Scandinavia has long been admired across the world for a fashion aesthetic as thoroughly attractive as its people. While Denmark gives Berlin a run for its money on young, creative street-style and Norway is a leader in outdoor wear, it is Sweden that rules the region when it comes to fashion. From high street to high end, Sweden’s famous pared back, effortlessly cool look is a failsafe style that flatters all who wear it. When it comes to Swedish style, these are the names you need to know.
If there’s one thing that the Swedes do well, it’s replicating a lifestyle on a mass scale. Take a look around, how much of the furniture in the room you’re in is from Ikea? The same goes for clothes: H&M is the world’s second largest fashion retailer, after Spanish behemoth Inditex. H&M may be a little basic for some, but you can’t beat it for quick fashion fix. Why spend megabucks on this season’s latest statement print when H&M will undoubtedly be riding the trend for £19.99 or less? Similarly, each winter’s designer collaboration, love it or loathe it, brings designers like Versace, Marni and Alexander Wang within reach of the style-hungry public.
However if the prospect of environmentally questionable fast-fashion that disintegrates after three washes leaves you cold, or if looking like everybody else out there simply will not do, the further reaches of the H&M group are on hand. Cos started out as the fashion industry’s worst kept secret. With a house style that’s Prada meets Comme des Garçons taking a city break to Stockholm, the brand quickly gained traction with editors, stylists and bloggers as high-design brand that won’t break the bank. Now with stores opening across the world, it looks like the secret’s out.
& OTHER STORIES
In a similar vein, & Other Stories is fast becoming a destination for modern, relevant womenswear. Since its launch in 2013, the brand has become a go-to for cutting edge clothes, shoes, accessories and cosmetics for the girl who wants to be effortlessly cool. Check out their UK flagship store on Regent Street: the clientele and staff alike are sartorial inspiration in themselves, and the shop is at the cutting edge of retail design.
However, if more casual, street wear influenced style is your thing then Cheap Monday is where it’s at. Taking inspiration from effortlessly stylish cool-kids of Stockholm or Copenhagen, Cheap Monday elevates denim and jersey to catwalk levels, but at a price tag that doesn’t sting. This is one to shop while away on a weekend break to a Scandinavian city, where you’ll enjoy prices that are 20–30% less than at home.
Similarly to Cheap Monday, if ever in the region for a vacation, do not leave without tracking down Weekday. The only H&M owned outlet that hasn’t made its way to the UK, Weekday is a modern and mindful high street power-brand that offers amazing basics, perfect denim and an understated panache that’s impossible to emulate. A definite must-see.
Another Swedish gem that’s hard to find in Britain is Hope. Considered separates for men and women are the order of the day, with a collection that lends itself to creating the perfect smart-casual capsule. Think a minimal, Scandi-cool version of All Saints. With prices in the £100-£600 price range this is a brand that is worth saving up for to either buy online, or on a trip to Sweden — the current exchange rate favours the pound, and will save you around 15%.
However, as we all know, the jewel in the Swedish fashion crown is the one and only Acne. With early beginnings as an advertising agency, Acne Studios (to give the brand its full name) has a reputation for excellence in offbeat casualwear. A staple on the Paris Fashion Week schedule, Acne takes jersey and denim and makes them an art form. Their success is obvious, with stores across four continents and ubiquity in the closets of the most fashionable. After all, what wardrobe is complete without a pair of Acne jeans? The attention to detail and irreverence of Acnes sums up all that is great about Swedish style, then puts it on a pedestal for all to admire.