NADJA SWAROVSKI – 2018 CAFA Global Fashion Business Leader Recipient
Nadja Swarovski is the first female Member of the Executive Board of Swarovski, the world’s leading crystal manufacturer. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Daniel Swarovski, who founded the company in the Austrian alps in 1895. Today Swarovski turns over €3.2 billion a year.
Nadja has driven a program of creative collaborations that have revitalized the company over the past 20 years. As well as leading the company’s global branding and communications, she has commissioned new installations, artworks and products celebrating crystal that have continually positioned Swarovski at the vanguard of creative and lifestyle trends. From Alexander McQueen to Daniel Libeskind, the relationships she has built with figures in the worlds of fashion and jewelry, design and architecture, film and art, have established her as one of the world’s leading creative patrons. Nadja also oversees Swarovski’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and philanthropic programs, and chairs the Swarovski Foundation.
In fashion, Nadja has built on Swarovski’s legacy of collaborating with the industry’s leading lights and emerging talents, implementing groundbreaking designer support and catwalk initiatives including the Swarovski Collective (founded in 1999), and Runway Rocks (founded in 2003).
In design, Nadja launched Swarovski Crystal Palace in 2002, an initiative that pushed the boundaries of lighting through collaborations with designers in the medium of crystal. The resulting body of work offered a snapshot of the most exciting creative minds of the modern era, including Zaha Hadid, John Pawson, Tom Dixon, Ross Lovegrove, Arik Levy and Yves Béhar.
In 2007 Nadja developed Atelier Swarovski, a cutting-edge jewelry and accessories line featuring collaborations with designers including Christopher Kane, Viktor & Rolf, Jean Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld. Atelier Swarovski was joined in 2016 by Atelier Swarovski Home, a home décor brand created in partnership with innovators such as Daniel Libeskind, Ron Arad, Tord Boontje, Fredrikson Stallard and rising stars Raw Edges.
Nadja has also strengthened Swarovski’s relationship with the film industry through partnerships with costume and set designers. Swarovski crystals have been featured in movies including The Young Victoria, Black Swan and Skyfall. In the music industry she has overseen collaborations with costume designers for performers such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna.
Since 2012 Nadja has led Swarovski’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, ensuring that ethical and environmental standards are embedded in the company’s business practices as it pursues its aim of becoming a world leader in sustainable luxury. She is an Ambassador for Women for Women
International, and under her leadership Swarovski has signed up to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and the UN Global Compact.
Nadja chairs the Swarovski Foundation, which she established to consolidate the company’s long-term commitment to charitable giving. With a focus on education, the Foundation supports projects that foster creativity and culture, meet social needs and promote wellbeing, and conserve natural resources. The Foundation has supported projects that include the restoration of the San Giorgio statue at the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, the new Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning at the Design Museum in London, Women for Women International and Water Aid.
Born in Germany, Nadja is an Austrian and American citizen, and was educated in Europe and the US. After graduating from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1992, she completed a graduate course in Fine and Decorative Arts at Sotheby’s in New York. She is currently based in London.