Non-hierarchic teamwork was the prevailing message from Swedish contemporary Fashion Scene

Det stora FIT-auditoriet fylldes snabbt upp av studenter, journalister och fashionistas från New York  – och förstås en massa svenskar boende i New York – när den imponerande panelen samlades på scenen för att berätta om vad som är karaktäristiskt för svenskt mode idag. Ingrid Giertz-Mårtenson modererade proffsigt och vant, gav en bakgrund till modeutvecklingen, Mikael Schiller använde hela sin charm och berättade om den unika Acne-storyn, Margareta van den Bosch, presenterade på sitt lågmälda sätt H&M:s otroliga expansionsplaner och framgångståg runt världen samt företagets grundfilosofi. Lena Patriksson, ordförande i ASFB presenterade tendenser och märken från de sista femton åren, och de kommande generationerna och vad som är utmärkande. Generalkonsulatet i New York, med Niklas Arnegren och Melinda Martino hade gjort ett fantastiskt förbarbete och t o m lyckats få in en blänkare om seminariet i New York Times, och mer på väg. Publiken, härlig New York-blanding, ställde förstås en massa frågor, och särskilt många om hur företagen i Sverige arbetar med sustainability, där alla svarade att det var en nödvändighet för att överleva och bli konkurrenskraftig idag, vare sig man valde att kommunicera det till kunderna eller ej.

There is no doubt that H&M has played an important role as plant school, and inspiration to many of the younger designers and brands, which have developed during the last 15 years. We are a small country, but despite this, some have made it really big globally like H&M, IKEA, Volvo, which showed that it is possible, was a comment from Mikael Schiller the executive chairman of Acne Studios, when he presented the unique Acne story, a company starting from creative chaos and now has grown into one of our most successful international brands worldwide. He talked about the importance of being passion driven, at the same time as they have learned to be (very much thanks to his entry into the company) very structured when it comes to production and logistics. “Our philosopy is to make amazing products, things we would like to have and wear ourselves”. Margareta van den Bosch, for many years the influential Design Director of H&M, told the H&M story from the first store opening in Västerås in 1947, to the expansio of 2,700 stores around the world, latest opened recently in Mexico City. She will stay in New York for a few days to attend the opening of a new New York shop in connection with presenting the much-talked-about collaboration with Martin Margiela, and she was also wearing one of the dresses this evening. Lena Patriksson, chairman of the Association of Swedish Fashion Brands gave a brief introduction to past 15 years’ delvelopment the pioneers (many of them starting out as young designers at H&M), the present generation and the new generation, a multicultural individual mix, reflecting the shifts in society. She emphasized three charatceristics of Swedish Fashion: 1) Accessible in prize and style – Lagom, just right, simple not plain. 2) freedom – we don’t have a strong fashion heritage to relate to, which creates a freedom to have a contemporary cool outlook 3) Society has changed tremendously in the past few years, every forth Sweden comes from another country, and the fashion styles today show a large diversity. YET, all of them stressed the non-hierarcial and democratic environment, the importance of teamwork, and of course today the importance of sustainable long lasting business plans – and sustainability, environmental and social,  was on top of the agenda of the many questions asked by the audience this evening.