Stockholm hosts one-of-a-kind fashion event

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Stockholm hosts one-of-a-kind fashion event
Amanda Westerbom/

“How can the fashion industry teach the consumer to recycle?” asked Paula von Wachenfeldt, Head of Studies at Stockholm University’s Centre for Fashion Studies and one of the organizers of the conference.

The question was one of many taken up at the Global Fashion Conference, which brought together hundreds of scholars and fashion industry representatives at Stockholm University on October 21-22 to explore the interplay between fashion and society.

With a strong tradition of design and fashion country, and as home to many globally influential companies and designers such as H&M, Filippa K, Acne Studions, and Cheap Monday, Sweden and Stockholm have a lot to offer anyone interested in learning more about fashion industry trends and challenges.

Indeed, researchers at Stockholm University have been studying fashion for more than a decade, von Wachenfeldt explained.

“We study the social impact fashion has on the surrounding society, and fashion as the medium for individual and group expression,” she added.

“This conference was the first time luxury was represented in an academic context.”

Organized in collaboration with Institut Français de la Mode in France and Universidade Lusíada do Porto in Portugal, the conference served as an international forum for discussion among academics and practitioners on a range of topics, including fashion, luxury, technology, sustainability and Stockholm as a Nordic fashion tech capital.

Viivi Laakkonen, a Stockholm University international master’s student from Kotka in southeast Finland, praised the conference for its impressive range speakers and topics.

“It’s exciting to be able to hear so much about luxury and fashion,” she said.

Laakkonen added that the Global Fashion Conference demonstrated Sweden’s leading position in the fashion industry, which was an important factor – along with the city’s beauty – in her decision to come to Stockholm University to pursue a graduate degree in fashion studies.

“I did fall in love with Stockholm. But I also believe there is great knowledge here in fashion and marketing, as well as some very good international brands,” she explained.

Before her studies in Stockholm, Laakkonen studied textile clothing engineering and fashion design. For her, fashion studies at Stockholm University was a perfect next step as she works to build a career in the fashion industry.

“If I have my own brand one day, this will be a great experience,” she said.

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Stockholm University. 

Photos: Anna-Karin Landin