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Fashion and gender

Swedish fashion truly is in a state of transition. Norms and stereotypes are challenged, gender identities explored.

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Swedish Fashion Talents spring/summer 2019. Video: FF Channel

Fashion and gender

Swedish fashion truly is in a state of transition. Norms and stereotypes are challenged, gender identities explored.

Exploring gender

During the past few years there have been intense media discussions on the interrelations between fashion, gender and power. Many Swedish fashion brands have explored new ways of expressing gender through their designs, pushing for a less binary and more fluid way of understanding masculinity, femininity and everything in-between.

Many designers and stylers of Swedish fashion have developed in more experimental and avant-garde directions. Even though larger and more established companies – such as department store Åhléns and H&M-owned Weekday – have created both advertising campaigns and collections challenging outdated perceptions of gender, it is among young fashion designers that the question of gender is thoroughly explored.

A feminist approach

For these fashion brands, a feminist approach is not limited to an occasional campaign, but a feminist understanding of gender is integrated into the daily work on design and marketing, as well as into the overall brand concept. Lines between masculinity and femininity get blurred, and the unisex category is explored through cutting-edge designs and high-quality fabrics.

Norm-breaking brands

In 2018 PRLE was one of the emerging brands named Swedish Fashion Talent by the Swedish Fashion Council. Heavily influenced by the 1970s, PRLE’s designer Andreas Danielsson creates androgynous and quite eccentric garments aiming to broaden the definition of men’s clothing. ‘The clothes are supposed to work for everybody,’ Danielsson says.

In 2016 Lazoschmidl won the Swedish Fashion Council Changers Award for its innovative and groundbreaking interpretation of contemporary menswear. Lazoschmidl define its collections as ‘menswear and no gender’, signalling that you don’t have to identify as male to wear the clothes.

Photo: Appletrees

Appletrees has been praised for its minimalist and unisex designs. The brand makes shirts known for exquisite details and high quality, designed to be worn by women and men alike, in styles that fit with cultural expressions from all corners of the world.

Last updated: 18 January 2019

Philip Warkander &

Dr. Philip Warkander is Assistant Professor in Fashion Studies and Affiliated Researcher with the Centre for Retail Research at Lund University. He also works as a writer and consultant for magazines, newspapers and journals on fashion-related subjects.


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