From emerging designers to established names.
The fashion industry loves sustainability as a distant concept, but when it comes to the tenets of what makes a fashion brand truly sustainable things become increasingly opaque. Enter: Stockholm Fashion Week, where sustainability was seen not only as a talking point, but a source of inspiration and pride throughout each collection. It was present in the designs, among the conversations, and within the overall solution-oriented veneer that blanketed the three-day event.
It began at Stockholm Fashion Week’s “Fashion Future’s Talk,” which invited industry leaders throughout the world into a room (many virtually) to discuss where we’ve come from, where we’re at, and what lies ahead — all while we’re still reeling from the ongoing pandemic. Just how bad are things? Anita Balchandi, partner at McKinsey London, shared statistics that refused to sugarcoat the ongoing hemorrhaging of the fashion industry. The most startling: Economic profits across the globe were down 93% in 2020. The future remains grim as fashion’s challenges will persist and likely accelerate post-COVID.
In that sense, the tone of Stockholm Fashion Week, one of the first major in-person fashion weeks since the onset of COVID-19 in March of 2020, was more subdued than optimistic. Quite frankly, it would have felt bizarre to resume with “business as usual” given the climate. It did not lack optimism, however, choosing a more pragmatic approach to addressing problems that many in the industry refuse to face head on.
Was there room for joy? That’s where the clothes came in. Ahead, meet Stockholm Fashion Week Spring 2022’s best crop of emerging and established designers who chose to see the future as an opportunity to double down on their mission-based work of building a better world through fashion.
Schnayderman’s is a menswear brand “for the weird and wonderful.” One of the brand’s biggest mantras is creating garments that are able to not only stand the test of time, but get better the more they are worn. In the past, entire collections were solely made from upcycled fabrics and accessories. Spring 2022’s offerings, titled “In Transit,” grew out of Creative Director Hampus Bernhoff’s feeling of being in limbo since the pandemic hit. (Relatable.) “Up until COVID-19 things were moving so fast and when everything turned to a sudden halt, it was difficult to have that busy mindset in a surrounding where everything stood still,” he says. “We injected that state of mind in the collection and created clothing that reminded us of a life in motion with airy silhouettes, washed-out colors, and appliqués and embroideries that capture the traces of movement. We always build the collection with garments that are building blocks in a contemporary wardrobe that can cater for a wide range of occasions — timeless staples with a point of view.”
One of the most eagerly anticipated shows at Stockholm Fashion Week, celebrated menswear brand Lazoschmidl debuted its first-ever womenswear collection in collaboration with designer Ana Hernández. The collection, titled “Overdose, One More Time,” was an updated version of the Spring 2022 range that designers Josef Lazo and Andreas Schmidl debuted in Paris earlier this summer. The looks, which featured the brand’s signature butterfly scrunched bodices, serve as commentary on e-commerce culture, with pieces emblazoned with slogans like “I’m Your ROI” and “Pre Order Now.”
“The intention was really just to surprise the people attending and giving them something extra,” says Lazo. “We already have a female fanbase including celebrities, so to make something unique and present it on a woman felt fun,” adds Schmidl.
Practicality meets punk. That’s the concept behind Iggy Jeans, the brainchild of 19-year-old Ingrid “Iggy” Berg, who designs her looks both on new and vintage denim. She started painting on jeans for fun during her teens before meeting with orjanandersson (a denim brand owned by one of the Cheap Monday founders), where Örjan Andersson himself asked her if she wanted to collab. She said yes, and in 2017, after debuting a 10-piece collection together, spun off onto her own and made her official Stockholm Fashion Week debut a year later. The Spring 2022 unisex collection features an array of hand-painted denim, ranging in colors from white to black to red. The models traipsed the runway topless with tightly wrapped duct tape covering the female’s nipples with the brand’s signature logo on it.
Few designers have as much poise and a clear point of view as self-taught, Togolese-Swedish designer Angelo da Silveira, whose latest collection for his clothing label Diemonde combines streetwear with Swedish minimalism. The collection, or “concept,” as Silveira describes it, will officially debut in Paris at the Swedish Institute of Culture during Paris Fashion Week, but we were treated to a preview of what he describes as Diemonde’s best drop yet, as it sums up the brand identity perfectly by balancing contrast.
So what is it? “This collection speaks to the idea of a Heterotopian place, which is a fantasy space in the real world. For us, that describes the Diemonde mindset, community, and world. The collection is an invitation to the Diemonde world, a fantasy space in a real imperfect world,” says Silveira. Among the standout details of the showroom visit was the designer’s sketches for the collection, which appear throughout the room on dining room plates. Asked for his favorite among the bunch, he points to a cropped trench coat and orange short-sleeve lounge shirt and matching shorts. Simply delicious.
Presenting a form of masculinity that somehow feels gender-ambivalent is a hard line to walk, but CDLP, co-founded by besties Andreas Palm and Christian Larson, does it with finesse and a low-key bravada that feels downright endearing. Founded in 2016 as a luxury underwear brand, the company has grown to encompass underwear, tops, swimwear, performance, and homewares. There’s a reason Vogue called the brand “the best men’s underwear in the world,” and it’s because of the attention to quality and fit. Avoiding the seasonal model, CDLP releases new products whenever the designers see fit. Right now, it’s all about fitness.
“This season we have expanded the line essentials developed for pre- and post- workout,” says Larson. “There is a lot of tight fit activewear already existing. In our design, we referenced athletic nostalgia, to interpret a silhouette that is relaxed and a bit boxy, supported by robust, heavyweight terry fabrics.”
Stylein is considered one of the most established brands in Stockholm — the hand-tailored label launched in 2001 by Elin Alemdar — but to leave it off of any fashion list feels criminal. “I think it’s a bit tricky to describe Stylein since it’s such a fundamental part of who I am today and have been for the past 20 years,” she says. “What I do know is that I’m very true to my core, and the Stylein DNA has stayed consistent, not ‘jumping on’ temporary trends. I have always aimed to inspire women to invest in fashion that will last over seasonal trends, yet presenting contemporary designs for a modern, demanding consumer who doesn’t settle easily.”
Alemdar describes the Spring 2022 collection as warm Scandinavian minimalism; tailored with a feminine and sensual silhouette. “I really love the monochrome color palette with deep cream, beige, and taupe tones together with a more graphic black and white patterns,” she says. “The summer part of the collection is more vibrant featuring bolder shapes and showing some skin, but still very sophisticated using exclusive qualities with a perfect fit.”
House of Dagmar
House of Dagmar holds wearability as a principle to its designs. It’s less about the see-and-be-seen nature of fashion and more about picking up the kids from school or biking or weathering a snowstorm. “Still, you want to look nice, so we try to make wearable clothes that are still interesting enough to be modern and inspiring,” says Sofia Wallenstam, one of the co-founders of the brand. She, along with Karin Söderlind and Kristina Tjäder were finalists for the first Zalando Sustainability Award at Copenhagen Fashion Week earlier this year.
Though the brand has been around since 2015, the designer trio view their latest collection as an emergence of sorts, out of the home where so many have spent the better part of the last 18 months and back into the world. “We wanted to make clothes that are not only going to last a long time in your wardrobe, but also designs that are interesting for many years to come and that you don’t feel are out of fashion in a few months,” adds Wallenstam. “Following trends is not very important to us.”