A few days before the official launch of Scandinavian MAN, I received an e-mail from our contributor Natalia Brzezinski, CEO of Brilliant Minds.
It was just after the news had broken about the sexual harassment allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. We were in New York at the time, and every morning leading up to our launch event at NeueHouse on October 11, I read about new testimonies and allegations in the morning newspaper. Natalia had something to say:
— With all that’s happening in the US right now, I think positioning a softer, more equal Scandinavian man is very relevant.
I was moved by the gesture, but also humbled by the responsibility.
When we decided to launch Scandinavian MAN last year, putting our region’s values front and centre was one of our most important missions. Sure, we would create our magazine, host launch events and fashion week pop-ups, and help brands and companies reach a larger global audience. But we also wanted to share a positive message. So, we created the tagline ’Style, Innovation and Equality’, because it captured everything that the Scandinavian man was: A stylish and equal man. A man on the forefront of innovation, technology and sustainability. An active man, with a love for nature. A man based on sound, Scandinavian values.
During the past nine months, we’ve found that these values are hard currency in these tumultuous times. Wherever we’ve gone — London, New York, Tokyo, Milan, or Hamburg — people have had an instinctively positive reaction to the idea of the Scandinavian man.
Some are inspired by our design sensibilities, others by our technological advancements (from Spotify to Skype to iZettle). Most are amazed by our parental leave laws that make the Scandinavian man the world’s most present father.
Scandinavia is definitely having a moment right now. But the point here is not that we are sitting on all the answers, it’s not to promote one single ideal. The point is that we want to get the conversation going. That the issue of masculinity and what constitutes a man, and perhaps even a gentleman, is brought to the table and discussed. We have found that having a value-based brand proposition really enforces that conversation.
When we were approached by the Pitti Immagine organisation to create a series of panel discussions, we naturally jumped at the opportunity. Is there any better place than this to start a discussion on what it is to be a man?
Nowhere is masculinity on such prominent display than during the four days that we spend in the Fortezza da Basso. And nowhere are so many men, from so many countries, joined together to discuss matters of image and perception. Whether you are from Germany or Japan, from US or China, from Switzerland or South Korea, you ll have a unique perspective on masculinity. We thought it was a great idea to deepen that conversation.
During the course of five programming events, I will lead a series of live conversations on the issue of masculinity, but also on menswear, media, and retail (see schedule in the end of this text). These are themes and areas that we discuss on a recurring basis in Scandinavian MAN, and that are in constant transformation. When things are in constant transformation, there is the opportunity to bring about real change, which makes this an especially exciting time to work in.
Schedule at Pitti Uomo 94:
Tuesday June 12 at 12.00 pm: Buying menswear — an editorial perspective
Three buyers and fashion directors from leading global retail outlets discuss what it means to curate a retail
experience in 2018, and why it is more important than ever to have an editorial perspective on retail.
Tuesday June 12 at 4.00 pm: Sustainability — a movement to disrupt fashion’s ecosystems
Representatives from leading menswear brands and innovative start-ups, discuss the necessities and challenges in creating new structures and processes for the sustainable production of fashion.
Wednesday June 13 at 1.00 pm: Future of print — why we live in a golden era of magazines
Leading editors discuss how the biannual magazine is leading the way for fashion journalism, and why a certain kind of print has become more important than ever in the digital era.
Thursday June 14 at 10.30 am: In search of the new masculinity
A leading international gender scientist and representatives from the Scandinavian fashion community discuss masculinity in the #MeToo era, and why it is more important than ever to find an updated image of the modern man.
Thursday June 14 at 4.00 pm: The new retail logic — how e-commerce is disrupting menswear
Menswear is one of the fastest growing e-commerce categories. Why is the male consumer more susceptible to the online retail experience? Leading e-commerce operatives discuss.
Location: Pitti P.O.P. Arena, just outside Padiglione Centrale. This schedule is subject to change.