Sweden fashion is populous all around the world and the country exports large amount of fashion goods in varied nations. Further, Swedish designs and apparels are quite different to other country's fashion companies and this also allows most of the brand to expand the business in other developed areas (Hauge, 2007). The present study has been made with an attempt to get insight about Swedish fashion and Swedish gender equality. However, Swedish gender equality is still a Utopian ideal for large parts of the world and Sweden has been highly emphasizing on such equality policies and strategies so that the overall interest of society members can be protected. Earlier, gender equality was one of the greatest challenge for Sweden to manage as women were considered as the least contributors in economic development. Many research studies also revealed that Sweden is the only country where women are provided with higher opportunities of employment and as per the research and interviews, it is also observed that women prefer to work more in Sweden due to equality and diversity.
Aim: The main aim of the study is to find out if Sweden equality affects Sweden fashion.
- To identify trends prevailing in fashion industry
- To ascertain the influence of gender equality on fashion industry of the UK
- To analyze the norms following in gender equality
Furthermore the study has been using several tools and technologies in research methodology section so as to accomplish all the predefined objectives. Primary and secondary both the sources of data collection has been taken into account.
Sweden country greatly stands with aesthetics and the country is populous mainly amid those countries which encourages gender quality on a higher extent. The subsequent country largely considers gender equality in which males and females are provided with equal rights and responsibilities which further has a direct impact on fashion industry. Fashion industry of Sweden has been highly influenced by unisex apparels where same sort of casual and formal wear are produced for both males and females (Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen, 2012). As per the views of Tokatli (2007), fashion trends keeps on changing as per the tastes and preferences of customers and this is also beneficial in terms of managing cost aspects for the industry. Most of the brands in Sweden and the UK likewise Acne, Rodbjer, Ann- Sofie Back produces same clothes for men and women such as unisex skinny jeans, shirts, t-shirts and shoes. Office going women have been wearing casual apparels such as trousers and shirts which are quite common between man and woman. Similarly, in the year 2000, the fashion industry of Sweden showed great increase which leads textile industry to become one of the largest exporters all around the world. Swedish fashion seems to be highly popular in other countries also due to brand expansion of H&M, COS and Cheap Monday. Out of all the innovative brands, Cheap Monday and Monki are the two chief brands that produces unisex clothes which perhaps also aids in managing operational costs in fashion industry.
Swedish firm approaches the equality plan of action to ensure that both men and women get the same chances and rights in all the areas of life so, that their may be no scope of inequality among them (Sweden's New Gender Neutral Pronoun Is a Step Towards Equality, and It's Catching On Quickly, 2014). This gender equality has also affect the fashion industry. As, the the companies are manufacturing or designing the unisex clothes that can be wear by both men or women. Fashion has become the most coercive instrument in deposing the sexual identity through connotation of attire.
Arnold (2008) suggested that choice of fashion keep changing with nation to nation as the market customers have different beliefs and values that depicts their fashion sense or attire (Arnold, 2008). With the contemporary changing market, female customers are free to choose the attire in which they feel comfortable. So, now a days women are quite comfortable and have adopted the jeans and pants in their regular life. Hence, Swedish fashion companies are more extrovert towards adopting the unisex apparels or clothing in their market as they initiated the gender equality in all the areas (Sweden Introduces New Gender-Neutral Pronoun, Makes Being a Man ILLEGAL, 2013). So, the gender equality differ from country to country fashion industry.
According to the research it has been identified that in Sweden fashion industry has being manufacturing the wide range of unisex apparels for the women and men those are working in the company. As now a days it is common to wear the formal apparels at the workplace. Hence, the company designed the same formal shirts and trousers for men and women so that they can wear them at the workplace. Today's apparels or accessories like shoes, watches are inspired by the gender equality.
Contemporary fashion industry is facing the major environmental challenges as the Sweden fashion companies now a days focusing on producing and selling the unisex products for the market customers that can be wear by both men and women (Gender equality, economic growth and employment, n.d). As the Sweden highly focus on gender equality their famous fashion brands like Nudie and WeSC contribute significant role in designing the denim jeans that can be worn by anyone.
The impact of gender equality on the fashion can be viewed by the attire of women working in the corporate industry. Taking masculine consideration the fashion industry develop the formal attire for women same like the men attire that is trouser and suits.
According to Blau (1999) asserted that this concept producing the unisex accessories or apparels has increases the cross-gender imitations that disturb the society. As in the past their were separate attire for both women and men that look distinctive (Blau, 1999). For example, pants or trouser depicts the masculine power. But in the late 70s pants through out the worldwide were accepted as the female clothing. Hence, the gender equality within the Swedish fashion companies have negatively impact on their designed products (Gender equality is one of the greatest challenges of our time, 2014).
While, Barnard (2007) suggested that gender equality in the fashion industry have given the path to the companies to manufacture the unisex clothing or accessories that can be wear by both men and women. This increases their profit margins as the designer clothes or accessories can be be adopted by both the sex (Barnard, 2007). Now a days men are also preferring the colors like pink and purple for their shirts or t-shirts, in past that is being used for portraying the feminine colors. The idea to create the unisex garment or apparels for both the sexes considered as the comfortable innovation and it also symbol as the equality between all the gender. While, the clothes like pants, trousers, jeans etc are widely accepted by women in the world.
According to Calefato (2004) unisex clothing intent to decrease the gender difference but gradually they has their opposite effects. The unisex movement have made the women apparels more masculine. As according to the research, Acne has launched the unisex garment collection. But even today it has been found that women mainly buys the unisex garments not men. In the male dominant countries they prefer to buy the clothes or apparels that suited on them and provides them masculine look (Calefato, 2004).
The contemporary Sweden fashion industry have display the gender equality concept through their designer apparels and accessories. As the Cheap Mondays have introduced the concept of unisex skinny jeans for both the sexes that has introduced the huge revolution in the Sweden market. Whether male or female both prefer the same products hence it improve the society and also insure the equality between both of them (Gender Equality in the Swedish Welfare State, 2012). Hence, the Swedish gender equality negatively effect the Swedish fashion. The new designer clothes or apparels produced by the Sweden companies do not distinct the masculine and feminine clothing.
Research methodology is termed as the most significant part of the research which provides some tools and approaches for finding out the accessibility of research objectives and outcomes. The section is entirely integrated with aims and objectives:
Research philosophy: Research philosophy is a clear and concise idea regarding the approaches and methods to be deployed in research. Apparently, this plays a significant role in increasing sustainability and effectiveness of the research methods. The section has been considered in the study since that draws clarity on specific research topic (John Wiley and SonsYin, 2009). The categories of research philosophy can be divided into two techniques such as positivism and interpretivism. In the current study, the researcher has used positivism philosophy which aids in developing accurate and quantifiable results due to direct and accurate observations. It basically evaluates outcomes by using statistical methods.
Data collection: While developing any study, it is required to grab data from diverse sources so that valid and accurate conclusions can be made. There are basically two techniques of data collection such as primary and secondary sources which aids researcher to collect data. In the present case, the researcher has used primary technique in which customers between the age of 20-40 years are selected and they are provided with questionnaire which is made up of different aspects related to fashion and equality aspects in Sweden (Kuada, 2012). This is particularly beneficial in terms of collecting fresh hand information from the respondents. On contrary to this, secondary sources are also used in which online articles, books and journals are reviewed which is further used for literature review section.
Sampling: Researcher has selected appropriate customers for sampling in which people between the age of 20 – 40 years are provided with questionnaire. Thus, sampling has been done through random sampling in which no specific area is taken.
Research approaches: Research approach is very much helpful in enhancing the efficacy of research and it also clarifies the usefulness of study and research topic. This is mainly categorized into two types such as deductive and inductive. Deductive approach uses theoretical and conceptual structure so that accurate results can be found out through observations (Levy and Lemeshow, 2013). This also moves from general to specific inferences. Deductive approach is also taken because it consumes less time and certainly, it produces germane and relevant conclusion.
Research design: Research designing is a crucial section of research report which helps researcher to take significant decisions regarding conducting the study. This choice holds imperative value as the manner in which the pertinent data will be collected is determined by the research design. The chief categories of research design are case study, descriptive and exploratory. In the present study, the researcher has taken exploratory research design to provide comprehensive analysis in a particular situation (Sreedharan, 2007). Furthermore, it is also useful in terms of augmenting the familiarity of researcher with that to research aspects. The design is also flexible in nature which helped the researcher to define research outcomes in suitable manner.
Data analysis: The section of data analysis represents views and opinions of respondents regarding present topic. In order to analyze data, researcher has selected quantitative method in which charts and tables are made for repression data into numerical order. At the same time, researcher has also developed several themes so as to specify the main outcomes of research study. This has helped the study to specify all the actions and courses which are integrated with research aims and objectives (Stake, 2005). Only specified aspects have been taken into account so that better outcomes can be presented for the study. Apart from this, the other technique of data analysis is not used in the present study. Data analysis section holds true importance in research project since through that responses can be presented in suitable manner.
Ethical considerations: One of the main aspects which researcher has to consider while developing study is to analyze different ethical aspects. Researcher has also considered ethical aspects likewise investigation took place with germane and ethical sources so that valid conclusions can be made. The researcher also took only responses of only those candidates who have presented feasible results and outcomes. However the main issue raised here is that some sources are quite irrelevant and researcher also faced constraints in identifying suitable sources (Tracy, 2012). Some of the participants did not give any sort of response towards the study which also lacks credibility and reliability.
Data analysis and Findings
Theme 1: Do you prefer to buy products of Swedish fashion industry
At the time of asking such question, then out of 20, 12 respondents said that they highly prefer to buy Swedish fashionable products because they are quite concerned about fashionable stuffs. On the other hand, remaining 4 candidates said that they sometimes prefer to have fashionable products because of least interest in fashion stuffs. On the contrary, remaining 4 candidates said that they do not prefer to buy fashionable products of Sweden because they consider it extremely useless for both male and female.
Theme 2: What age group of people are considered for unisex apparels
In the present study, the age group of 20 to 40 are taken into account since this age group people comprehends the value of fashion industry. The subsequent age group is being selected because these are the main targets of fashion industry that helps companies to sell designer products and services. While determining such question, the major players of the fashion stated that they get specific attention from such age group only. Usually the targeted region covers people going office and colleges who prefer to have fashionable products due to status concern. At the same time, the particular age group is also selected because latest trends are coming in market place for such age group only.
Theme 3: How often you find unisex apparels as beneficial for fashion industry
As per the subsequent question, most of the people at Sweden prefer to buy unisex products since they consider such products as highly valuable for fashion concept. Thus out of 20 respondents, 15 said that they prefer to buy unisex clothes such as t-shirts, shirts and trousers in all types of events, so they support Swedish fashion industry. On the contrary, 3 candidates said that unisex apparels are not significant for fashion industry because this does not showcases cultural values and aspects. Remaining 2 candidates said that they do not have any specific opinion about such type of products, hence due to lack of opinion, they did not give any response.
Theme 4: Do you think unisex clothes depicts equality for gender
From the discussion presented in the above section, it is highly evident that equality in gender has a great impact on fashion industry and also on unisex apparels. Hence in respect to particular aspect, 12 respondents that unisex apparels depicts that the country is highly integrated with gender equality. Thus from the discussion, it is clear that gender equality has direct impact on fashion industry as due to extreme level of equality, fashion industry is also following the same thing. Remaining 8 candidates said that unisex clothes do not showcase equality for gender since this is merely a part of fashion trend.
Theme 5: How much would you rate Sweden's fashion innovation as compared to other country
While asking the subsequent question, 18 respondents replied that Swedish fashion industry is entirely innovated towards fashionable goods and services and the respondents also said that Swedish industry is the only one that make varied innovations in apparels and other appealing factors. Thus the remaining 2 candidates said that there are many other countries in UK which are also familiar with latest fashion trends.
Theme 6: According to you, what is the impact of Swedish fashion industry on people's choice
This is the question in which most of the respondents have provided optimistic response while most have stated pessimistic responses. Thus 11 candidates said that the impact of Swedish fashion is positive for people as well as for fashion industry since through that, awareness can be generated in people about gender quality. While on the other hand, remaining 9 candidates said that gender equality in fashion is not appropriate as there should be separate clothes and stuffs for men and women. They were clearly not in favor with unisex apparels because they find it unsuitable for cultural norms.
Theme 7: Do you agree that the trend of unisex apparels will continue in future also
During such question, it is being articulated that 15 candidates said that the trend of unisex apparels will be there in future because of concern towards equality; however remaining 5 said that unisex apparels should not exist in fashion industry so that other trends can be adopted.
Theme 8: According to you, do you think innovations and updations are required in Swedish fashion industry
This was one of the major complicated questions where researcher found out that so many up-gradations are yet to come in apparels and other industry, so they probably said that it is possible to see updations in Sweden fashion industry.
With the contemporary market scenario and increasing gender equality the Swedish fashion companies are manufacturing the apparels and accessories that can be worn by both men and women. Many Swedish shops like H&M, Cheap Mondays, Monki etc deals in designing and selling the apparels that is being wear by both the sexes. These all brand mainly considered the gender equality for producing the fashionable products (Mies, 2000). The various unisex accessories in the fashion industry are belts, shoes, watches that can be acquire by both men and women.
According to the above study it can be said that with the positive aspects there are certain negative effect of the Swedish gender equality on the Swedish fashion industry. Unisex fashion can be termed as the gender blender or may be termed as the biggest trend in the market. As the branded company mainly designed the product that suited the both. The major issue in the unisex clothes is that it gives the customer an androgynous look as the clothes are not being made for women body or the male body. Another issue arises is that market customers have certain values and beliefs that help them in choosing their wardrobe. The values and beliefs of the customers changes from countries to countries (Murry and Hammons, 2002). As the concept of unisex clothing and accessories are acceptable in the Sweden but the clothing or apparels are not accepted in the other countries. The unisex movement started by the Swedish fashion company have made the clothes more masculine. The women now a days are preferring to adopt the trouser and pants as the casual wears in the day to day routine life.
It is also studied that the unisex clothing for the women like skinny jeans, pants and trousers mainly provide the masculine look that is highly uncomfortable. The drastic change in the clothing or apparels have become the wide fashion among the male and female of the Swedish countries. As the fashion style depicts the evidence of liberty and equality. The drastic outcome of the androgynous fashion is that women are performing the ramp walk carrying the trouser and suits with the boy hair cut. While, the men in the foreign countries started growing their hair up to their shoulders and wearing the funky color branded shirts (Neuman and Neuman, 2006). This cross culture of the clothes have been introduced by the Swedish fashion company.
While, the unisex products like skinny jeans and branded shoes can be worn by both male and female. These all product has remove the discrimination among the gender and the product can be use by both of them. These design are implemented to improve the society and to create equality among the gender. In today's context, the unisex fashion can be termed as the biggest trend as the women are wearing the masculine wristwatches instead of preferring feminine wristwatches. It is also revealed that with the changing fashion trends women are now changing their fashion style like from the bell bottom the women are now shift towards the skinny tight jeans that are for the men. From the last few years all the famous fashion brand have been banded the gender lines for the promotion of their fashionable clothing and accessories (Tokatli, 2007). Hence, it is forcing the fashion industry to become more imaginative in their clothing offering to their market customers.
Hence on the basis of entire discussion, it can be said that fashion industry is highly valuable for managing interest of people in innovative products and services and this is also useful in terms of emphasizing on trends and market changes. At the time of asking different types of questions, it is analyzed that customers of Swedish fashion industry are highly emphasized towards unisex clothes and apparels since they consider fashion trends as a major part of the status enhancement. On the other hand, the study also revealed that people prefer to buy unisex clothes such as t-shirts, shirts and trousers in all types of events, hence they support Swedish fashion industry (Murry and Hammons, 2002). Researcher also believes that candidates between the age of 20- 40 should be selected since they have right kind of fashion sense which is appropriate for fashion and apparel industry.
The subsequent age group is also being selected because these are the main targets of fashion industry that helps companies to sell designer products and services. This also assists the industry to get suitable advices and feedbacks about the services, market trends and demand of unisex clothes. While determining such question, the major players of the fashion stated that they get specific attention from such age group only, so selection of such age group proved to be feasible. Usually the targeted region covers people going office and colleges who prefer to have fashionable products due to status concern (Calefato, 2004). At the same time, the particular age group is also selected because latest trends are coming in market place for such age group only. Thus from the entire study it is clear that gender equality has some impacts on fashion industry. The study is made up of all relevant sources so it could be articulated that predefined aims and objectives have accomplished. After evaluating the view points of many authors, it is explored that unisex clothing intent to decrease the gender difference but on the contrary it has pessimistic impacts too. Many people consider it irrelevant due to huge impact on social and cultural facets. However some believe that there should be differences in apparels so as to maintain social values and aspects.
The unisex movement have made the women apparels more masculine and same is prevailing in the case of females. They have also started wearing skinny jeans, knee length jeans and capris which signifies that there is no difference between men and women. As according to the research, Acne has launched the unisex garment collection, so the brand has been capturing great attention of customers towards fashionable products and services. But even today it has been found that women mainly buys the unisex garments as they prefer to go office (Sweden's New Gender Neutral Pronoun Is a Step Towards Equality, and It's Catching On Quickly, 2014).
In most of the cases of UK, it is observed that women works more than men due to gender equality. In the male dominant countries they prefer to buy the clothes or apparels that suited on them and provides them masculine look. Sweden’s wide-ranging gender-equality policy has produced a system with many paradoxes. It is not news that Swedish women on average perform more of the unpaid work at home and have lower wages than men. This clearly depicts that equality has impacted all the sectors of economy which perhaps provides major growth and career building opportunities to women. Therefore to conclude, it can be said that in Sweden, men and women both have same ability to shape the society and their own lives.
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