Become an expert on Swedish style and the trends coming out of the Nordic capital and the seasonal trends that have become synonymous with Swedish style.
Ever since the emergence of the Swedish pop culture of the 90’s; The Cardigans, Robyn and Kent, Swedish fashion has emerged as the guardian of northern minimalism and quality fashion. Sweden has pitted leisurely dressed yet confident and conscious fashion in unwavering export pushes ever since. This hunger for global domination through style and design is often married with an exquisite business sense, helping to push the canvas-like basics of Swedish fashion to the metropols of the world. In the past 20 years Swedish fashion exports have grown to a staggering 24 billion USD, making up almost 10% of the country’s total exports. This is in great deal thanks to the polestars of the 90’s maturing through the new millennium.
Today, Swedish fashion brands are bolder than ever, moving beyond simple canvas-like designs to signature pieces and the promotion of unisex fashion, setting a global standard for both quality and creativity.
Less is more
The appeal of Swedish fashion can be boiled down to two things: an embrace of “less is more” and open-minded creativity when it comes to unisex wear.
Sweden’s focus on minimalism started as a mimicry of the Danish interior design- and architecture wave that has swept across the world. As the Nordic countries have emerged as world leaders within pretty much any given wellfare-index they have fostered a uniquely simple, yet striking sense of design. Today, Swedish designers draw inspiration from across the pond (America), but with a slim and toned down take on it. In addition, the style has even adapted a patriotic touch. Any Swede will recognize another walking across the street abroad and feel pride in the common elements that are so subtle, yet distinguishable. The homegrown designers have nurtured this sense of pride through establishing a sense of quality and sustainability that is hard to beat.
Swedish designers feel a responsibility to continuously reinvent both their designs and production processes; turning them into polestars and inspiration for their fans. In trying to be conscious leaders for their fans, Swedish brands have been drivers of moving production home to Europe. Brands like Stutterheim and Uniforms for the Dedicated have made it a selling point to produce close-to-home, to take care of the scrap and to produce circular fashion, clothes of lasting quality that can be sold through second-hand. Ultimately, designers and brands have taken the steering wheel for Swedish fashion trends and production, setting the agenda for both style and demands.
“Swedish designers feel a responsibility to continuously reinvent both their designs and production processes… turning them into polestars and inspiration for their fans.”
Designers and brands have ceased to be satisfied with your run-to-the-mill gray-scale canvas-style clothing. Swedish designers and brands, lead by COS and Eton, have started exploring colors and patterns that pay a certain homage to the chic Lacoste collections of the 00’s or Italian extravagants Etro. These new ventures benefit from an ever-growing tech scene in Stockholm, a scene where high-income professionals find themselves experiencing complete and total freedom to mix styles, layers and colors. Swedes, however, no matter how inspired they allow themselves to be by the San Francisco-tech-style; and designs from continental Europe, never forget the gray basics and slim fits.
Armed with ecological consciousness, San Francisco style, mediterranean colors and the Scandinavian fit, Swedish men and women have climbed the top style-lists of the world. Despite being a society governed, at times painfully, by the Law of Jante, Swedish designers and style icons keep pushing style boundaries and putting Sweden on the map as a creative fashion superpower.
Whether we are talking high fashion, slow fashion, fast fashion, tailored fashion or whatever type of fashion you want, Swedes pride themselves in expressing excellence and consciousness through their style. Here is a snapshot of how to capture the Swedish style, season by season.
Swedish style – spring fashion is in your head and the air
Swedish spring comes right after a long period of darkness, cold and low-key depressions. Swedes burst out the door wearing white, white, white and flowers. Post-Ingmar Bergman swedes are more colorful and continental than before and they like to show it. During spring, especially.
Men’s fashion is more cautious in the spring. The jacket stays on and makes a slight adjustment from winter’s dark brown, dark gray or pitch black to a more modest, less heat-attractive shade. You are sure to spot droves of men sporting bomber jackets from Tiger of Sweden, a pair of sneakers from Axel Arigato and anything from Marc O’Polo‘s latest shirt collections.
Swedish style – summer is all about flexibility
Summer in Sweden is spelled OUTDOORS. Stockholmers go out to their summer houses, trekking, travelling, swimming. Literally anywhere. Swedish summer fashion is reflected in this, as Swedes dress functionally, flexibly and most of all in breathable fashion. The days are long, very long. This puts a certain pressure on the self-conscious dresser. What you put on in the morning must last all day, last through heat, dirt and that BBQ-flirt.
Swedish women are sporty and active (both with regards to sports and the nightlife) and they dress accordingly. You will see comfortable skirts from Filippa K, coats from ACNE and definitely sportswear from H&M and Nike.
Photograph by SØREN JEPSEN
Men are more formal in the summer than in spring. The long nights make for long evening walks, for which a jacket is perfect. The colors are bright, but always with a gray base. Swedish summer is fairly mild compared to the heat-filled Italian summer or humid climates of southern Asia. The breezy winds and comparatively cool temperatures make it easy for any man to feel fashionable all year around.
Swedish style – The leaves will fall fashionably
The word “layers” is as synonymous with fall as leaves are. Fall in Sweden gets dark, cold and damp; fast. It almost seems as if though the whole country enters a brief period of depression. For fashionistas, it is the perfect time to catch up with vintage, layers and shining through details.
So, rather than freezing in the name of fashion, Swedes make those accessories part of your winter outfit. As the Swedes say, rather optimistically: “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes”.
Swedish fall fashion is accented by perfect accessories. No outfit is complete without a pair of leather gloves from Hestra, a scarf from Danish fashion brand By Malene Birger or a raincoat from Stutterheim.
Photograph by SØREN JEPSEN
As gender role breaking as fashion is in Sweden, it never gets more evident than when fall comes around. Layers, coats, brown colors. It goes around and throughout. During the fall you see men sporting checkered shirts from Cheap Monday, coats and jackets from Tiger of Sweden and shoes from Rizzo.
Swedish style – Winter fashion is coming
Photograph by SØREN JEPSEN
If you are struggling with staying warm and looking cool at the same time, then you should go to Stockholm. Have a look in the way people are dressing there. The winter style is an extrapolated version of fall fashion. Yet again everything is in the details. Every look has something unique and individual through accessories, whether its the bag of the season from Sandqvist or new knits from Maska.
Photograph by Oscar Jacobson
This is where men’s and women’s fashion diverge. Rather than building on top of the autumn style of layering, Swedish men’s style takes a halt with the layering. Instead, Swedish men add thickness and quality during the winter. There are few things that are constant in a Swedish man’s wardrobe as his favorite coat. Swedish men’s winter outfits are of highest quality and as dapper as it gets.