You know London’s creativity from Milan’s heritage, Paris’ classicism from New York’s diversity — but one corner of the world is giving the four major fashion capitals some considerable competition. Enter the Scandi style set.
If you’re feeling inspired, and — let’s be honest — a little bit envious of Scandinavia’s fresh take on minimal-meets-maximal, you’re certainly not the only one. The rest of the world has forever idolised everything from Scandinavia’s Mid-Century furniture design to its down-to-earth, cosy concepts like ‘hygge’.
The fashion crowd is no exception when it comes to Scandi infatuation. Inspired by the region’s effortless take on comfortable and classic-yet-cool outfits, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo fashion weeks pioneer their exciting vision for the season ahead.
We discussed all things Scandi style, trends, and brands with Swedish Product Developer and Content Creator, Ellen Claesson (@ellenclaesson).
What is Scandinavian Style?
Once associated with strict basics, Scandinavian fashion has evolved to place comfort at the forefront of everything. ‘For me, it’s both minimalistic and conscious,’ says Ellen. ‘People in Scandinavia are generally very aware and interested in their local fashion industry.’
‘People value well-sewn garments and stylish cuts, and we embrace the functionality of everyday life in Scandinavia. But hey, we also have incredible brands to showcase.’
For some time, Scandi style was stuck in a minimal echo chamber, known for tonal hues and head-to-toe black. Brands like GANNI and Stine Goya have refreshed the colour palette with welcoming bold and bright additions. This is Scandi 2.0.
And while both Danish and Swedish designers continue to thrive on new iterations of the crisp white shirt and tailored trousers, swathes of floor-skimming floral dresses styled with comfy trainers are just as relevant.
After all, practicality defines the Scandinavian look, and we’re not just talking about a pair of runners on the cobbled Nørrebro streets — we’re talking about an all-round practical approach to dressing for modern life.
If you want to wear maximalist sleeves and strappy mules, do it (but bring a basket bag too, and make sure the fit is appropriate for cycling). Don’t be afraid to ‘dress-up’, but mix and match your own version of ‘high and low’ dressing for the perfect contrast.
What’s the biggest difference between Swedish and Danish aesthetics?
According to Ellen, ‘Danish fashion is much more relaxed and carefree, in a good way. They are better at incorporating colour, and they’re a little bit more fun — I like that. In Sweden, style is more considered and minimalistic. I like to mix it up, and I wear relaxed cuts in a pared-back way.’
How to get the Scandinavian Look
While Scandi style might be aspirational, it’s by no means unattainable. The minimalist approach that first drew the international eye to the region now incorporates more freedom of expression than ever.
Light Tailoring with Acne Studios
‘I always wear Acne Studios as it is a Swedish favourite. I recently bought a pair of loose linen trousers.’
What started as a creative collective went on to become the global reference of minimalism.
Jonny Johansson’s elevated staples over at Acne Studios also happen to be rooted in Swedish art and culture. Think oversized blazers, chunky trainers and Musubi bags — perfect for a daily Fika (or, social cup of coffee) in Stockholm’s SoFo.
Scandi 2.0 with GANNI
Ask the best-dressed girl at any party what she’s wearing, and nine times out of ten it’s GANNI. We all want to be that ‘GANNI Girl’ — and we can be. Headed up by husband-and-wife duo, Nicolaj and Ditte Reffstrup, the brand transcends trends for everybody and every body. Bringing colour, print and sustainable fashion to Copenhagen, standout pieces include chunky boots, printed shirts and of course, the oversized collar blouse.
Jeans and Chunky Boots with Eytys
‘Eytys have the best jeans. I always feel so comfortable and confident when I wear them!’
Would contemporary fashion exist without the perfect pair of jeans? It’s unlikely. Stockholm-brand Eytys (which has a strong claim to being one of the originators of the chunky trainer trend) combines the workwear aesthetic of ‘90s East Los Angeles with the effortless appeal of Scandi style. Choose between slim-fit classics and Titan wide-leg jeans. Don't forget the footwear.
Standout Dresses with ROTATE
Just in case you needed another reason to look to the Danes for style inspiration, add ROTATE to your radar. Founded by friends and ex-colleagues Thora Valdimars and Jeanette Friis Madsen, the brand’s puff sleeves and high necks are offset by sky-high mini hems. Designed for dancing into the early hours, you’ll wear ROTATE pieces on rotation — quite literally.
Conscious Staples with Filippa K
The original Scandi idol, Filippa K is best known for establishing the now-iconic minimal look back in the early ‘90s. Designed to last, the brand interprets fashion into wearable, aesthetically balanced pieces that stand the test of time. From plain white tees to everyday sandals, build the basis of your wardrobe with the planet in mind.
Clashing Prints with Stine Goya
Surpassing all Scandi stereotypes, Stine Goya is more playful than most. Bringing colour and print-soaked pieces to a landscape dominated by minimalism, the brand sees fashion as life’s primary mode of expression. If you’re inclined to stick with florals, then this one’s for you.
Everyday Uniform with Totême
Changing the game when it comes to investment pieces, Totême is the brainchild of blogger Elin Kling and her husband, Karl Lindman. A ‘style uniform with a single aesthetic', the brand is here to help you conquer the hardest-to-achieve fashion goal of them all — looking effortless. Cotton T-shirts, leather trousers, and knits are some of the industry’s best-kept secrets.
Ruffles and Tailoring with Brøgger
London-based with a Copenhagen spirit? That’s Brøgger. Bringing innovative fabrics to the design scene, Danish designer Julie Brøgger sways between sharp lines and soft draping. Confirming that opposites do in fact attract, bring contrast to your wardrobe with ruffled tops and tailored blazers.
Playful Contrasts with Baum und Pferdgarten
For the creative-minded, Baum und Pferdgarten reflects the two designers’ aesthetics. Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave have been at the core of Denmark’s fashion scene since the turn of the century. Investing in artists and focusing on inclusivity? It’s a yes from us.
Forever Pieces with Cecilie Bahnsen
Remember when puff-sleeve dresses with swooping skirts and delicate detailing started to appear on your Instagram feed? It’s all thanks to Cecilie Bahnsen. Reviving and subverting traditional notions of femininity, the Danish designer aims to craft effortless clothes to last and transform — and she’s winning. Baby-doll dresses? Nailed it. Cottagecore? Invented it.