The eighth edition of Fashion Week by Berns, which ended on Jul. 2, saw both improvements and setbacks. At the positive end of the spectrum, the prestigious event bagged new local support from Stockholm Business Region and Visit Sweden, in addition to its already established sponsorships from Mercedes-Benz and Max Factor.

“We’ve noticed a considerable growth in international interest for the week, which represents excellent promotion. Therefore, we are happy to strengthen the event with our support,” said Thomas Brühl, MD of Visit Sweden.

There’s no doubt that Fashion Week by Berns has been a hit with international press since its inception in 2005, but this season the week went through something of a slump as some of its biggest catwalk stars abandoned the event. Acne Jeans, Tiger of Sweden and Filippa K were among the crop that chose not to participate in favor of showing privately or as part of other fashion weeks, Copenhagen, with its government-funded benefits, being a particularly attractive draw.

Though Fashion Week by Berns has never been a large-scale operation, it took a beating as a result and the number of shows totaled a mere 10, down from last season’s line-up of 13 shows. Designers staying put on the catwalk schedule included Cheap Monday, Dagmar, Hope, Ida Sjöstedt and Whyred.

Witnessing what the Swedes had to offer for S/S 2010 – primarily recession-proof commerciality infused with a raw edge to save the collections from entering too safe a territory – visitors from 20 different countries attended the event. In terms of numbers, no comparative statistic was available since each individual label invites guests independently to their respective shows. However, the number of pre-accredited visitors to the event as a whole landed at 360, and 637 guest confirmed RSVPs for the Mercedes Benz Young Fashion Industry Award.

“We got more media exposure than last season, despite the fact that we only had 16 participating brands and fewer catwalk shows than in the two past seasons,” said Christina Guardian, Head of Marketing at Berns.

Though the interest still remains fairly high, it’s inevitable that the appeal of the event will dilute if the catwalk line-up shrinks further. As expressed on before, Swedish fashion as a commercial force would stand a higher chance of cementing itself as a serious international player if it presented one fashion week a season, rather than two, as is currently the case. The second installment, that encompasses various catwalk shows as well as the two trade shows, Nordic Shoe & Bag Fair and Boutique Fräsch, will take place Aug. 10-16, 2009.

—Emma Holmqvist