5 Brands That Define Scandinavian Cool
Subdued hues were earlier considered drab, supposedly appealing to those without creative flair. That was until Scandinavian fashion arrived on the scene in a big way, creating effortless but modern clothes. Now, leather jackets underneath furry vests, turtleneck sweaters with sleeveless dresses and grey cashmere sweaters with skirts are climbing up the fashion board with admirable speed. Which is really not surprising, considering how Scandinavia is a gift that keeps on giving – remember the concept of ‘conscious contentment’ dubbed ‘hygge’? We’re convinced their sense of fashion stems from clothes and materials that gain character over time. Which is why we’ve rounded up our favourite Scandinavian fashion brands, hoping some of it rubs off on you.
HOUSE OF DAGMAR
The story: Siblings Karin Söderlind, Kristina Tjäder and Sofia Wallenstam were first introduced to the fashion realm by their grandmother, who was a tailor and stoked their interest in fabric and design. Together, they founded the fashion company ‘House of Dagmar’ as an ode to their source of inspiration. The brand’s trademark style is best described as unconventional and elegant with superior tailoring techniques. While printed pieces are few and far between, what really gives their design an edge are the severe silhouettes — which have always been a Swedish favourite.
The clincher: The relaxed tailoring means the brand can be your go-to choice for everyday wear, while the vague eccentricity hints that it can be worn to formal occasions if carried with noteworthy flair.
The story: Born to the head of fashion chain Gul & Bla, Filippa Knutsson’s choice of career came as no surprise to her parents, both of whom were creative souls. The designer’s mother took her under her wing to hone her talents and six years later, Filippa quit the company to find her feet with a label of her own. She likes to believe that her brand is a very personal affair and only caters to a small pie of the audience, which is far from true because her designs are wildly popular with Scandi fashion fiends.
The clincher: Launched with the aim of creating eternal classics that never go out of style, the brand’s offerings lie in the sweet spot between being uncomplicated while being modern enough to suit every occasion.
The story: Although the brand is headquartered in Denmark and deeply rooted in Scandinavian heritage, it takes a breather from the traditional colour palette to infuse its collections with bright pops of colour. Every season’s versatile collection makes it the choice of brand for the perfect date night or a slouchy Sunday. Family-owned and run by creative director Ditte Reffstrup and CEO Nicolaj Reffstrup since 2009, Ganni is represented in more than 400 of the world’s finest international retailers as well as in 18 concept stores in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
The clincher: A delightful amalgamation of Danish cool and Parisian nonchalance, Ganni’s denim and printed billowing dresses do complete justice to their target audience which is defined as girls that are playful, fiercely independent and uncomplicated.
The story: Karl-Oskar Olsen and Brian SS Jensen must have sailed effortlessly through the turbulence of adolescence and high school. That’s the only explanation for how they conceptualised Wood Wood, a brand that is as unpretentious as it is cool. Melding high fashion, sports, and streetwear with youth culture, art, and music, the brand produces styles that are a reflection of Scandinavian fashion’s clean silhouettes while staying true to their trademark whimsicality with signature buckets hats and logo sweatshirts.
The clincher: Their athleisure collaborations with major brands like Nike Adidas, Asics and Reebok have produced the kind of eclecticism that is hard to replicate. One of their most recent associations with Disney saw them artistically distorting Mickey Mouses’s image beyond recognition.
The story: Carin Rodebjer likes to believe that serendipity played a huge hand in the success of her eponymous brand. Born in Stockholm, she later moved to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and frequently took to the streets of the Big Apple in self-designed clothes. She realised that she had something good going when friends started praising her sense of fashion and cajoling her into designing outfits for them too. Before she knew it, stores in New York were vying for her designs and decided she was going to turn this DIY venture into a self-sustaining brand.
The clincher: Faithful patrons of the brand will know that it borrows heavily from music, film, art, literature, human rights, and feminists movements. Their kaftans and easy-to-wear dresses and kimonos are easily interchangeable in that they are appropriate for work as well as leisure.