Making Futures 2021

Resilience Through Leadership and Organisational Form

The seventh edition of our Making Futures biennial international research conference will be held on 16th September 2021.

Stefanie Malmgren de Oliveira and Karin Landahl

Department of Design, University of Borås - Sweden||

Independence and Flexibility: A Case Study on a Small-Scale Creative Producer and Its Potential for Rethinking Pedagogical Models Within Higher Education in Fashion Design

In the paper that the session draws upon, a case study on a small-scale creative producer in fashion design in Gothenburg, Sweden was conducted which led to conclusions relating to fashion design education.

The session acknowledges that with the common outsourcing of production, there is a division between ideation and production processes in fashion. Conversely, at small-scale creative producers the two phases are intertwined, constituting a melting pot for innovative forms and ideas for new organizations and creative leadership. In turn, this facilitates sustainable approaches within the design as well as economic processes. This case study was conducted through interviews with the founder, designer and creative director of industry, Rickard Lindqvist, where three main areas were looked into; new organizational forms and innovative leadership that have been generated within this local small-scale creative producer, the challenges of new organizational forms and innovative leadership that this small-scale creative business had to face, and the meeting of economic sustainability and design skills within the business.

The interviews highlighted several key elements in how to form a sustainable small scale creative production with innovation and development in focus. Key elements were identified; synced team building, development of business models as part of the design process, collaborations, openness to new craft approaches, digitalization, open source and self-leadership. Rather than as a separate process, the production process is here viewed as a source for ideation. A division between ideation and production risks overlooking possibilities for conscious sustainable design decisions embedded in the production process.

Independence and flexibility were emphasized in this case study as being of main importance for resilience in the challenges of future innovative developments, on organizational, design and production level, but evenly on a creative director’s level. In the context of higher education in fashion design, the talk will conclude that there’s a need to further develop and strengthen above core values - independence and flexibility- through pedagogic strategies and principles within course syllabi, aiming to facilitate the forming of innovative and economically sustainable design organizations.


Stefanie Malmgren de Oliveira is a senior lecturer and researcher in fashion and textile design at the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås, where she completed her practice-based PhD in Fashion Design in 2018. Her dissertation investigated ‘Seeing’ as methodological tool in the fashion design process as foundation for ideation and imagination. She was trained as a fashion designer at the Royal Academy of fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, where she received a bachelors and a masters diploma and gained professional experience at the fashion house Balenciaga in Paris under direction of Natacha Ramsay-Levi, with Nicolas Ghesquière as creative director. Since 2018 she coordinates the MA program in Fashion and Textile Design at the Swedish School of Textiles. Her work was exhibited at the Textile Museum in Borås 2018, where she curated the exhibition ‘Acts of seeing’. Current research investigates methods of reuse and remanufacturing as well as pedagogical methods in higher design education.

Karin Landahl is a senior lecturer and researcher in fashion and textile design at The Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, Sweden, where she completed her practice-based PhD in fashion design. The dissertation explored new ways of form thinking in knit design. She is part of Textile & Fashion 2030, The National Platform for Sustainable Fashion and Textiles. As senior lecturer she conducts course developments, course coordination, supervising and teaching over the academic levels. Current research investigates pedagogical methods in higher design education.