This Is What Defines Scandi Style, According To The Designers Behind It

Decode the trends from Copenhagen.

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Courtesy of Stine Goya
Stine Goya styling photo.
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During fashion month across New York, London, Paris, and Milan, you expect to see legendary labels like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry to show their collections. But in Copenhagen, you'll find that the three-day schedule is chock-full of emerging brands that may not have the same name recognition, but are equally exciting within the industry. But, what exactly is Scandinavian style? According to Denmark and Sweden's rising brands, there are a few key details that set the region apart.

Even if you aren't familiar with many Danish labels, you've likely heard of fashion girl-favorite GANNI. Co-Founder Ditte Reffstrup says that defining Scandinavian style is in part what led her to start the label over 10 years ago. "I remember feeling there was something missing from the Copenhagen fashion scene," she tells TZR. "I wanted to create something that reflected the way my friends and I dress." Back in 2009, Reffstrup says there were two predominant views of Scandivian style: boho chic and Scandinavian minimalism. "I just didn't relate any of that to my own style, or the way my friends dressed. So we decided to create GANNI, full of contrasts and personality — it's what we call 'Scandi style 2.0.'"

As for Susanne Holzweiler, co-founder of Holzweiler, she believes overall for Scandinavia, the focus is on effortlessness, with an emphasis on quality and good materials. Plus, she says that stylish layering and functionality are key as residents are either out in nature or on a bike around town. "There are different signature styles to each country; Denmark is often more colorful and stylish, where Sweden is very crisp and minimalistic and Norway is a little more about great knitwear and outdoor details due to the weather and landscape," she tells TZR.

According to Stine Goya, when she founded her brand in 2008, Scandi fashion was synonymous with minimalism, which translated to muted palettes, slick shapes, and classic finishes. But now, Goya says no two brands are the same, and the vibe is completely different. "The Danes dress to suit a life that's vibrant, relaxed, and expressive," she tells TZR. "Nothing needs to match, you always want to be comfortable and there is always something new to discover and express yourself with." Likewise, Nellie Kamras, founder of Stand Studio, says historically, Scandinavian style has been all about minimalistic aesthetics, however she believes that has shifted a lot. "It’s more fun, effortless, and colorful than it used to be," she tells TZR.

Below, find everything you need to know about Scandi fashion style. You'll probably discover a few emerging brands, too.

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Scandinavian Style: Capsule Wardrobe

Goya says the Scandinavian capsule wardrobe really differs from person to person, but for her, part of the perfect curated lineup is an oversized dress, fun piece of knitwear, sneakers, and statement hair clips. "We like anything that's full of personality but still easy-going, that works when riding a bike or on a spontaneous trip to the sea," she says. "This is why one of our key collection staples is our classic Jasmine dress. It’s so easy to wear from season to season, whether it’s over trousers in winter or with a pair of simple sandals in the summer."

And according to Nynne Kunde, founder of Nynne, Scandi girls lean towards a few essential pieces that they build their wardrobes around. These staples include a trench coat or long thick jacket, nice trousers, long dress, and a knit.

Scandinavian Style: Colors & Prints

Maj-La Pizzelli, co-founder and creative director of ATP Atelier, says it's all about expressing yourself and being bold with colors. "Scandinavians used to be all about black and beige," she notes. "We still are, to some extent, but we’ve added orange, pink, and green as our new neutrals. I think you should really have fun with the color palette of your wardrobe!" This includes embracing textures like crocodile and prints like paisley and checks.

Scandinavian Style: Current Trends

Malene Wallin Birkrem, global PR & marketing manager at By Malene Birger, says that unsurprisingly, right now, it's all about sweatshirts. "Due to lockdown and restrictions, people are spending more time in nature, so there’s definitely an outdoor and workwear trend going on as well," she adds. Wallin Birkrem adds that, of late, people prefer chunky hiking boots, utility jackets, yoga pants, and sweatpants. To add to that, Karin Söderlind, CEO and founder of House of Dagmar, is noticing soft suiting, like a knitted hoodie and pants, or a nice cotton hoodie and trouser.

Scandinavian Style: Styling Tricks

"Scandinavian women really like to dress things ‘down’, which is a great way to wear extravagant things more often," Julie Brøgger, founder of Brøgger, tells TZR. For instance, she says this could be a big knit over an evening dress, or as Nynne suggests, wearing trousers under their going out dresses. Another favorite styling trick favored by Scandi women is wearing men's clothing. Kamras suggests borrowing from the closet of a friend or partner. "You just pick his coat, shirt, and jeans and you're done. Style with sneakers or heels," she says.

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