Thursday, February 04, 2010

Swedish Fashion Industry

How big is the Swedish fashion trade?
Probably bigger than we think.

In 2008, the controversial Swedish fashion miracle employed almost 34,000 persons. According to statistics from the Swedish Textile and Clothing Industries’ Association, in the same year, Swedes consumed fashion for 75.1 billion SEK, and exports were over 11 billion. Compared with 2003, this is an increase in exports of almost 100 per cent.
Good figures, but the fact is that the reality is far better than the statistics. Statistics Sweden (SCB) only includes goods in the Swedish fashion exports that are either produced in Sweden or cross Swedish borders before going back out into the world. Today, however, fashion is more about creativity and design skill than actual production. This makes the definition we see in the statistics obsolete. The fact is that in 2008, H&M alone, whose designers are based in Stockholm, sold fashion abroad for more than 96 billion SEK, and it is far from alone in letting its goods bypass Swedish borders.
Since 2008, the world has experienced a serious financial crisis. The fashion trade has been hardhit. Fashion houses ranging from the long-established Lacroix to the independent Luella have gone into liquidation. The Swedish trade has suffered its fair share: fashion producers have seen sales fall and big shopping centres have closed down. As we point out in our article on Swedish fashion
in the recession, however, many companies have chosen to invest their way out of the crisis – and some have had their best results ever.
This applies from a financial perspective as well as on a creative level. Swedish designers have
matured. Today, the collections have a stronger profile and are more fashionable, which has led to an ever-clearer impact abroad. At the same time, craft skills and cost-consciousness are greater than ever. The Swedish fashion industry has also established itself as a cutting-edge trade in terms of the environment and social issues.
In 2009, the trade realised that opportunities for continued success required co-operation, and for the first time it formed a joint organisation, the Association of Swedish Fashion Brands (ASFB).
The goal is to develop the Swedish fashion industry nationally as well as internationally.
This year’s Fashion Week by Berns is the ninth in a row and has its strongest line-up since the start of the recession. This season includes Hope, Whyred and The Local Firm. We also welcome back Filippa K and Acne, and look forward to Cheap Monday and Carin Wester, among others. Above all, the belief in the Swedish fashion trade is greater than for a very long time. Talking about a miracle no longer feels like an exaggeration, and it is at Fashion Week by Berns 2010 that we will build on our blue and yellow miracle.
Original text: BON supplement in Dagens Industri

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