Bath Spa Fashion and Marketing students explore sustainability - Scandi style
Fashion, perhaps more than any other market, needs to be sensitive to issues of sustainability. It’s an industry that’s defined by a large use of resources and an ever-evolving taste for new design, but it’s driven by the needs of an increasingly conscious consumer.
Sweden in particular has heeded the ethical call, substantially investing into research and production that marries design with conscience.
Home to a number of global fashion brands, including H&M, Filippa K, and Happy Socks, Sweden is a vital example of a market that is adapting to social change.
In order to make students aware of this ever-pressing aspect in the fashion industry, Bath Spa’s GALA Outreach Fund supported our Fashion and Marketing students in travelling to the Stockholm Fashion District, to experience firsthand how Sweden is forging ahead in sustainable fashion.
Students Marcus Reid and Bronte Paterson met with the District’s Gunilla Grübb, Head of Public Relations and Katarina Wåhlberg, Head of Customer Relations. Highlighting their experiences for Bath Business School’s ‘ScandiStyle’ blog, they noted three major trends in Swedish design:
- The drive for sustainability - be this through offering a repair service for their products, or investing in green energy
- A preference and encouragement for local Swedish brands
- A commitment to Swedish values that encourages social growth. This is shown at all levels of the company, no matter the location of its office.
Marcus and Bronte were also given access to H&M’s Head of Recruitment, Izabel Hedquist, who walked them through the hiring requirements for fashion buyers. Hedquist again emphasised the importance on sustainability and ethical value for its workers.
"It was explicitly made clear of the values that H&M want their employees to have and these included. It was incredible to understand that despite H&M being present in 69 markets, the traditional Swedish values are reinforced through all the countries they operate in, which has been part of their huge success."
Katie Friedlander-Boss, course leader for the new Business and Management (Fashion) pathway and upcoming Fashion Marketing and Management degree, noted the importance these elements will play in the upcoming programmes:
“The developing fashion industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability as well as moving focus to operating in a digital environment. Having the opportunity to meet with and gain insights from Swedish brands such as H&M and SFD (just as they were about to attend the 2018 Copenhagen Fashion Summit), are invaluable as a resource and experience for our students to develop their knowledge and understanding in these areas.
There are so many great brands out there and a lot of them are Swedish! There are also so many different job roles within the fashion industry that an experience like this gives students a first hand understanding of.”
As climate change presents an ever increasing threat to resources, more and more industries will need to respond by marketing their products under the ethical or sustainable label.
*Many thanks to Marcus Reid and Brontë Paterson for allowing the use of their text.
Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.
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