A new platform called Swedish Fashion Now launched on Thursday at Paris Fashion Week, in an effort to increase the wider industry’s familiarity with Swedish labels. It’s part of Sweden’s government-led initiative called Swedish Design Moves. Launched in 2017, it’s geared toward boosting international awareness — not just for fashion, but interior and architectural design, as well.
The Paris platform brings together eight Swedish clothing and accessories designers within a temporary showroom space at Paris’s Swedish Institute, where top editors and buyers from across the world can come familiarize themselves with the brands. Participants on view include ATP Atelier, Back, Cornelia Webb, Diana Orving, House of Dagmar, Hope, Little Liffner and Sun Buddies by Très Bien.
A look from Diana Orving’s spring/summer 2018 collection
Brands must submit an application and pay a small, undisclosed fee to take part in the project, though initiative partners including Air France and UPS cover the costs of their airfare and any deliveries necessary. The selection criteria itself is vague, though the company is particularly keen on expanding the notion that Swedish design is simply minimalist.
“That’s the greatest misconception,” said Emma Ohlson, the secretary general of the Association of Swedish Fashion Brands, the government arm which runs the project. “As with many countries, we have an abundance of cultures and inspirations.”
Indeed, the brands involved push the limits of that stereotype, with those including Back and Little Liffner known for their vibrant prints and use of color.
Although some of these brands are sold internationally on e-commerce sites like Net-a-porter (ATP Atelier, Cornelia Webb), The Line (ATP Atelier) and Need Supply (Little Liffner, Sun Buddies), getting product in front of people is still important, said Ohlson. While international editors and buyers increasingly flock to Fashion Week Stockholm, which takes place twice a year in February and August, bringing designers to one of the most renowned fashion weeks can’t be beat in terms of building awareness, she added.
To deck out the showrooms — which are open until October 1 — they’ve kept it in the family, so to speak. The overall look was designed by the award-winning architecture firm White Arkitekter, complete with lighting by Wästbergs, furniture by Massproductions and Ogeborg, and surround sound by Urbanears — all of which are Swedish.
Bags from Little Liffner’s spring/summer 2018 collection
“We want to add another dimension to an established arena for some of the world’s most prominent designers,” said Ohlson. “Our aim is to give visiting industry folk a piece of Sweden right in the heart of Paris, exploring the globally renowned Swedish design aesthetic we are so known for.”
According to Jonas Clason, the co-founder of ATP Atelier, the program’s timing allows for the perfect mix of local connection and global reach. “We can reach the local audience — and the French market is growing for us — and also a bigger international crowd,” he said.