It’s fair to say that Scandinavia’s contribution to modern menswear hasn’t gone unnoticed. Northern Europe’s signature clean-cut, simplified aesthetic has not only dominated the fashion industry in recent years, but inspired a minimalist movement across the globe.
With independent design houses and collectives pushing against the norm, Scandi labels have created a world where high quality design rules and mainstream trends are a trivial matter. The result? Timeless, effortless and practical menswear that is built to last.
To celebrate the influence of great Scandinavian design, we’ve hand-picked our favourite brands from the region. Your wardrobe deserves something from all of them.
This Stockholm-based multidisciplinary label was founded in 1997 as part of a creative collective with a focus on graphic design, film and production.
Breaking out as a fashion brand in 2006, Acne (aka Ambition to Create Novel Expressions) brought Scandi-cool to the masses with its bold designs and clean-lined silhouettes.
Passion for high quality denim runs through the veins this eco-friendly Swedish label, which quickly expanded from a studio in Gothenburg to outlets in over 20 countries.
The founders of this Nordic brand have a unique approach when it comes to design – their pieces are “like a classic garment from your grandfather’s wardrobe, remodelled to our life and time”.
As a result, we’re treated to simple, unfussy separates designed to transcend the seasons. Turn to Our Legacy if you’re looking to build a high quality, timeless wardrobe.
With roots in the skating world, Norse Projects brings a touch of rebellion to everything it does.
From bright shades to striking patterns, the Danish brand isn’t afraid to stand out, but never strays into brash or garish territory. These clever colour combinations result in original looks that demand attention.
With its slightly more preppy approach to fashion, this Swedish label rose to fame due to its innovative golfing designs back in the nineties.
For the present day, J.Lindeberg still serves up sporty, casual styles with a contemporary twist. Think clean lines and unfussy pieces that are a world away from its American sporting equivalents.
Tiger Of Sweden
Established in 1903 as a tailoring brand, Tiger of Sweden has well and truly adapted itself to meet the needs of the modern day man.
Following a revamp in 1993, the brand has garnered a cult following due its versatile suiting and sharp separates, an edgy take on tailoring that’s miles away from boring officewear.
With the two N’s in its title meaning ‘No Nationality’, this Copenhagen-born label is dedicated to design without borders.
Within its collections you’ll find high quality basics, classic pieces and wardrobe staples that are sure to live on for seasons to come. You’re also able to pick up everything you need in once place, making for a straightforward, streamlined shopping experience.
Despite sharing a name with a well-known British institution, shirt label Eton actually hails from the village of Gånghester in Sweden.
Starting out as a kitchen table business in 1928, the brand now sells its market leading selection of expertly crafted shirts and dapper accessories around the globe, with flagship stores in London and New York.
A trio of Danish shop owners are the masterminds behind this achingly cool Scandinavian brand, which produces sports- and streetwear-inspired pieces with a luxurious touch.
While silhouettes are kept clean, Wood Wood’s prints are bright, bold and intricate, bringing a new level of interest to some tried and tested designs.
Thanks to its growing popularity, the label has teamed up with the likes of Champion, Disney and END Clothing over the years.
A true Scandinavian fashion powerhouse, Selected Homme was formed in 1997 and is now stocked in over twenty-five countries.
Providing affordable, great value menswear, the brand is a one stop shop for all of your minimalist needs. If you’re looking to reinvent your wardrobe on a budget, Selected Homme is a fine first port of call.
Larsson & Jennings
This Anglo-Swedish brand became known for its minimalist designs shortly after its founding in 2012. If you wanted a stripped back, well-made wrist-watch under £100, you went to Larsson & Jennings.
You still can do that, and you’ll be undoubtedly pleased, but there’s plenty more on offer these days from this corner of the watch world. Expect vintage style driving watches, cushion shaped cases, modernist art-inspired dress watches and, of course, the classic three-handers the brand is lauded for. And all at affordable price points.
Swedish brand Spalwart has built up somewhat of a cult following since its inception. Its designs aren’t retro-inspired, they are actually just old. The two founders of the company stumbled across the factory in 2010, which produced trainers in the 1950s, and decided the moulds were worth reusing. They were right.
Exceptionally well-made, and in the same manner they were 60 years ago, the most impressive style is the Marathon – a retro running shoe made from suede, leather and with chunky rubber soles.
If you want a classic hooded raincoat, you go to Stutterheim. Made from rubberised cotton and with a snap button front, taped seams and made by hand, no less, the brand’s Stockholm coat may be all you need to stay dry.
There’s also knitwear, lightweight spring jackets and thermals, all of which are designed to keep you warm and dry, whilst still looking good – a tricky feat indeed.
Scandinavian design is synonymous with minimalism, and Sandqvist is no different. Coming straight out of Stockholm, the stylish Swedes behind this brand had a clear eye for design right from the get go.
Highlights include simple but functional backpacks and leather cross body bags which stylishly nod to the trend. Sandqvist also places a lot of emphasis on sustainability too, so you can be sure you’re investing in guilt-free quality.
It’s hard to believe Tretorn was born in 1891 when you look at the modernity of the styles it offers today. True to stereotypically Swedish style, there’s plenty of pared back minimal trainers on offer, from plain white canvas sneaks through to suede slip ons.
One design element remains a constant for the most part though – Tretorn’s signature ‘v’ which adorns most of its well-made, easy to wear trainers.
A Day’s March
There are plenty of options if you’re after chore jackets and work shirts today, but few can rival the quality of A Day’s March.
Utilising a range of different fabrics, from corduroy to linen and cotton, this Swedish outpost is a one stop shop for a capsule wardrobe. The outerwear is top notch, but you’ll also find perfectly fitting tailored trousers, Oxford shirts and knitwear.
CMMN Sweden is far more directional than most of its Scandinavian cousins. While you will find the odd minimal piece, plenty of its garments take on trendy elements – there’s oversized outerwear, neons and bright shades and even leather pool sliders.
Highlight pieces include grosgrain trimmed sweatpants, baggy tailoring and a striped knitted polo shirt.
Similarly, Eytys is far from the ‘Scandi chic’ aesthetic many crave. It’s most noted for its pumped up, chunky shoes which come bolted on platform soles – a bold look we know.
Elsewhere you will find more easily wearable styles the likes of Derbys and simple white trainers, and raw denim makes an appearance here and there too.
You’ll know Fjallraven – walk down any high street and you will have seen one of its backpacks over the shoulders of both the young and old.
Fjallraven is the everyman of backpacks, known mostly for its Kanken style, although there is plenty else on offer, from waterproof field jackets and subtly washed T-shirts.
If you’re after a wardrobe overhaul, your first stop should be Arket. Whatever you want, they’ve got it – from heavyweight sweatshirts to functional outerwear, and branded trainers to stylish home decor.
Visit an Arket store in person and you won’t want to leave – they’re expertly laid out, and as you’d expect, pleasingly minimal in design, which is befitting of the brand’s quality clothing.
At first glance, Cos lives up to the Scandi stereotype. Simple, clean designs and muted colourways are the order of the day, but look a little closer and you’ll see it offers more.
For example, a navy blazer will be oversize of cut, and made from crease-proof cotton with no padding ensuring it can be screwed up in a suitcase and thrown on before a business meeting for minimal hassle. Trousers are a highlight too – wide legged, pleated designs are to be found at price points well below designer versions.
Minimal sneakers are nothing new, but some brands do them better than others. C.QP are up there with the very best. It uses construction techniques normally reserved for Jermyn Street shoemakers – all its shoes are handmade, come with carefully stitched rubber soles and feature metal shanks for added arch support.
Look out for the Racquet Sr style, perhaps the perfect minimal sneaker, albeit with a slightly chunkier sole than usual for a more contemporary feel.