The fashion of feminist icon Sara Danius

A celebration of bravery: The fashion is now on auction

Sara Danius (1962-2019) was a Swedish academic, a feminist and fashion icon and the first woman to ever lead the committee that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature. Now, her incredible wardrobe is to be auctioned off in support of Sara Danius’s memorial fund. Her collection of fashion items is also showcased at an exhibition to celebrate her memory and inspire women in academia. It includes a unique portrait series of academics, wearing Sara Danius’s hallmark pussy-bow blouses.

Sara Danius was the first woman to head the Swedish Academy (2015-2018), which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature. Sara passed away from breast cancer in October 2019, aged 57. As well as being an essayist, a writer, she also had a huge passion for fashion and she used clothes as a tool to communicate and to take a stand on questions of women’s rights. She is perhaps best known for her iconic pussy-bow blouses which remain a symbol of her bravery.

Following a #metoo-scandal in 2018, Sara Danius was ousted from the committee of the Swedish academy, despite not being accused of any wrongdoing herself. This ignited a national feminist movement, as politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens showed solidarity with Sara and protested against the systemic inequality by wearing her signature fashion choice – the pussy-bow blouse.

Her vast collection of fashion items and garments will now carry on her work through a new initiative called Modet Lever Vidare, started by Sara’s family and the auction site Tradera. The name of the initiative is a play on the word Modet which in Swedish can either mean fashion or bravery. The initiative can thus be translated into either Bravery Lives On or Fashion Lives On.

Sara’s clothes to be exhibited and auctioned off

Over 80 pieces from Sara Danius’s wardrobe are to be auctioned off at Tradera and include a unique bow blouse with the feminist symbol by designer Camilla Thulin as well as a pair of Prada shoes that Sara wore when announcing Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. The raised funds will be donated to Sara Danius’s memorial fund in support of pioneering female academic within the arts.

– Sara left behind an incredible collection of clothes and shoes. As her family, we wanted to make use of them in a way that lets her legacy live on. Now we have found a way to celebrate both Sara and other female academics, through the power of her fashion, says Isadora Cugler, Sara Danius’s sister.

Female academics pictured in Sara Danius’s iconic clothes

In a series of portraits, seven distinguished female academics are photographed wearing clothes that belonged to Sara, including her iconic bow blouses. The purpose is to draw attention to these women and recognize their bravery in academia and inspire others to follow their own path – just as Sara Danius did.

The photographs and personal texts from the seven scholars will be showcased at an exhibition for Modet Lever Vidare (Bravery/Fashion Lives On) at Sven-Harry’s Art Museum in Stockholm (February 24th – April 18th, 2021), alongside a selection of Sara Danius’s iconic blouses, shoes and other garments.

– We are so proud to have been entrusted with the task of auctioning Sara’s clothes. The purpose of Tradera and the circular market is to help give things new life. Through this initiative, both the clothes and the important messages that they carry can now continue to live on. And every penny from the auctions will go to a valuable cause, says Sofia Hagelin, PR manager Tradera.

Click here to view the ongoing auctions.

Clich here to download additional press photos.

These are the seven scholars photographed in Sara Danius' clothes for the exhibition:

Hanna Wittrock
Senior lecturer in textile handling and fashion science and program leader for the master's program Fashion Marketing and Management at the School of Textiles in Borås.

Ebba Witt-Brattström
Literary scholar, author and feminist activist. The first woman to have a professorship at Södertörn University. Today a professor of Nordic literature at the University of Helsinki. A spokesperson for Stödstrumporna, a network for women in politics.

Hannah Akuffo
Professor of parasitology at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Received a doctorate in immunology from the University of London and then worked at the Armauer Hansen Institute in Ethiopia. Former advisor to WHO and currently works for Sida.

Danica Kragic Jensfelt
Professor of datalogy at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and internationally acclaimed robot researcher. Degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Technology in Rijeka.

Manush Mirzakhanian
Senior Lecturer in Fashion at Beckmans School of Design. Works across borders between fashion design, art, illustration and design. After running her own brand, Manush, she has for many years developed fashion education at various levels in Stockholm.

Agneta Stark
Business economist, author and public debater. Dissertation as the first woman in business administration at Stockholm University. Former Chancellor/Dean of Dalarna University. Between 2012-2013, she was president of the International Association for Feminist Economics. A spokesperson for Stödstrumporna, a network for women in politics.

Agneta Stark
Doctor of Economics, advertising researcher, author and feminist debater. Debuted as a writer in 2014 with “Meningen med hela skiten”, followed by Jiroekonomi (2014) and Feministfällan (2018). Member of the Commission for Equal Income.

For more information, please contact:
Sofia Hagelin, PR-manager, Tradera
(+46)70 – 887 76 95,  

About Sara Danius’s Memorial Fund

Sara Danius memorial fund was established by her relatives after her funeral on November 8, 2019. The purpose of the fund is to support pioneering women within the arts. The fund will regularly be handing out an award, and the emphasis will be on literature and essayistic writing – where Sara herself was most prominent, but pioneers in other areas, such as humanities research, journalism, photography, art, theater, dance, and design may also be considered. The Memorial Fund is managed by a board led by Sara's publisher Daniel Sandström at Albert Bonnier's publishing house together with representatives from Sara's family as wel as former colleagues. The board will appoint recipients of the award in memory of Sara Danius. The size of the scholarship and the working methods of the memorial fund remain to be determined and also depend on the donations and grants received.

About Tradera

Tradera is Sweden's largest circular market and the company's vision is to be a driving force in the transition to a circular economy. On Tradera, about  3 million used items are for sale. About 1000 new auctions are put up every hour and every three seconds products change owners on Tradera. The large selection includes everything from fashion, designer bags and children's clothing to interior design, antiques, home electronics and collectibles. Tradera has been working with circular consumption for over twenty years but it has never been more relevant than today. At a time when new things and clothes are becoming both cheaper and more accessible, Tradera's role for more sustainable action is more important than ever.