The New Nordic Style Landscape — 12 brands that shake up the industry
If you still consider the Scandinavian style as being a gray-black lump, think again. These up and coming entrepreneurs are here to add innovation, sustainability, and colour to the market. And they’re here to stay.
March 24, 2021
The Danish fast-growing sustainable essentials brand has only been on the market for a few years. Yet, they run their own flagship stores in London, Paris, and Zurich and are available at more than 1,100 retailers all over the world. The company believes that colours are personal and exude a person’s story, mood, interests, and energy. In the Nordics, it can be easy to conform to the pack in more subtle, muted tones. Colorful Standard is that pop of colour you’ve been looking for to bring your wardrobe to life. With a diverse colour palette, there is a shade for each unique personality. And with their sustainability initiatives, they offer clothing that stands for a greater purpose.
The brand doesn’t care much for seasons or trends. They love sustainability, and they love colours. With that, they design timeless essentials that are made for the long-haul and never go out of style. They’re colouring the world in a responsible way with fair, organic, and uncomplicated products that are simultaneously bold and bright.
Moving forward, they will continue to produce clothing with full transparency and sustainability integrated into every single part of the production process. Speaking of transparency, they own their own manufacturing center in Portugal, where the doors are always open for visitors to come and see, which also enables a unique control of the manufacturing process. And, although they do not believe in seasons, they’re constantly evolving the products, creating gender-neutral essentials made from 100% organic cotton and extra-fine merino wool.
When founded five years ago, ADNYM created unisex collections from the start. Quite rare back then, but much more common these days, and the brand remains convinced that the gender-neutral mindset is the right and only path into the future.
The garments draw inspiration from the founders’ heritage, different personalities, and nationalities, combining silhouettes and colourways from Beirut and the Middle East with a Nordic, minimalistic aesthetic. Never compromising on either quality or fabrics, the timeless pieces aim to be a contrast to fast fashion in a world that spins faster and faster with less and less regard to what we leave behind for future generations. Designed for individuals, not gender, the garments can be worn oversized, undersized, or on size. ”We reach out to people who want to wear products that strengthen who they are rather than becoming what they wear”, to use their own words.
FW21 is separated into three parts, where the Main story is about the late 80s/early 90s Italian tailoring – oversized with square shapes and patterns. The part of the collection that the brand calls Permanent Story – Adnym’s DNA – is also oversized with dropped design and garment layers. And, lastly, the Secondary story refers to Blade Runner which is black, sport without being sport and inspired by modern space.
Five years ago, in 2016, CDLP set out to revolutionize men’s underwear, creating a new generation of products built with intention and purpose. Today, it’s grown into a design house of focused, luxury essentials within the categories of underwear, tops, swim, performance, and home. They include responsibility already in the design phase — ensuring that the products are made for a purpose and that longevity is supported by quality — and push innovation wherever they can, from technical solutions to future-orientated materials.
In addition to the products they create, CDLP describe themselves as storytellers.
— We believe a brand needs a soul and a voice, shares founding duo Andreas Palm and Christian Larson, and this translates to rich content within film, photography, and design. In the beginning, we brought a fresh perspective on men, masculinity and sensuality to the underwear category, noted in press everywhere from NY Times to Vogue – most recently seen in a beautiful campaign together with French iconic artist Sébastien Tellier.
Today, the brand’s vibrant visual narrative continues to flourish within the new categories, and the film and photography has earned the brand a cult following.
— This year I’m looking forward to presenting the expansion of our performance category Mobilité, to extend beyond the performance underwear we launched in 2020, says Christian Larson, artistic director. Wellness for us is about feeling great about yourself, more so than winning competitions. This translates to the new collection of Mobilité athletic wear in a relaxed silhouette – perfect layering pieces for pre- and post workout activities. I’m also excited to launch poolwear – our first extension of our swimwear range to cater to life not just in, but also around the pool with a small capsule of loungewear made in recycled viscose. In addition to that, we turn 5 this year, which of course will be celebrated with grandeur.
Airinum was started back in 2015 by childhood friends Alexander Hjertström and Fredrik Kempe, with a vision to create a world where everyone can breathe clean and healthy air again. To get there, their mission is two-folded; 1) they exist to create products that can empower people to live healthy lives regardless of their surroundings, and 2) be part of raising awareness and educating people about poor air quality and the climate crisis.
The aesthetic is based on Swedish design heritage with an innovative and contemporary twist, a heath accessory with a sleek design for everyday use, where the end consumer does not have to compromise on either looks or protection.
This year, they have a lot of exciting news coming up, both in terms of launching completely new products for the mask market, but also with design collaborations to raise funds for environmental initiatives.
The keyword for MANÉR is timelessness. It’s a critical view of where the industry is heading today in terms of ”fast fashion” and ”mass production”, where founders Warsame Jama and Ernesto Prosperi want to contribute to a change.
And how to accomplish that? Through a small line of timeless garments and small-scale production produced in a local environment in Malmö, Sweden, where the focus is on the sustainability aspect that comes with the traditional tailor craftsmanship. Last, but not least, hand-picked quality fabrics from weavers in Europe with long experience of production and to meet ethically good working conditions.
The same goes with the aesthetics where the products must work over several seasons and not be based on rapid trends.
— We want our products to be well used by our wearers and not to hang in the closet, Prosperi and Jama states. In this way, it is therefore important for us that our garments represent the idea of building a wardrobe with a view to sustainable fashion. We are in favor of a wardrobe that contains fewer garments that can be used during more seasons and together in several contexts.
The brand just started to work with hemp, a material that is good in many different ways, especially from an environmental point of view.
— It is a natural material that grows without the need for any artificial chemicals and works for several seasons, tells Prosperi and Jama. The fibers close in colder climates and open up in warmer conditions, so a hemp fabric is thus a perfect compliment to the spring and autumn jacket.
RUE DE TOKYO
”My main inspiration for the collection is always starting with the sea, it doesn’t matter if it is the summer or the winter,” says David Andersson Sahlin, designer of Rue De Tokyo. The Copenhagen-based brand’s collections are all about the way cultures collide and how historical shapes can get a new and exciting life when showing them in unexpected materials. The shapes are often inspired by French workwear and Japanese unconstructed tailoring.
Rue de Tokyo fits well into the new Nordic style landscape since the design is timeless and produced in order to last and be worn for a long time. They’re working with GOTS certified fabrics and small leftover cuts from high-quality European and Japanese fabric suppliers like Marzotto and Manteco.
The next major launch, which is currently in development to be released through a small drop this summer and the full launch in October, is Rue de Tokyo Maison.
— It will be a non-seasonal collection. We’ll start with pajamas, cashmere knitwear, yoga mats, and leather slippers. The idea is that this line will develop and, over time, also include more interior objects and textile for the home, tells Andersson Sahlin.
The Stockholm-based eyewear brand was created in 2016 by childhood friends Daniel Djurdjevic and Charlie Lindström. Combining directional design with everyday function, the collections are inspired by iconic, classic silhouettes, handcrafted from premium Italian acetate. A Performance line launched in 2019 – with Ski and Running coming up next – and the range also includes the more conceptual and experimental line Lab Collections. Chimi has been worn by creatives like Beyoncé, J Balvin, Elsa Hosk and Young Thug, to mention a few.
This year, the brand replaced its entire Core Collection, and for this spring, they’re releasing a playful collaboration with the iconic Swedish caviar brand Kalles Kaviar.
Chimi has also started the Solar Project, where a portion of the proceeds will be invested in solar power projects that bring renewable energy to where it’s needed the most. By purchasing a pair of Chimi’s, you are supporting the sun’s power to harvest vital energy and electricity worldwide.
Seven years ago, Norwegian brothers Alex and Seb Adams had long been searching for the perfect baseball cap but could never find one with the quality and shape they desired. After twelve months of intense planning, design, and development, Varsity Headwear’s first collection of caps was launched.
Fast-forward seven years, the brand has continued to build the business step by step. Their caps are sold through their two flagship shops in Oslo and St Tropez and some of the most prestigious stores around the world, such as Bergdorf Goodman and Selfridges.
— Our goal from the beginning, the brothers share, has been to create timeless, high-quality caps that are made responsibly. With over seven years of continuous design and development, we have perfected the shape and fit of our products.
The signature cap shape is available in a wide range of premium materials from some of the world’s most luxurious and sustainable mills, to accommodate different climates.
— We believe that the combination of sophisticated design and premium materials makes for the highest quality cap possible. We believe that The New Nordic Style Landscape holds businesses accountable for the impact of their products. Because we are product specialists, we are able to trace every component of our cap and are currently working on innovative solutions to reducing the impact they make. We are currently conducting a CO2 audit to understand the true impact of our business and we will use this to guide our future plans and innovations.
This summer, Varsity Headwear will be launching their first deconstructed cap, made from collected plastic bottles from the ocean.
The duo behind the Swedish premium footwear brand come from a long creative and entrepreneurial background. As the creative mind behind Paul Smith shoes for 12 years, following many years in the fashion industry, Antonio Panella is one of the leading names when it comes to designing handcrafted footwear. Henrik Hobik is the main owner of distribution and license company Selected Brands Nordic, working with leading brands like Kenzo, Hackett, Lacoste, and, mentioned, Paul Smith.
As the name suggests, Project TWLV is based on the idea of a boot project with a collection of 12 styles. It combines traditional classics with edgier styles in a small, contemporary range for men and women. Designed and curated by the best designers and artisans in Italy and Sweden, the product and materials is the result of a perfect blend between the two countries, combining Nordic aesthetics and Italian craftsmanship. The range also includes a line of Shell Cordovan styles, made to order.
And, even though the collection of Goodyear welted shoes has grown much bigger than 12 styles, the focus on handcrafted details for a unique look remains. Now available at several of the leading retailers and department stores across the world.
”Clever, bold, and, safe to say, like nothing else out there.” That’s how founder duo Nicklas Abrahamsson and Benjamin Lega describe their Gothenburg-based swim and resort wear brand. The street-style-like aesthetics captures the retro look in an edgy, eye-catching proposition, where the conventional goes out of the window for a more creative way of testing the boundaries of resort wear and its cross-over to mainstream fashion.
Their campaign films are humorous and edgy and their photoshoots mix the raw outdoors with the neon lights of Tokyo youth culture. Sustainability is also high on the agenda of the business with both some swim shorts and packaging made from either discarded ocean plastics, recycled, or organic materials. There is also a distinct focus on the packaging of products.
— We try to create nicely designed packaging like the recycled PVC bag that can be re-used either for keeping wet swimwear in or as a beach bag to carry and protect personal items, such as phones or wallets, tells Lega.
Now in their fourth year, founders Gustav Peterson and Emrik Olausson find themselves as the driving force beyond a new ”Wearable Art” movement. Bold, new collaborations are a constant feature and mark of their evolution, none more so than in their SS21 collection, which sees them presenting high-end luxury T-shirts, lounge suits, sweats, hoodies, bombers, and swimwear alongside creative names including Giuliano Bekor, Ed Caraeff, Al Satterwhite, and Tyler Shields.
Working with the best craftspeople available and with a focus on attention to the finest detail, LIMITATO takes its sartorial expertise and channels it into some of the most thought-provoking and statement-led apparel within the high-end market.
Marking the new Autumn 2021 season, the team will launch their most exciting partnership to date with photographer Ellen Von Unwerth, which will be available across eye-catching garments in a collection at the highest profile stores across the globe, including Harrods, The Webster, Jelmoli, and Apropos. Next year will see the young, dynamic Swedish duo partner with a major US-based designer.
The contemporary menswear brand was established three years ago, in 2018, by two individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Dane Tobias Billetoft, a Copenhagen Business School graduate, met South Korean architectural and fashion design student Sangchan Lee through a mutual friend.
— Even though we were from two very different cultures, we had a lot in common, and the clash between our different cultures are what have made HGBB STUDIO today, the duo tells.
Together, they aim to break down the visible and invisible boundaries in the fashion industry. They combine their Scandinavian and Asian heritage and bring a minimalist style, tailoring, and heavy duty constructed clothing that Billetoft and Lee mean differs from the established brands’ path of being simply visual and one-dimensional.
The fabrics include Japanese cotton in all the shirts and Kuroki denim and the collections are divided into three lines, which can be seen on the neck labels. The H line represents timeless items, which will always be in stock, the Brilliant line represents the experimental part as well as more sophisticated pieces, and the Belief line includes bridge pieces.