Take a ‘fika;’ Volvo talks about sustainable fashion

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The Volvo XC40 at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

“FIKA,” among the Swedish, means taking a breather from work to socialize with colleagues — if coffee and cake are involved, then all the better. Companies where fika is institutionalized are said to be more productive.

Volvo Cars is one such company. Aptly, then, the brand’s series of discussions over relevant socio-political, cultural and environmental issues is called Fika Talks.

Fika Talks panelists (from left) Swedish ambassador to the Philippines  Harald Fries, designer Ryan Madamba, H&M Philippines communications head Dan Mejia and University of the Philippines professor Kristyn Caragay.

Volvo Philippines has started its Fika Talks sessions, with discussions focused on the topic of sustainable fashion. Held in early May, the activity was conducted in partnership with the Swedish Embassy in Manila and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila — the venue for the talks.

Volvo Philippines explained that through Fika Talks, it is enhancing its sustainability initiatives by “creating a venue where people can exchange ideas.”

“Fika Talks is a chance to discuss ways on how to better society through conversations that will help change the world,” the company said.

Attending Volvo Philippines’ inaugural Fika Talks were personalities from the country’s fashion industry. They were joined by fashion and entrepreneur students from the University of the Philippines, SoFA Design Institute, iAcademy, Marikina Polytechnic College, Slim’s Fashion and Arts Design Institute, Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, University of Santo Tomas, and College of Saint Benilde.

Fika Talks fashion show

University of the Philippines professor Kristyn Caragay presented concepts on sustainable fashion and how designers can contribute to society and the environment.

Dan Mejia, head of communications at fashion retail chain H&M, shared H&M’s corporate vision of “leading the change towards circular and renewable fashion while being a fair and equal company.” The H&M Group is one of the global companies which signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, according to Volvo Philippines. The company explained the charter “aims to find ways where the clothing and textile industry can move towards a holistic system and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Fashion designer Ryan Madamba showcased his collection from around seven years ago, in the process stressing the fact that timeless, well-crafted and efficiently designed masterpieces can last for years. Volvo Philippines said Madamba is known for his use of unconventional materials like burlap to make his creations stand out.

Participants in Volvo Philippines’ first Fika Talks session.

In his opening remarks, Swedish ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries noted “the fashion revolution will need everyone’s commitment and effort.”

The embassy also launched its own exhibit, titled “Fashion Revolution: The Future of Textiles.” Featured here were sample products, clothing and fabrics from different Swedish companies which highlighted the various sustainable ways and means by which these were created.

Volvo Philippines said Volvo’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its car-making operations — the brand is guided by “Omtanke,” Swedish for “caring,” “consideration” and “to think again.” This adherence to the concept means the carmaker remains faithful to its core values of safety, quality and care for the environment.

Volvo noted that even before going green has become trendy for car companies, it was “already at the forefront of innovation” as it focuses on “reducing the environmental impact of cars.”

The company added it is one of the founding members of the UN Global Compact, and that since 2000 it has tried to observe the 10 principles governing this agreement. Volvo said it has also been an active supporter of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly.



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