Stockholm and the Quality Outlet, where fashion matters

New York, Paris, London and Milan are some of the most well known fashion capitals of the world (here is a list of the 15 most important fashion cities in the world).

A fashion capital is an epithet given to a city that has influence on how the world dresses. In fashion capitals, the design, production and retail of fashion products and fashion weeks are huge for the fashion world and the city’s economy. Now there are many other places that have fashion weeks and behind the beauty are some rather intriguing stories as covered by VICE news.

There are many other stories in this series, do check it out!

But there is something disconcerting about fashion weeks, however beautifully they are dressed up. It’s not the fashion, it’s the judgement that disturbs me, that there is an arbitrator that tells people (especially females) about what is good and in and what is now. It gives this image of an idea body type and an idea look that matters. Who made these people demi-gods of fashion?

Fashion isn’t the problem, wanting to look good is not a problem (when taken in moderation) but being controlled by other people’s fashion sense is though. It’s a thin line between being inspired and being caged in.

But I am deviating. What has all this talk got to do with Stockholm? Fashion is big here, having a style of your own is really important. Growing up in Singapore, where dressing with style invites stares and “you have a date” questions, this was a surprise.

On hindsight, I shouldn’t have been. The world famous IKEA is basically decent, affordable and smart looking furniture, it couldn’t have been something limited only to the one company.

As a fashion capital, more and more big names make their way to attend the annual Stockholm Fashion Week. Even middle-aged males dress well to work. Brands can be found all over the streets of Bibliotekgatan, Drottningatan.

And unlike Singapore, my reference point, the most popular brands are sometimes the local ones. In Singapore local designers are still considered hippy in Haji Lane. This has allowed local brands to grow, brands like Acne Jeans, H&M and Whyred for instance.

The style that these brands has in common seems to be bold but not excessive and according to this article is partly the reason why the recent economic crisis has been the catalyst for the growth of Stockholm as a fashion capital.

Then there is the fact that there are so many fashion bloggers in Sweden (here and here).

But fashion in these places doesn’t come cheap, and not everyone can afford it. Yet, seeing people take pride in how they look is inspiring. So people, like me, who can’t afford too expensive clothes check out cheaper options.

It’s not uncommon to see eager shoppers within the large collection of outlet stores in Barkarby for example.

And you know how serious fashion is taken, when even men take it seriously.

It’s peer pressure, but when people take pride in how they look, inspired but not caged in by fashionistas, it does make you want to do the same with how you look too.



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