The Scandi Style Revolution

There’s nothing boring or minimalist about the new wave of Scandi chic. Fashion guru Michelle Duguid celebrates the vibrancy of the movement this summer.

That famous Scandi modernist aesthetic is now one of fashion’s clichés, like the effortlessly chic Parisienne; the Calvin Klein-clad, sharp-edged New Yorker, or the Italian in soft-shouldered tailoring. But it’s clear that this idea of Nordic fashion no longer always holds true. The love of well-chosen monochrome dressing is still going strong, but there are many more ways to dress now than the cliché suggests. So, what does Scandi style actually look like in summer 2024?

Before talking style, we need some context. The term Scandinavia denotes Norway, Sweden and Denmark.  Scandi girls have long been a major source of style inspiration, from the minimalist aesthetic to the eclectic we’ve seen dominating street style in recent seasons.  Cecilie Thorsmark CEO of Copenhagen Fashion Week sums it up in Vogue Business, “There is no set visual of what defines Scandi style anymore, which we wholeheartedly welcome. What we want to show the world is the wonderful kaleidoscope of perspectives that this inspiring region can encompass.” 

Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm all celebrate their thriving fashion scene with a dedicated fashion week and although they are still fairly small in comparison to the big established four (London, Paris, New York and Milan) they certainly pack a stylish punch. One of the people that you will always see in the best dressed front row line up is Mona M. Ali. She is the founder of Fiiri Agency based in Stockholm which is the first diverse and inclusive agency rooted in the desire for inclusive representation in front of the camera and behind it. She believes that, “Fashion should be for everyone, not one style set.” Mona was born in Somalia and moved to Sweden when she was young. She is also Vogue’s first Diversity and Inclusion Editor and she feels it’s important to inspire others to think beyond conventional boundaries. She explains, “As an immigrant and refugee in Sweden, I’ve embraced the opportunity to stand out and infuse my heritage and love for the ‘70s with Scandinavian minimalism. For me, it’s about celebrating both cultures and finding harmony in the fusion of diverse.” 

In recent years, design and style has also become looser and more personal. Although TikTok blew up last year with many accounts of how to dress like a Scandi girl, most influencers used the modernist blueprint for clean easy dressing including headphones that matched in a neutral shade. TikTok influencer @readwritethrift however offered her own take on Scandi style that seemed much more personal and far from formulaic. “Step one: grab a maxi dress. The more ruffles and pattern and ruffles the better,” she began in the clip which has since amassed over 2.6 million views. “Up next is a pair of socks or tights that doesn’t match the dress. Then you’re going to want to grab your pair of ugliest running shoes. On top of the dress you’re going to add a knit layer, a vest or cardigan works, then a balaclava, some chunky glasses, an oversized dress coat and then a slouchy, neutral, oversized bag.”

If you’ve ever worn a puff-sleeved dress with chunky shoes, or a statement-collared blouse under a fluffy knit, chances are you’ve been influenced by Ganni. It’s not just the eclectic but wearable pieces themselves, or their sweet-spot pricing, that’s made Ganni so popular. Its distinctive cool has built up a cult following driven by how Creative Director Diette Reffstrup herself wants to dress. Speaking to Who What Wear, Reffstrup says, “People have a picture of Scandinavian style as either very premium or very androgynous and that was actually why I wanted to do Ganni because I couldn’t recognise myself.” 

It’s all about the contrast; wearing something feminine and pairing it with a pair of sneakers or denim. Its laid back and playful and certainly has that ‘cool girl’ vibe. The hashtag #Gannigirls had been used about 109k times on Instagram. “I remember the first time I discovered Ganni like it was yesterday,” says Fashion Editor Veronika Heilbrunner. “They were on beautiful girls wearing no makeup, and they looked simply badass.” For Reffstrup, the hashtag has become much more than viral marketing and is symbolic of what Ganni Girl stands for. “I think it’s important to say Ganni Girls is plural,” she asserts. “Scandi fashion is much more about a feeling or state of mind than anything else.” 

11 Nordic fashion take aways for spring/summer 2024

1. Keeping it clean

If all the chatter about eccentric dressing isn’t your thing, then there is a couple of great new brands that show that there is still room for a healthy dose of Scandi minimalism in the mix. Mark Kenly Domino Tan whose collection offers a fresh take on the pared-back aesthetic via a series of Korean-inspired silhouettes, alongside shirting with a twist. We also love BLMBRG for their contemporary collection that cuts through the chatter.,

2. Stine Goya forever

One of the original nineties supermodels, Helena Christensen, graced the Stine Goya runway in Copenhagen this year. Fittingly, the Danish model closed the ‘homecoming’ show, which was staged on the cobbled residential street where the Danish designer lives.

3. New  kid on the Scandi Block

Nicklas Skovgaard is the new name to watch. He began his brand almost by accident, after starting to weave his own textiles on an old loom found at a thrift store. His unconventional take on the traditional fashion show format saw model and performance artist Britt Liberg trying on the designer’s bubble-skirt dresses and beautifully draped designs, while striking a series of poses amidst a series of mannequins.

4. Button down

We love a styling hack from the runway, not least because we can try it without buying anything new. This summer’s hottest styling tip according to the Scandi set? Fastening your long shirts and cardigans via a single button; ideally the one located just above your belly button, if you’re wearing nothing beneath, to both cover your modesty and give that subtle flash of stomach.

5. Classic  bling

Whatever your fashion taste then good design should always be at the heart of it.  Gabriella Lundgren is a modernist jewellery designer of season-less pieces designed to elevate the everyday. Swedish founder Gabrielle who used to work for Acne Studios and Stella McCartney, offers the structural simplicity and clean lines of Scandinavian design These are pieces you want to cherish.

6. AI forward

Complementing this season’s theme, Ganni worked with AI artist Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm to create five ‘more humanised’ AI bots in the form of living trees that talked (via speakers hung from the branches), programmed to represent the Ganni girl who likes to stay up late and dance on tables at parties.

7. Shimmer this summer

Silver is having a moment across the board, but if you are feeling adventurous then wearing metals in any colour will make you shine. Cool-girl brand Saks Potts showed bikini tops, skirts, and jackets that had some aspect of gleam to them.

8. Arty crowd

Art meets fashion in Oslo-based Edda Gimnes spectacular, one-of-a-kind haute couture pieces, presented in a stunning show by Norwegian Royal Ballet dancers. Since graduating from London College of Fashion she already has pieces in the National Museum in Oslo and the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Her detailed, often intricate, illustrations are enlarged, printed onto canvases and turned into functioning garments or accessories. A head-to-toe look was recently worn by rapper Cardi B.

9. Block party

Whether you’re still into fuchsia pink, are keen to drag out the upcoming autumnal trend for red, or are more interested in experimenting with print, for SS24 it’s all about going bold and sticking to it… head-to-toe.

10. Cycle glam

At the heart of Scandi style is the most perfect of all accessories and no it’s not a handbag. It’s actually a bike! Scandinavian fashion seems to be rooted in an active way of life spent between city and country, which demands a base level of functionality. Amalie and Cecilie Moosgaard of Lié Studio summed up this practicality for Vogue. “We bike to work every morning, so we maintain a practical mindset when it comes to getting dressed.”

11. Eco runway

As far as sustainable wear goes, Scandinavia is a trailblazer. Fashion weeks are not known for putting the importance of the planet on an equal footing with trends, but Copenhagen Fashion Week is leading the way and Oslo Runway has recently followed suit. Its sustainability action plan means all brands on its schedule have to meet its 18 minimum requirements and at least 50 per cent of their collection is made from certified, preferred, upcycled or recycled materials.,

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