ABOUT SWENSK, AUSTRALIA
Swensk, Australia, a Swedish multi-brand store, was launched on 230 Little Collins Street, in the heart of Melbourne, Australia June 2008. The planning started 3 years earlier with the goal of creating a new view of values in corporate responsibility. Our ambition is to open stores around the world supplying creative people with a uniform and a lifestyle of collaborations that can change the world. Big words we know but why not go all the way. Life is to short for regrets.
Swensk, Australia Pty Ltd is responsible for managing the on-line shop SWENSK.COM/SHOP. For more information about Swensk, please visit swensk.com. The products are distributed from the Swensk 230 Little Collins store in Melbourne, Australia.
A MINIMALISTIC APPROACH TO MULTI-FUNCTIONAL PRODUCTS
Slow fashion does equal sustainable fashion. Swensk does not involve it self into the dimension of manufacturing but we do know that it is a high priority among our brands that we stock. And so they should. So what role does a retailer have? Well, we like to say that we provide need products, not want products*** and this is our product strategy.
For Swensk we have two approaches to Slow Fashion: 1) Provide designs that last longer then the trends. 2) Quality fabrics and manufacturing.
Provide designs that last longer than the trends**
This is a natural state of being among Swedish designers. If you want to know more read it here. But lets talk about the Swensk way of choosing stock at the buying sessions. Even though we are only stocking Swedish labels it is not a value set in stone. It just works as a design safe guard*. The criteria for being stocked in our store are many, but we can name a few. Firstly we divide our labels between platform labels (70%) and up and coming labels (30%). To be a platform label you need to be; an international label (at least in 20 countries or more), have been around for at least 10 years (manufacturing) and aims for a target
2) Multi-functional fashion (**)
3) Reorder anonymous styles that we know works in fit and quality (***)
Quality fabrics and manufacturing
We trust all our brands that they take responsibility for the fabrics, craftsmanship and ethical responsibilities. We take responsibility from there and we call it our Slow Fashion-service. An easy way to explain our view on service is to use an example from the real world. Manufacturers of today produce products that works just long enough for the customer not to being disappointed when it breaks, but happy enough to buy it from the same supplier. In theory they will not make money on thing that lasts. This is not the future of global awareness. We need to find business models that are built on selling added value rather than making use of resources cheaper. And we think they got it right before mass-production and cost-effectiveness was the new black. Then it was called honour and responsibility for what leaves the store. We call it our Concierge service. And you will find out what it entails on an everlasting added value philosophy on customer.swensk.com
YOU ONLY HAVE TO STOP. AND LISTEN.
For Swensk people are more important than fashion. Having said that we also understand that clothes are a necessity for many reasons. And that’s where Swensk and Swedish fashion comes in – effortless clothing for a “metropolitan curiosity” lifestyle.
Super youth and the Black Collar Worker
Our customer is what Swensk defines as a “Super Youth”. It’s a 25-65 year old individual that has made an impact on the world experience-wise. Many of these people can be found in creative professions like media, advertising, architecture, marketing, web and young business entrepreneurs. You can also find them in other businesses but the common factor that connects them all is a metropolitan lifestyle, a refined taste of quality rather than quantity, and a rock’n’roll view on life and living.
The Scandinavian aesthetics, or the Swedish to be more accurate, has been catering for this target group since our beginning. The Thinker. The Serious. The Functional. The Independent. The Big Brother. The Neutral. The Introvert. The Loyal. The Accurate. The loving. The Selfish. The Adventurous. The Equal. The Distant. The Honest.
Design curated for a metropolitan curiosity lifestyle
We have curated Swensk’s main collections with this customer in mind. Bound by a minimalistic approach to design and
attention to quality and cuts, these international labels have at least 10 years manufacturing experience. All our brands are born out of the same culture but with distinct differences in their souls. Together they give Swensk’s customers enough choices to keep their individuality despite the minimalistic aesthetics. All with the same outcome – to be dressed for every occasion life throws at you during the day.
Why we catering for these people is because we are those people. The business model was based on the lack of offerings for people that had other things to do than keep up with trends and fashion. Swensk strives to connect with these people – like-minded creative people that has the need to change their own world foremost and if they are lucky – others.
If you recognise yourself in what you just read you are a part of 10% of the population that will not grow old and have and the vision to prove it. And when you do so you want clothes that highlight your achievements rather than the brands. And if you would to be in our store for one day, you would find it inspirational just to listen to our customers. People who takes risks and throw themselves out in the world with no fear and no regrets. Just like Thobias picture above. After all, those are our customers. Interesting people, that is.
SCANDINAVIAN AESTHETICS AND OUR DESIGN HERITAGE
Swensk do not disagree with trends. Its what takes us people to the next level. Its what makes individuality and personality tangible. It is a lifeline for creative people and it should be celebrated as such. But that is not what we focus on. Unless it is multi-functional, timeless, sophisticated, humble, unisex or any other of our slow fashion values. Many of which has a natural part in Swedish history.
Our history made us who we are today
There is a long culture heritage behind the Swedish people and personalities, which obviously have had an impact on the way Swedish designers create designs. First up, is a economically strained market filled with Lutherans.
LUTHERAN – IF YOU ARE WEALTHY, BE HUMBLE ABOUT IT
Lutherans had its stronghold in the Scandinavian countries. The reason for this can be many but just talk about one explanatory fact. The Lutherans is just opposite to the Catholics. If Catholics are outgoing, opulent and sharing, the Lutherans are introvert, sparse and protective. This is not a question about right or wrong but a cultural difference. In Scandinavia it was important to collect food during harvest times and save it through the cold winter. It would be rude to officially indulge in produce when your neighbors were starving. Why they did not share instead? Well this is where the Lutheran believes comes in. If you don’t provide for you and your family don’t expect someone
else will. Teach a man to fish.
SOCIALISM – FUNCTIONALISM AND BEAUTY IN EVERYDAY MATERIALS
Sweden has been a socialistic country although the 1900-century. Even today we four right-wing parties are in power we are probably more left than the Labor party here in Australia. And we like it like that. Why? Well, socialism takes care of people when the Church doesn’t. Suddenly we were entitled a one-room apartment, with a kitchen, and a toilet. Not much, but just enough as we say it. As you probably could imagine it wasn’t fancy but functional with affordable materials like wood looking as good as it can. Did we say functional?
JANTE – MINIMALISM AND STANDING OUT IN A CROWD WITHOUT STANDING OUT
Every country with self-respect has a tall-poppy syndrome. Ours is called The Jante Law. In short it means that you need to conform. Don’t stand out. Don’t have any patterns on you. Absolutely no logos implying that you are better than the rest. Read all 10 commandments.
As you now might understand is that design from Swedish designers is not something we made up by chance. Minimalism (which still does not exist in Office dictionary) and quality is in our backbone since the 1600 century and its been the main market for our designers until now.
SUICIDE BLONDES (IN PROGRESS)
Suicide Blonde’s is a business affiliated think tank with a global perspective on use of resources and its connection to the economical system built on an everlasting growth. A system that will need an endless supply of resources to sustain. Suicides Blonde’s researches how the next economical system could become with the main objective how reducing a use resources could be beneficial for companies and new business models. Today no part of the chain has any responsibility as long as the financial markets sees growth, because enough profit today is not enough tomorrow.
Suicide Blonde’s prime focus is an industry self-regulated solution and has no interest in
government/law regulated solutions or consumer education.
Swensk and the Slow Fashion Manifest
Swensk has a practical role in the research with its Slow Fashion Manifest. The Slow Fashion Manifest addresses the retailer’s role in a fast consumption society by asking one simple question:
If a fashion retailer did not have discounted sales, what impact would it have on the world?
The reason for this question is simple. If we value our resources to a certain price we can’t subsidize the cost of by buying our way out of the problem without reinstating the resources used. In theory it’s cheaper to buy new socks than it costs to wash the old ones. We believe that a costumer has the right to be a happy consumer with no second thoughts on its impact on our planet. It’s the retailers role to supply the consumer with products that has no, or very little impact in a bigger perspective.
The Slow Fashion Manifest is a 10 chapter from theory to practice study on how to recreate the value on, as the business express it, dead stock. Swensk’s mission is to decrease unnecessary use of resources and to create values that make consumers love their products. For more information, sb[at]swensk.com