One way to get to know a country’s fashion scene is by reading the publications that come out of it. And with that I mean both magazines and books.
Back in the day, there used to be a magazine called Stockholm New, which turned more and more into a fashion publication as the years passed, but it is now defunct. There was also Bibel, the fashion mag that in many ways ignited interest in fashion in Sweden and made it “hip”. Had they been out today I would’ve told you to get a hold of them.
So what is out there these days? There are the big titles such as Swedish Elle, which together with Damernas Värld (and especially their “fashion only” title DV mode, which comes out three times a year) form the commercial nexus of Swedish fashion media. Perhaps we should add Plaza Magazine to this mix, which during the last decade has been constantly rising in stature.
These days, I mainly work with Bon Magazine, a quarterly magazine in Sweden and a biannual one internationally. I also write for Rodeo Magazine’s website and they are also doing a biannual these days, in Swedish though.
The closest we have to a Stockholm New would have to be Stockholm S/S/A/W which catalogues the collections each season.
When it comes to books there are a couple of books in Swedish that might be interesting, should you be able to read it. For a good overview of Swedish fashion writing, try Sexton svenska texter om mode, an anthology of 16 fashion articles, including two by yours truly.
Susanne Pagold used to write about fashion for Dagens Nyheter, the main morning paper in Sweden, and she wrote a book called De långas sammansvärjning (The conspiration of the tall), which is a very interesting time document when it comes to the slightly defensive and negative tone people used to employ when writing about fashion before the Noughties. For a counterpoint, Martina Bonnier’s Fashionista is a style guide from the editor-in-chief of Damernas Värld, and earlier this year, Sofia Hedström, my colleague at Svenska Dagbladet, released Modemanifestet: de stilsmartas handbok, a book about a global movement for using clothes more responsibly.
There are obviously photography books as well. Thomas Klementsson is a friend of mine but also a brilliant photographer and I wrote the foreword to his book Arkiv. Currently I’ve just rounded up work on a forthcoming book by Carl Bengtsson who has been working since the Seventies – photographs will be exhibited at Röhsska museet in Göteborg in September. These are only two recent ones. I could add the upcoming book with Chanel clothes and Nordic models which has been produced by Peter Farago and Ingela Klemetz Farago, and which also will spawn an exhibition at Fotografiska, opening on July 1.
So far I haven’t written a book myself, partly because I’ve never really been interested in writing a style guide or anything else that is supposedly commercial enough. But who knows, things might change… I did have a good idea the other day, but I’m not promising anything.