Meet a Local – Ali Davoodi, founder of the Fresh Fish Fashion Fair

Fresh Fish organizes an annual Fashion Fair & Competition in Gothenburg for promising designers. The idea for Fresh Fish was born in 2005 when the founder Ali Davoodi had the desire to create a platform geared toward promising designers, within different creative professions, to support them in their career. The first platform took shape as a fashion platform which then grew into Fresh Fish’s’ first fashion fair in 2007. Since then exhibitors from all over the country have come annually to show their clothes, accessories and jewelry.  In 2009 the fair moved to Eriksbergshallen in Gothenburg and grew into a three-day-fair.

Exhibition at Fresh Fish. Photo: Angelique Johner

From the beginning the fair’s jury has crowned a winner for best clothing design. The jury consists of well renowned and experienced professionals within fashion and design.

In 2008 Fresh Fish was honored with Nöjesguiden’s (a Swedish newspaper focused on entertainment) award for “design”, which is given to people or organizations that have meant a lot to the city of Gothenburg during the year that has passed.

We were lucky enough to get the founder himself on the phone, despite major preparations for the fair next week.

Ali, tell me about yourself and how you ended up starting Fresh Fish?

It all started 7 years ago. I had never worked in fashion or design before; in fact I was the production manager for Volvo in Gothenburg.  I have always been interested in creativity, specifically the creative process, and I kept a black book with me where I wrote down all exciting things I wanted to do in life, and starting a fair like Fresh Fish was one of them.

Ali Davoodi. Photo: Andreas Sundgren

So I put together a team of 5 people and started New Arrivals Gothenburg (NAGO), which is now a part of Fresh Fish. We felt that NAGO wasn’t enough to capture what we wanted to achieve, so a colleague and I decided to come up with a new name for the fair that would do the trick. We wrote down our name suggestions on separate pieces of paper, and when we later compared our papers “Fresh Fish” was the only one we had in common.  Thinking of that moment still gives me goose bumps, as we had never discussed anything close to “fresh” or “fish”, and yet we both wrote the same name down. My colleague couldn’t explain why she wrote “Fresh Fish”, however I had a clear reason why – but I have decided not to share until we celebrate the fairs 10 year anniversary.

What was your goal with starting Fresh Fish?

My goal was to show case everything that was happening in Gothenburg and West Sweden at the time.  The area has a rich tradition of design and textiles, which sadly only industry people were aware of.  We have everything from major brands like Gina Tricot and Nudie to the University of Textiles in Borås, West Sweden.

Most people have an opinion when it comes to fashion and design, and I wanted to highlight Gothenburg as a city of design.

Exhibition at Fresh Fish. Photo: Angelique Johner

Do you feel that you have succeeded with your goals?

I am not sure that succeeding with my goals for Fresh Fish is a good thing. When achievement is too close you tend to not work has hard. My main goal was to stir things up, and we have definitely caused a ripple effect every year we have had the fair, in the sense that the fair keeps attracting more and more people from all over the world.

Where do you see Fresh Fish in 5 years?

I sincerely hope that Fresh Fish will still exist, but that I am not in charge. I believe that it is the best for both Fresh Fish and me, that the company has a new leader. I am sure I will still have some part of it in the shape of a board member or similar, but I don’t think that I will be spearheading it anymore. One of my top priorities right now is to find someone who is at least as passionate as I am when it comes to creativity.


What do you think of this year’s Fresh Fish fair?

I believe that we have improved every year we have had the fair, and this year is no exception.  It is important that we show case a variety of designers, this year we have everything from fashion designers, to jewelry and other accessories. Other special aspects about this year’s Fresh Fish, is that the winner is offered a job opportunity and that all our money will go to the charity “Ung Cancer” (literally translated: young cancer).

Exhibition at Fresh Fish. Photo: Angelique Johner


Thank you for your time Ali, and we wish you all the luck with this year’s Fresh Fish!

Everyone is welcome to attend the fair from the 5-6th of April between 10 am and 7 pm, and the 7th of April between 10 am and 5 pm.


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