It’s widely accepted that Scandinavia is home to some of the finest clothing brands in the world, thanks to a deeply embedded design tradition that makes it a hotbed for some serious creative talents.
Typically characterised by a form-follows-function philosophy, the best Scandinavian menswear brands combine meticulous craftsmanship with minimalist, pared-back design – think neutral colour palettes, sleek silhouettes and a focus on quality of construction over extraneous aesthetic detailing.
Covering all bases from luxury underwear to premium leather shoes, these are the must-know names in Nordic style today.
Established in 2014 by Max Svärdh and Albin Johansson, Gothenburg-based brand Axel Arigato first made a name for itself with its range of minimalist sneakers, most notably its iconic Clean 90 style.
Having garnered a cult following over the years, the label has since expanded its offering to include all manner of streetwear-inspired staples, from hoodies to tees. Drawing inspiration from the worlds of music, art and architecture, it manages to always keep collections fresh and interesting.
CDLP wants to change the way we think about underwear. Specialising in the use of eco-friendly fabrics like lyocell, bamboo, pima cotton and Econyl, the Swedish label creates understated yet luxurious everyday essentials that are made to last – from super soft T-shirts to moisture-wicking boxer briefs.
With a focus on durability and longevity, everything CDLP produces is characterised by timeless design and top-notch construction, so you can rest assured that they'll stand the test of time.
Norse Projects was founded in 2004 under the guidance of Anton Juul, Mikkel Grønnebæk and Tobia Sloth. What started off small as an art gallery and streetwear store in central Copenhagen gradually evolved into a fully fledged clothing label.
Today, the brand fuses influences from streetwear, classic workwear and high-end fashion to offer season-less staples that are characterised by an understated aesthetic and ultimate functionality, including everything from weatherproof GORE TEX parkas to ultra cosy lambswool knits made using a seamless tubular knitting technique.
With an eco-friendly philosophy and a meticulous approach to construction, Swedish menswear label A Day's March creates wardrobe staples that are designed to stand the test of time. From versatile overshirts to staple-worthy tees, everything it produces is designed with longevity in mind, intended to be worn season after season and year after year.
What's more, the brand utilises a direct-to-consumer model, meaning high quality clothing at wallet-friendly prices.
“The world doesn’t need another fashion brand”, says ASKET, and we’re inclined to agree, especially when labels like ASKET already exist. The Stockholm-based brand is committed to fighting fast consumption by designing for forever rather than one season.
ASKET envisions a future of reduced wardrobes built of eco-friendly clothing that stands the test of time in terms of design and craftsmanship. The label’s permanent collection comprises premium quality staples of all types. From minimal outerwear to luxury underwear, the whole spectrum is covered.
Danish label Forét was founded upon the premise of producing season-less wardrobe staples made from high quality, responsibly sourced fabrics. The brand is renowned for its classic pieces, which are often imbued with a subtle twist of character. Expect overshirts with pared back branding, logo sweatshirts and a colour palette that isn’t shy of the odd statement pop.
As is the case with many of the best Scandinavian menswear brands, Mismo’s designs are suitably minimalist and pared back. The Danish label takes an innovative approach to manufacturing, making use of waterproof fabrics for its backpacks, which are perfect for commuting and travelling with.
The brand's signature M/S backpack for example is a classic, boasting a simple roll top that owes its design to vintage military styles. Like all Mismo products it shines in the details, with hand-polished YKK zips, solid brass hardware and vegetable-tanned leather detailing.
Swedish footwear label Myrqvist is the brainchild of Sebastian Öhrn, a style obsessive who noticed a gap in the market for premium handcrafted shoes that don't cost a fortune.
The brand produces everything from elegant loafers to smart-casual sneakers, all of which are made using the finest leathers from the very best tanneries in the world, with calfskin from the Hermes-owned Tannery du Puy in France and suede from Charles F. Stead in England. Goodyear welted construction means they'll last for decades.
With firsthand experience of Denmark's notoriously inclement weather, Philip Lotko and Daniel Brix Hesselager set out to reinvent the traditional rubber raincoat, worn for decades by fisherman. The result is Rains, a contemporary Danish label that's challenging old-fashioned notions of wet weather attire with its super sleek and stylish rainwear.
The brand's considered design doesn't come at the cost of functionality: Rains is constantly pushing the boundaries of materials and technology. Its signature material is is a lightweight yet sturdy polyester fabric backed with a flexible polyurethane coating, which is bonded together through ultrasonic welding for ultimate waterproofness. It's enough reason to want to get caught in a downpour.
With sustainability at its core, Stockholm-based bag brand Steele & Borough creates vegan leather bags that are crafted primarily from PETA-approved polyurethane, one of the most planet-friendly vegan materials.
All of Steele & Borough's backpacks, briefcases, weekender bags and wash bags adhere to the same minimalist design philosophy, with quality of craftsmanship prioritised over fussy extraneous aesthetic details. Artist Nandi Nobell was enlisted to design the pattern on the lining of each bag, which complements the subtle elegance that Steele & Borough champions.
Swedish denim label Jeanerica adheres to the characteristically Scandinavian ideals of minimalist, made-to-last design. It aims to democratise denim, harnessing its original function as an item for everyone. With simplicity at its core, the Jeanerica range features essential styles in perfect fits and expert washes. The look is classic-meets-contemporary, updated takes on old-school favourites.
There's a style for everyone: from the late '90s-inspired tapered leg of the TM005 to the classic straight fit of the CM002 or the '70s-style bootcut of the PM007. All jeans are made from 98% organic cotton with 2% elastane for the perfect combination of sturdiness and stretch.
Gothenburg-based watch brand Tusenö takes its name from an old book of charts that refers to the Swedish west coast as "the coast with the thousand islands" or in Swedish, "kusten med de tusen öarna" The label was only founded in 2015, but it has quickly become a global brand with customers in more than 70 countries and with production in Asia, Switzerland and Sweden.
Each of Tusenö's watches boast subtle yet elegant Swedish design combined with carefully selected materials and exciting specifications. These are timepieces made to last.
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