The Nordic fashion and design weeks have come to an end, the first time as full-on digital operations. The summer edition of Stockholm Design Week was cancelled last August, and Copenhagen Fashion Week pulled off a semi-physical hybrid the same month. Now, a year into the pandemic and four months into the second wave, it’s time to analyze how the shift to digital is affecting the traditional show setup.
What can we learn from the recently completed digital industry gatherings?
Well, the biggest shift is that the trade shows and fashion weeks are now media brands in their own right, whether they like it or not. The organizations that previously had a business model to provide space and schedule for exhibitions and shows are now hosting their own television talks shows. They are distributing films and other content on their websites that ultimately competes for the same attention as any other media platform.
(The running joke is that we used to go to a fashion or design week to look at products. Now we are in a never-ending panel talk about sustainability.)
I’m not here to review how Stockholm Fashion Week and Stockholm Design Week fared as digital talk shows. If anything, I think they have done a good job pivoting to an online only format compared to many international counterparts. But it is obvious that this shift has put enormous pressure on organizations that aren’t used to creating content, moderating conversations, and maintaining editorial balance and structure.
Long term, if trade shows and fashion weeks won’t get their physical groove back, arguably their most unique and relevant selling point, they will see competition coming from the media space.
”The running joke is that we used to go to a fashion or design week to look at products. Now we are in a never-ending panel talk about sustainability.”
The international design platform Dezeen recently launched a digital showroom as a ”ideal launchpad for furniture and lighting companies, designers and retailers”. The streetwear authority Highsnobiety is organizing its own version of Paris fashion week, called Not in Paris, a “bi-annual digital exhibition celebrating creativity in the age of remote interactions”, held during the “time period formerly known as Paris Men’s Fashion Week”.
If a trade show with a few thousand people on their email list will need to compete with media platforms with millions of followers, it will be a tough fight.
My hot tip: find innovations in immersive technologies like AR and VR to heighten the digital experience, something we see much to little of. (To learn more, listen to this week’s podcast episode with Emma Ridderstad.)
For Scandinavian MIND, the jump to digital has made us busier than ever. We are currently producing content and moderating talks for both PROJECT Show in New York City and Pitti Uomo in Florence. Expect to see more of this content in our channels in the coming weeks.
Finally, I just want to thank everyone that listened in on the Scandinavian MIND room on Clubhouse last Friday, where we discussed this very topic. Daniel Lindström, the host of Stockholm Fashion Week, and Sanna Åkerlund Gebeyehu, responsible for Stockholm Design Week, weighed in with frontline insights.
Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on upcoming Clubhouse sessions and digital panel talks.
Soulland: The book vol.001 Chapter 6: Time, our tyrant
Striving to push fashion forward by promoting open-mindedness, responsible production, and freedom in creativity, Soulland showed their fourth womenswear collection. Usually known for their spectacular show locations, this season was shown at their office, for obvious reasons. Inspired by books and their ability to create a world in the reader’s mind, the FW21 collection, titled ”Time, Our Tyrant”, is the first in a coming ”trilogy”, about the conception of time and the acceptance of losing control. We see it in the graphics, while the rest of the collection represents the clean yet unique design that’s Soulland is known for.
During Copenhagen Fashion Week, the brand introduced their Stage collection as the latest iteration of their well-known fashion pop-up concept, GANNI KIOSK. Creative Director Ditte Reffstrup wanted to champion young local talent and worked in collaboration with Copenhagen artist and costume designer, Nanna Bernholm, who created custom-made pieces, centred around the eclectic aesthetic of a musician’s stage looks. Nanna set out to design the collection responsibly reusing and reworking existing styles and fabrics from the brand’s previous collections. It consists of 26 styles, a selection of unique pieces that have been embroidered, spray painted, and embellished by hand. Standout styles include a rhinestone-encrusted cone bra leather jacket, a two-tone sequin denim jacket, hand-painted flame boots and more.
— This season, we wanted to create a ”stage collection” to mark the energy of the live performance and our love for music. I thought back to watching MTV and concerts when I was a teen. Think iconic looks from David Bowie, Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour, or a sprinkle of Elton John sequins. We were inspired by the transformative power of fashion and how when you walk out on stage, you can be anyone, says Reffstrup.
The Stage collection will be available to rent in Denmark and the United Kingdom on GANNI Repeat.
Copenhagen Fashion Week unveils the first Sustainability Report
This is the first year of Copenhagen Fashion Week’s 2020-2022 sustainability action plan. The plan is set out to incur far-reaching and long term changes in the fashion industry. One year ago, the organization announced that fashion brands will have to comply with minimum standards and obtain a minimum at the point scale measured in a sustainability survey in order to be able to show at the official schedule in 2023. The action plan has reached several important milestones in creating more transparency of fashion brands and creating change. Looking ahead, the goal is to gather more industry actors around the same sustainability vision and a similar framework and methodology for creating change.
The well-deserved winner of the first Sustainability Award was rewarded for their high sustainability ambitions embedded in many parts of the brand’s supply chain. House of Dagmar received a financial prize alongside a partnership with Zalando. The two players will develop an exclusive collection that will continue to explore sustainability solutions in design across materials, production processes, technological solutions, and traceability.
Schnayderman’s: The Outsiders
Opening the week was Stockholm-based Schnayderman’s with fictional fashion show ”The Outsiders”. The collection is inspired by Francis Coppola’s film, carrying the same name, Philippe Petit’s high wire routine between the Twin Towers in 1974, Salvation Mountain in California as well as outsider artists such as Howard Finster.
While the shirt remains the brand’s core category, the collection contains a wide range of outerwear and a growing selection of knitwear and jersey items along with design-driven wardrobe-essentials. Included in the latter is their first denim fit — not your ordinary five-pocket jean, but a denim and cargo pant hybrid, made of 100% organic cotton.
Marimekko’s seasonless conceptual film
As mentioned, this year marks Marimekko’s 70th anniversary of printmaking. This was celebrated with a conceptual fashion film, instead of a seasonal collection, to point out the brand’s timelessness. The film presented seven revisited archetype dresses and ten prints, resulting in a beautiful interplay of light, shape, and colour. To point out the timelessness, no new clothes were made for the FW21 collection and no pieces from any specific collections were used. Instead, silhouettes and prints from the beginning of the brand were used.
Nynne: Women for Women
Nynne was built around the idea of empowering women and the aesthetics combine Scandinavian simplicity with the bold colours and vibrant personas of London.
While the SS21 collection played tribute to the softer features and gentle expressions of women, Nynne continues its quest for FW21 to create a community of extraordinary women lifting one another up; Women For Women.
— NYNNE has to be for all women. The garments we make have to be wearable but also inspire. I have always admired women who are fighting for what they want and I always look to classic suiting and power dressing as a starting point. For me, it’s about taking strong looks and lightening them. Subsequently encouraging more women to harness their feminine power without dressing like a man, says founder and designer Nynne Kunde.
The collection is made with an earthy colour palette with neutral tones on fabrics such as organic cotton, recycled wool, velvet, and leather. Instead of traditional models, the founder chose to use nine women that personally impress her to front the campaign for the collection.
Designers’ Nest award show 2021
The Designers’ Nest award show featured ten finalists — all graduates from Nordic design schools — and their graduate works. This year’s award was given to Aalto University BA graduate student Idaliina Friman. The jury stated that the winning collection was impressive on several notes, with visually striking silhouettes, accomplished tailoring, an elegant grasp of historic references, and multifaceted fashion commentary. The designer used recovered and recycled materials in her collection which shows sensibility and awareness of today’s society and fashion industry. Included in the prize is 50.000 DKK to support her work. Designers’ Nest also handed out a joint exhibition prize and an internship at Bottega Veneta in Milan to fellow Aalto student Arttu Åfeldt.
Wood Wood: Rendezvous
The contemporary fashion and lifestyle brand showcased a fashion film for their FW21 collection, with characters running through the city of Copenhagen’s concrete landscape and ”seeking to connect”. Entitled ”Rendezvous”, the film reflects Wood Wood’s concept as a sub-cultural lifestyle brand that combines style with function. Co-founder and creative director Karl-Oskar Olsen explains:
— We wanted to present a cinematic universe, reflecting on the now, where uncertainty is overruled by instinct. The concept reflects upon Wood Wood almost twenty years after our founding, and it can be described as the first rendezvous with the future version of Wood Wood.
H&M Studio: Treasure Forever
This season, H&M Studio showed at Copenhagen Fashion Week for the first time, on a digital runway presentation. The ”Treasure Forever” collection for this spring is inspired by adventures and treasure-seeking explorers. A majority of the materials used to craft the pieces are sustainably sourced. The line contains neutral tones alongside coral red, electric blue, and bright yellow representing the sand, sea, and treasures.
Also, for the first time, H&M invited customers to discover pieces from past collections. The exclusive selection from the archive will be available in two stores from this week, in Stockholm and Berlin, as well as on second-hand webshop Sellpy for customers in Sweden, The Netherlands, Austria, and Germany.