While many people’s first introduction to Swedish fashion may be browsing through the racks at the nearest H&M, the country also touts a host of other trendsetting brands. In fact, Sweden’s fashion industry has been growing in importance in the last decade, and now employs more people than the steel industry.
In January, the culture and trade ministers crowed about the growth of an industry that is oft-touted as a cornerstone of the country’s export-dependent economy.
“In 2001, fashion turned over 206 billion kronor ($32 billion), of which 60 percent was export. Fashion is as such an important industry in terms of Swedish export and employment,” ministers Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth and Ewa Björling wrote.
“The fashion scene today holds everything from big commercial companies to avant garde expressions that border on art. Its continued success hinges on being able to use and give space to creativity and originality.”
Putting up a short list of must-know designers is no easy task, as there are tonnes of brands and creative hot houses that deserve a mention, such as Nudie, Whyred, Hope, Rodebjer, V Avenue Shoe Repair, and Altewai Saome, to name a few. This list, however, focuses on already establish heavy-hitters.
As a stepping stone to learning more, however, we thought it best to start with a few iconic names, not all of whom may be “household names” to the average reader, but who nevertheless play a leading role on the vanguard of contemporary Swedish fashion.