Hope, a brand that won the prestigious Guldknappen (Golden button) award last year, this season decided to make do without a catwalk. One of the designers, Stefan Söderberg, told me at the presentation of their collection film, that after their old school show a year ago at Dramaten (the royal theatre) – with the designers themselves describing the clothes in front of a selection of journalists – they didn’t want to go back to doing a normal catwalk presentation. It just didn’t seem very fun anymore.
Instead they opted for a different approach. First of all, a movie. Secondly, they decided to work with non-professional models, ordinary people instead of the ubiquitous teenage girl mafia.
Doing something along these lines is tricky. After all, there’s a reason why designers use models. Ordinary people can look awkward or just not cool enough. But I think it worked here, maybe because Hope isn’t a brand that does sexy and skimpy dresses, but rather whose roots lie in outerwear.
I also think they are very adept at incorporating some kind of Swedishness into their collections, but with the movie they also show that their idea of Swedishness is very open and inclusive as the crew of the film’s ship come from different backgrounds and age groups.
These issues are very much discussed in the fashion community at the moment, as there seems to be a certain fatigue with “too thin” and “too young” models. In Sweden – with a history of fashion bashing – legitimate concerns over the lack of diversity in fashion sometimes become a way for people to express their own mixed feelings regarding clothes and the beauty industry. But what I do like about fashion media in Sweden is this vibrant debate. People often complain about the lack of criticism in Swedish fashion, and I agree that there is too little of it. But you cannot say that there is a lack of debate. It shows that people are engaged and concerned and that they have an idea and a vision of what fashion could be – if only it followed slightly different rules. I love this about our small fashion scene – and the only time I object and protest is when debate turns into censorship and righteousness.