This content was published in the period between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019.

Ministers on this page who have left the government

Between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019 she was Minister for Culture and Democracy.

Ministers on this page who have left the government

Between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019 she was Minister for Culture and Democracy.

Speech by Alice Bah Kuhnke at the opening show of Fashion Week

Published

Stockholm, 1 February 2016.
Check against delivery.

I want to begin by thanking you for inviting me to come here. It is a great honor for me to open this spring's edition of Stockholm Fashion Week.

As Minister for Culture and Democracy – it thrills me a lot that fashion and design now plays an equally important role with other artistic fields. For what is fashion if not an artistic and creative expression?

When I was seven years old and experienced my first days at school, I found a hat at my grannys loft. It wasn't any hat, according to me, it was the most beautiful belonging one could possibly carry.

Not being like any other seven year old kid from the beginning, when sporting a big red hat to school – this was made even clearer to me by the older guys from sixth grade first thing as I entered the school yard.

That's a disgusting and ugly hat! Take it off, they shouted! If you don't take it of you will be punished. And beaten up I was.

After two weeks filled with constant shouting, threats and beating my mother asked me if I was not to take of the hat.

I told her the truth. The hat was quit missfitting, but still warm and still it was not as beautiful as I first considered it to be but that I could not take it off since this would mean that others decided for me what to wear and what not to wear. With pride I kept on carrying the damn hat until it had to be washed and then went into two pieces.

I believe fashion is a form of a universal language which allows constructing and deconstructing our identities, to play whatever role we want by shaping our look to show certain attitudes or values. It's always been amazing to me how quickly a piece of clothing can change how I feel, how I hold myself, and even how I act.

Fashion as a phenomenon is something that is very dynamic and in constant change, and especially in the globalized world we live in. And the Swedish fashion industry holds up well in the tough competition and has enjoyed great success both nationally and internationally. Fashion, form and design are elements that for decades characterized the rest of the world picture of Sweden.

Fashion sector employs a large group of people at all stages from production to design and marketing - but also all those who currently subsist on to write, analyze, shoot, commenting and blogging about fashion.

If the fashion industry has many challenges today, sustainability is definitively one of these. Today, people in rich countries are linked to people in poor countries through the commoditization and consumption of what is called fashion. As a former Secretary General for the organization Fairtrade I have spent much time taking part at the first level regarding the fashion production. I have cried in anger over the injustices as I have cried with joy when seeing what happens with consumers and a branch of industry when consciousness increases.

Sustainable fashion is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. I am thrilled that many fashion designers are now introducing eco-conscious methods at the source through the use of environmentally friendly materials and socially responsible methods of production. But this question constantly needs to be debated and challenged, which I am sure will also take place during this fashion week, when a large part of the Swedish fashion industry is concentrated.

Last but not least I hope that the Swedish fashion industry keeps on being brave so that seven year old girls far away from Stockholm can keep on being inspired and dare to dress their lust in whatever funny hat they like to without taking it of regardless of any given resistance. And with these final words I hereby wish you a fabulous fashion week that I now declare officially to be opened!

Ministers on this page who have left the government

Between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019 she was Minister for Culture and Democracy.

Ministers on this page who have left the government

Between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019 she was Minister for Culture and Democracy.