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Swedish fashion miracle in Warsaw

Before Friday evening last week I had never given a speech on a catwalk. Who knows when it will happen again? If it will.

The reason was the inauguration of the Warsaw Fashion Wekend, this year focused on the “Swedish Fasion Miracle”. Eighteen brands represented. Some very well known, some less well known. But all of them now presenting themselves to the Polish market. The Swedish Trade Council had really done an excellent job together with all partners involved. 

And Friday evening the Polish market was very well represented to say the least. Numbers are hard to estimate, but the audience I saw around the catwalk certainly looked like close to 1000 young Poles in my eyes.

Polish media was there, many of them. One example can be found through this link: http://metromsn.gazeta.pl/Lifestyle/56,126513,12622268,Warsaw_Fashion_Weekend_dzien_pierwszy__co_sie_dzialo_.html

These were some of my reflections in my speech:

“I have realized that people increasingly are talking about a Swedish fashion miracle. I didn’t hear that 25 years ago. But I can hear it and see the visible proof of it today. Export has been booming. Only during the first half of 2012 Swedish fashion export grew by 10 per cent compared to the same period 2011.

We have something to offer. We are presenting this to you with some pride, because we – not least me personally – have started to realize that there is something increasingly exciting coming out of the Swedish creative industries. From well known brands as well as from young promising designers.  And it is reflecting a significant tendency that creative and innovative branches of the economy – like design in its broadest sense – are there, are Swedish, are competitive and are successful. 

I will not try to characterize it to you. You should see for yourself.  But please note that the development of Swedish fashion is taking place in an environment that is increasingly conducive to creative and innovative thinking. We have a lot of universities  in this area. We have many fashion bloggers. We host two major fashion weeks every year. And promoting the creative branches of the economy, including fashion, is now highlighted and prioritized even by the Swedish Government.

But additionally. What you meet here today isn’t only examples of what some call a Swedish miracle.

It is also and perhaps mostly the result of days, weeks, months and years of tireless efforts by creative individuals. Governments can’t create creativity. They can ruin it. Or they can nurture an enabling environment. I believe the latter is what has taken place in Sweden.

But the results are the results of individuals, groups of creative people, private companies. Women and men. Testing new avenues. Breaking new ground.

That is what is taking place in open societies where individuals are allowed to be themselves, to be different, to be controversial and to think outside the box.”

Was it successful? I believe so. I was told that there were more visitors than during previous occasions these first hours of the weekend. And my wife Karin loved every minute of it, for sure.

Me too. Fashion might not be my specialty but this was a very memorable experience.  Swedish fashion is something to be proud of. That was quite clear both from the stands and from the catwalk (before and after I had left it…).


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