifestyle
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