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Stockholm Fashion Week’s Catarina Midby talks what to expect and the current Scandi fashion scene

By Rachel Douglass

25 Jan 2022

Fashion

Image: Asket SS22 via Stockholm Fashion Week

As fashion weeks begin to make a steady return to the industry’s schedule, Stockholm is getting ready to do the same, albeit in a slightly compact format than pre-pandemic.

Scheduled to take place February 7 to 9, Stockholm Fashion Week is prepping to present Swedish fashion’s standing in the forefront of sustainability and innovation, with a select number of notable events to take place, from the likes of Filippa K and Arket. Jumping between the physical and digital worlds, the upcoming fashion week is continuing to adapt to the new needs of the always adapting industry.

In a conversation with FashionUnited, Stockholm Fashion Week’s secretary general, Catarina Midby, spoke on what to expect from the event, the current state of Scandinavian fashion and the industry in the post-pandemic world.

What is the focus on for this edition of Stockholm Fashion Week?

For this season of a smaller, covid safe, but a strong edition of SFW we focus on ‘Exploring the New Normal’. Prior to and during these past pandemic years, digitisation has developed six times as fast as before, which has huge effects on how we make, sell, use and reuse fashion. Comfort has become key to what we want to wear and we have spent more time in nature, as well as at home. We haven’t travelled and we haven’t socialised like we used to.

How has the pandemic impacted the Scandinavian fashion scene and its customers?

Like in other parts of the world, we have spent hours online in meetings, shopping, exploring for information and inspiration. We haven’t had to dress up for work or social events, and money has been spent on our homes rather than on holidays and clothes. Now that we are beginning to go back to work, travel and socialise again, we are eager to dress up, but we want to be both comfortable and chic. There is a great focus on health and beauty which also has impact on what we spend our money on. When we go back to the gym or the yoga studio, we are going to want to dress up for that too.

What have been the driving trends that you have noticed among Swedish fashion businesses?

Trends are diverse. Scandi chic, or Swedish style, has historically been about clean-cut fashion essentials - modern, timeless and functional, made sustainably, and many brands offer just that. But equally, there are brands that thrive on colours, shapes and details for a more expressive look. Both are as relevant in the New Normal, it seems. Long-lasting fashion essentials can be both basic and creative, clearly.

How do you think these trends will develop over the coming year?

I think that the greatest change in fashion will be how we consume it rather than what we wear. I think we will choose to buy a part of our wardrobes like before, but we will also, to a much greater extent, buy and sell second hand, rent, swap, update and remake our clothes. Here in Sweden, there are many amazing new brands and companies that work with these alternative, circular business models. I believe this is the future of our industry and with great technology, we can use fashion in a much more responsible way.

What adjustments have you made to this year’s event in line with current restrictions?

Presentations will be digital and physical. Physical events will be smaller and with the Public Health Authorities recommendations in place, vaccine pass requirements, keeping the distance, with no more than 50 people in a room.

Are there any brand concepts and presentations that you are particularly looking forward to?

Presentations will all be different, which, in itself, is exciting. There will be a great variety. It’s hard to say but we are all looking forward to seeing clothes on models again, so perhaps the fashion shows at Stand Studio and the new brand Teurn Studios.

What can we expect from Stockholm Fashion Week in the future?

Stockholm Fashion Week was re-established during the pandemic and so far, we have just tried to adapt to the current needs of our industry. The purpose of Stockholm Fashion Week is to bring together, support and promote Swedish fashion. We want to be flexible and adapt to how things develop and always stay democratic with a strong digital presence so everyone outside of our industry can join the fashion world online.