Celebrating Sustainability and Innovation: Encouragement for Action Awards 2023

Written by Natalia Muntean

Brands are more willing and excited to share their achievements and that is a sign that our initiative is needed,” says Helena Waker, CEO of Stockholm Fashion District, about the Encouragement for Action initiative. Last Thursday, the Nobis Hotel in Stockholm played host to its sixth annual awards ceremony, with the 2023 edition gathering prominent names from the fashion industry to celebrate sustainability efforts and innovation within Swedish fashion.

The central theme of this year’s event was “Action for Future Change’’ in the fashion industry, setting the stage for a thought-provoking discussion that kicked off with a dynamic panel. The panel featured important figures of the Swedish fashion scene, including Jennie Rosén, CEO of the Swedish Fashion Council, Behnaz Aram, Chief Designer Womens at BLK DNM, and was moderated by Philip Warkander, Chairman of the Ethics Council and Assistant Professor at the Swedish School of Textiles.

The members of the panel touched upon the changes needing to happen within the fashion industry. Philip Warkander emphasised the profound societal changes taking place at the moment, citing the long-term repercussions of the pandemic, global inflation, the war in Ukraine, and advancements in AI technology as examples of reshaping our world. “These will have a strong impact on the fashion industry. What role will fashion play in tomorrow’s society? How can the industry work towards a more sustainable and holistic fashion system?” 

Jennie Rosen stressed the need for greater inclusivity in the fashion sector, noting that efforts are underway at the Swedish Fashion Council, including a large-scale survey aimed at identifying the industry’s pain points and weaknesses and how it could welcome more diversity. “Clothes are about people. They should last a long time and also tell their stories and show different perspectives and voices,” said Behnaz Aram, Chief Designer Womens at BLK DNM

Among the winners of this year’s awards were STICA, founded by the Sustainable Fashion Academy, which was recognized for its efforts in the “Closing the Loop” category, ensuring the limits on emissions in the textile and fashion industries are met in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Grandpa earned acclaim in the “Fashion Retail Talks Sustainability” category for their commitment to sustainable retail practices. Over the years, Grandpa has become a community, more than a store that offers timeless wardrobe pieces of high quality, functionality, and a sustainable shopping experience. Brixtol Textiles was honored for their dedication to fostering a “Sustainable Identity” within the fashion industry, as they repeatedly demonstrate that production can take place under ethical conditions, materials can be environmentally friendly, and fashion standards can remain high with a combination of hard work and confidence in their consumers and abilities. Imogo stood out as the recipient of the “Fashion Innovation of the Year” award, highlighting their pioneering contributions to fashion innovation. The Fashion Innovation winner provides methods for effectively addressing the issue of water usage and purification in dyeing, applicable to both small and large operations.. 

Stockholm Fashion District established the Encouragement for Action initiative in 2018, with the aim of promoting sustainable development within the fashion industry. “We started this award as a way of encouraging more brands and the people behind them to be vocal about the good things they were doing in sustainability,” mentioned Helena Waker, adding that in the last couple of years things have taken a turn for the better with more brands becoming more responsible and aware of their sustainability impact. “For the future, we hope to get more partners and organisations involved, so we could extend the initiative beyond Sweden.”