May 1, 2013

Common Sense

H&M and IKEA were the first pioneers to hit the U.S. and now a new wave of Vikings have invaded Greene Street in SoHo. With the exception of Acne Studios and J.Lindeberg, most of the companies are mid-market brands from the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark. At the core of Scandinavian design is minimalism, functionality and comfortability. For these brands, simplicity is key and there is a lot of value in that because finding wearable, high quality clothing isn't as easy as one would think.

photo via J.Lindberg

J.Lindeberg was the first of these Swedish newcomers to hit Greene street and was launched simultaneously in both New York and Stockholm back in 1996. Today it's distributed in over 20 countries and even sold on ASOS. Driven by the beautiful, original and genuine, J.Lindeberg primarily produces menswear and golf collections with a huge following among PGA stars and celebrities like Bono, Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake. Focused very much on craftsmanship, the brand has introduced, The Documentary and a Dream biannual books, which tells the story of the evolution of the brand, what they do and why and has already released seven volumes.

photo via Vogue

Founded in Stockholm in 1996, Acne Studios is part of the creative collective Acne (Ambition to Create Novel Expression). Their red stitched jeans became the foundation of their brand when they gained publicity and began selling to leading boutiques a year later. Today they are known for their architectural, modern and straight-lined clothing, which is marketed through their biannual magazine, Acne Paper. Their latest endeavor is a Vogue inspired Spring Capsule Collection that incorporates the July 1931 cover of a woman's facial profile that is printed on everything from summer dresses to voluminous skirts and even baseball caps.

photo via Fjällräven

Fjällräven, which means Artic Fox in Swedish, specializes in durable outdoor clothing and equipment made to make the outdoors more enjoyable for all. Not only has the brand been featured in GQ, InStyle, WWD, Martha Stewart Living and Refinery9, but they were rated #21 best for the Eco Style Conscious by Men's Journal. Famous for their iconic backpack, the Kånken rucksack comes in any color you can imagine. Their Greenland jacket made of their original G-1000® fabric is one of the best outdoor fabrics on the market with its tightly woven design, excellent ventilation, and wind and water resistant qualities. Not only are they cool, but they tell a story of the great outdoors and even donate to the endangered Artic Fox. Right now they are in a huge space on the corner of Broome and Greene streets with a focus on warehouse sales and good bargains, but keep an eye for them in the beginning of August, when they will open their flagship store in New York.

photo via Moods of Norway

If you're looking for some good old fashion Scandinavian fun, look no further because Moods of Norway is stationed right at 75 Greene. This menswear and womenswear label, which was started by three young guys in 2003, combines Norwegian heritage with international trends and often incorporates tractor themes into their aesthetic. Under the slogan, "Happy Clothes for Happy People," they have a signature "Cocktail Suit" which comes in everything from bright colors to florals and plaids.

photo via Hästens

A few streets over on Broadway is Hästens, a Swedish luxury bed manufacturer that has been perfecting sleep since 1852. Using sustainable resourced horsehair, cotton, wool, flax, Swedish pine and steel, this brand values quality craftsmanship, natural materials and deep, rejuvenating sleep. Each bed comes in their signature blue and white check design and are built entirely by hand, which takes anywhere from 140 to 160 hours to make.

Among these brands there are also a ton of new and upcoming Scandinavian designers on the forefront of the fashion world as well like ALTEWAISAOME, Maria Nordstrom, Anne Sofia Madsen, Thea Dyring and Veronica B. Vallenes. From fine craftsmanship to natural materials and functionality, clean lines and well though-out design, these designers and brands represent a fresh stream of perspective from northern Europe. As Scandinavian design continues to make its presence widespread throughout New York and the rest of the U.S., one thing is for sure, they are bringing common sense back into fashion. For more cool Scandinavian brands check out this Pinterest board for some inspiration.

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