Stockholm is a design lover’s mecca as well as a haven for LGBT travellers. Combine the two and you find a cool queer capital like no other.

From traditional handicraft to cutting edge trends, the capital of Sweden does not disappoint when it comes to style and inspiration. What’s more, it is a very progressive destination. Shop fronts questioning gender norms and society’s expectations are a common sight here and whether you stroll the streets of Östermalm, Södermaln or any of the other districts, you will be surrounded by a love for art, innovation and gender equality. Let us guide you around the city.

DESIGNER DREAMS ON ÖSTERMALM

Start your shopping trip in style. Get off at Östermalmstorg tube station to browse flagship stores of international brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Swedish jewellery queen as well as lesbian icon Efva Attling. Her botique is full of gorgeous trinkets; from the beautiful Love Bead wedding ring to her Rainbow Freedom charity collection, former pop star Efva knows how to create stunning jewellery with a meaning.

Once you’ve finished drooling over silver and gold, continue along the red carpet of Bibliotektsgatan and nip into other Swedish design wonders such as Filippa K and COS, not forgetting Cheap Monday around the corner.

Along the sea front street of Strandvägen you will find Swedish design institution Svenskt Tenn. Founded in 1924 this interior design emporium that was always driven by women can today be in homes across the world, and their playful prints, innovative interiors and functional design sums up Sweden well.

Not far from there, between Östermalmstorg and Cityterminalen, sits the Mood Galleria, a futuristic shopping complex with great food stops . And then there is the more traditional NK, Nordiska Kompaniet — the beautiful Harrods of Stockholm, one might say. Well worth a visit.

HIGH STREET HEAVEN IN NORRMALM

In the same area, on Hamngatan, you will find H&M’s enormous flagship store. Empress of the Highstreet and affordable fashion, H&M has helped shape the way that we dress and view ourselves for decades — and the company, which boasts a 50/50 gender split on their board, as well as 72% rate of female managers, is clearly proud in its striving for equality. Their 2016 autumn collection campaign, featuring a diverse group of women as well as a lesbian kiss, helped pave the way for diversity in mainstream ads and the many brands come under the super fashion umbrella that is H&M follow suit. Apart from the mothership itself, umbrella brands & other storiesCOSWeekdayMonki and Cheap Monday all do their bit for feminism and gender equality to the high street — and you can find them all in this city centre area.

Image from Monki’s Periods Are Cool campaign.

On the nearby Kungsgatan you will find find not one but two Naturkompanietshops — your one stop shop for Fjällräven Kånken bags and everything outdoor fashion related. On route there, however, make sure you discover the roots of Swedish design at Svensk Slöjd on Nybrogatan. Putting Swedish handicraft at the centre stage, Svensk Slöjd highlights the beauty of what was long seen as women’s work. Celebrating traditional art, their goal is to increase the interest in the handmade and the shop, which features products by around 300 handicraft designers, is nothing short of a feast for the senses. This is definite shopping must, also for when it comes to understanding Swedish heritage and where Sweden’s global design success story stems from.

INDEPENDENT SHOPPING ON SÖDERMALM AND KUNGSHOLMEN

The walk from Cityterminal to the Southern island of Södermalm takes you through Gamla Stan, old town, and it provides you with a nice break from straightforward shopping. Whilst there are some nice boutiques in this area, it is not generally speaking the district locals head to in the first instance. If you are into books, however, the Science Fiction bookstore is well worth a visit.

Cross the bridge at Slussen and enter Södermalm. Head up along the cobbled streets of Götgatan, where you will find shops like Weekday and Monki, before coming into SoFo and the hipster home of independent design. Go exploring in the streets around Nytorget and find the shops of local artists and designers, both big and small. There’s Acne, Ann-Sofie Back and Caroline Hjerpe, and coming designer behind popular feminist Kimberly collection, to mention a few.

If you like Hjerpe’s stuff, then do also check out Feministsmeden, The Feminist Smith on Kungsholmsgatan 4a in the Kungsholmen district. Her pieces are all handmade and created with the idea of promoting equal rights for all. We like!

Back on Södermalm, on Åsögatan you will find Stutterheim, makers of the sturdy rain coats that have taken Sweden by storm. In 2014 they collaborated with as lesbian rapper Silvana Imam, creating the rainbow-coloured Vladimir jacket and cementing them in queer fashion history.