You're probably well acquainted with Sweden's biggest fashion exports: You have H&M on the affordable end of the spectrum, while cult brand Acne Studios anchors the luxury market. No doubt these empires have become household names in the industry, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for more labels to break through from the impossibly chic Scandinavian country. To find out which brands have what it takes, I made the journey to Fashion Week Stockholm, where more than 20 of the region's most promising labels showcased their F/W 17 collections.
I've already detailed the week's best street style looks (which easily rival London and Paris), but there was plenty of action on the runway too. Offbeat venue choices, a long-awaited designer comeback, and a virtual reality experience all served to spice up the stylish affair.
While the week featured many veteran brands like Rodebjer and Whyred, young creatives were given the chance to stake their claim with Space by RMH, a series of events showcasing emerging streetwear designers. The Swedish music collective, RMH, teamed up with six participating brands for the event: This Is Sweden, Tafari Gold, Stai, Official Gallery, Hi On Life, and Die Monde. The result was an enlightening look at the next generation of talent in the country—and in case there was any doubt, the future of fashion in Sweden is looking very bright.
Scroll down for my take on the buzziest brands of Fashion Week Stockholm!
Rodebjer is a New York Fashion Week regular, but founder and creative director Carin Rodebjer went back to her Swedish roots with a lively show in Stockholm this season. "When I started working on this collection, the first word that came to my mind was 'ursinneskvinnlighet,' furious femininity," she stated in the show notes. "I was inspired by the many women of the past—and today—and their perspectives." With punchy colors and fun patterns, some looks were overtly feminine, while slouchy suits and oversize outerwear gave off a borrowed-from-the-boys vibe. In other words, there was something for everyone in the gorgeous collection.
From American fashion editors to Scandinavian bloggers, Whyred's attendees all hopped on a 15-minute bus ride to the brand's stunning show venue: a historic theater in the outskirts of the city. Although impressive, even the stately surroundings couldn't distract from the stellar clothes that came down the runway. With the Rolling Stones blaring, Whyred presented both its men's and women's collections. I was especially a fan of the expertly tailored outerwear, the fresh riffs on classic prints like plaid and houndstooth, and the unexpected accents like this oversize lace-up detailing.
Johan Lindeberg was the comeback kid of Fashion Week Stockholm. The designer made a triumphant return to his namesake label this season after having departed almost a decade ago. Given the special occasion, Lindeberg opted to give a short speech before the intimate show, which was held at the brand's Stockholm boutique. "J.Lindeberg is a community beyond borders, religion, and politics," he told the audience. "No one needs a passport to be part of our community."
As for the clothes? Let's just say it was well worth the wait for Lindeberg's return. This vivid red pantsuit was a highlight, as was the army green suede trench coat, the biker vest in bright yellow, and the sleek windowpane trousers.
Haal eschewed the typical runway show format for something entirely different: a virtual reality experience held at Stockholm's popular photography center Fotografiska. Guests used VR goggles to see the environments and characters that inspired designer Anders Haal's S/S 17 collection—hint: Burning billboards and cheerleaders were involved. "Through the project, we have been able to express themes in the collection in new ways," Haal said in a press release. "We feel… that the idea of freedom, which is essential for Haal, has come a step further." Thanks to the nontraditional show, Haal had everyone buzzing during Fashion Week Stockholm.
House of Dagmar
Who needs a runway when you have a sleek spiral staircase? House of Dagmar elected to show its F/W 17 collection at the new KTH School of Architecture, where models traipsed up and down the stairs in cozy sweaters, leather skirts, and more.
"Austrian artist Svenja Deininger's abstract paintings provided the starting point for Dagmar's A/W 17 collection," the brand explained in the show notes. "The mix of colors, surfaces, textures and graphic shapes found within her work appeals to the Dagmar woman, a sensual, sophisticated and progressive individual."
Which brand is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!
This press trip was paid for by Fashion Week Stockholm. Editors' opinions are their own.