Denmark, Sweden and Norway have never been so "hot."At last, the best Scandinavian brands have conquered the elite world of fashion houses. The veteran fashion capitals, Paris and Milan, are no longer alone, the Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo Fashion Weeks are increasingly attracting the interest of fashion insiders.
Over the past decade, designers from the Nordic states have established themselves as fashion trailblazers with their unique aesthetic perspectives. Generally, Scandinavian brands have a unique ability to make clothing that just looks good and feels even better.
Scandinavian fashion blends quintessential American cool with Japan’s razor-sharp style, a touch of Italian elegance and rounds it off with a utilitarianism that can only come from countries that have to brave some of the harshest weather conditions on a daily basis. But don’t get it twisted; the Nordic brands have a style that's all their own.
With that in mind, here’s a guide to some of the best Scandinavian brands that all Highsnobiety readers should know about.
Once you're done here, be sure to check out Italian clothing brands and German clothing brands, too. Or, if you are simply on the hunt for some of the best brands for your rotation, be sure to stop by our top clothing brands in the world hub.
Check out some of the best Scandinavian brands in 2023.
Acne Studios is one of the reasons why fashion is obsessed with minimalism. For many, the brand is ground zero for the Scandinavian's hold on our wardrobes. Yet, simply calling Acne Studios clothing "minimalistic" does not tell the whole story.
Acne is something slightly more, with the brand's co-founder and creative director, Jonny Johansson, coining the term "maximalist minimalism" to describe his designs.
A master of juxtaposition, clothing is contemporary and classic, essential but eccentric. The brand's unpredictable proportions, bold color palettes, custom-made fabrics, and the brand's face motif have become the backbone of our closets over the past two decades.
RANRA (previously Arnar Már Jónsson)
RANRA designs for those of us who feel ill-equipped to handle Gluggaveður — days in which the weather looks beautiful from inside but is actually brutally cold once you step outdoors. A direct symptom of the Icelandic-British duo's temperamental home climates, Arnar Már Jónsson and Luke Stevens equip wearers with performance-based clothing that is rugged enough to endure the elements but stylish enough to integrate into your wardrobe.
Seasonless layering staples, technical outerwear, luxurious sportswear, and insulating knitwear are all part of the brand's DNA. Ranra will have you feeling right at home, whether you're out exploring nature or trekking through an urban jungle.
It's always a good year to be an Our Legacy fan. The Swedish independent label has consistently blessed us with effortlessly cool seasonal collections whilst remaining committed to delivering strong collaborations throughout the year.
Clothing from the brand works seamlessly as standalone items or as the layered building blocks of top-to-bottom looks, thanks to the label's subtle detailing, custom-developed fabrics, and obsession with sustainable quality. An Our Legacy fuzzy alpaca cardigan, black milled varsity jacket, or recycled parka will make even the chilliest winters much more bearable, giving your wardrobe a few style points in the process. Meanwhile, its Spring-ready Harrington-style jackets, boxy short sleeves, and techwear trunks will keep you aptly fitted for whatever the season throws at you.
It's safe to say that Our Legacy is going to be one of your favorite go-to's in your rotation.
From a quick glance over their collections — packed with elaborate fabrics, ornate embroidery and floral motifs — you’d be forgiven for thinking Soulland was run by a classical artist with aristocratic tendencies, but the Copenhagen-based fashion label is actually run by Silas Adler, a skateboarder with a gifted eye who heads up the brand’s creative and artistic endeavours, and Jacob Kampp Berliner, a friend of Silas’ who was enlisted to lead on the business side. This symbiosis of creativity and business savvy that has seen the Danish brand creating some of the most interesting menswear coming out of Scandinavia in the years.
Soulland is a play on the name of Denmark’s main island, Sjælland. Though it is commonly known as Sealand, the direct translation is “Soulland”, so the brand is, in essence, a celebration of their own environment, and many of Soulland’s intricate graphics are hand-drawn by Silas himself, so there’s a deeply personal thread that runs through the brand.
Stockholm Surfboard Club
"When people think about Scandinavian design, it's clean and minimalistic. We've not made a tactical choice to go against that, it just happened naturally," Stockholm Surfboard Club's co-founder and creative director Manne Haglund Glad told us in an interview. The Stockholm native's been part of the city's fledgling surf scene from a young age and uses the brand not only as a way to release his fashion designs but also his handmade surfboards.
Having cut his teeth at Acne Studios, where he met Stockholm Surfboard Club's co-owner, Glad is re-imagining what surfwear is through his brand and pushing past Scandinavian fashion's clean-cut image in the process. This has seen it explore uber-kitsch and colorful territory that is unfamiliar to many Scandinavian labels, but it also caters to those looking for simple logo-clad tops and elevated staples.
The world of selvedge denim is basically dominated by Japanese brands, but Nudie Jeans is a welcome Scandinavian anomaly, and they do the job at the highest of levels.
Founded in 2001 by Maria Erixon, a former employee of Lee denim, this Swedish brand brings a laissez-faire attitude to the dogmatic world of raw denim. Other brands might tell you to take your jeans for a swim in the ocean, or hand-wash them with a particular detergent ratio following moon cycles, or check the temperature and density of grass before sitting down to ensure the perfect fade, but Nudie is refreshingly casual, informative and, most importantly, one of the most sustainable and eco-conscious brands in the fashion industry as a whole.
Ojardorf (O Files)
O.FILES, the brainchild of the visionary Oscar Jardorf, emerged onto the fashion scene in 2018, casting a fresh light on Copenhagen's design landscape. At the heart of O.FILES lies a celebration of the beautifully imperfect. Each piece tells a story, embracing flaws and reminiscent of vintage treasures.
The designs carry a militaristic edge, and it's this fusion of the old-world charm with contemporary boldness that defines O.FILES.
Imagine vintage vibes meeting streetwear's bold energy, all wrapped up in a luxurious package. It's a blend that speaks both to nostalgia and modernity
Founded by Per Fredrikson and Sinan Abi in 2016, Séfr has quickly made a name for itself and is stocked in some of the most well-respected retailers worldwide. And it has managed this without any major media presence or viral social media moment because its clothes speak for themselves.
Carefully crafted from high-quality fabrics and with a keen eye for details, the brand is a great example of what Scandinavian design is all about. From its tailoring to its lace shirting, the menswear brand offers a vast range of classic pieces, elevated with experimental touches and distinctive textures.
Founded by the alum of fellow Scandinavian brand Acne Studios, Charlie Hedin's label Tekla has built a reputation for its sustainably-produced home accessories and, in particular, its pajamas.
Delivering classic Scandinavian minimalism within its designs, Tekla's range of pajamas are the type you will want to wear outside — and many people do. I mean, those boxy-fitting shorts and striped shirts would be wasted if they were only worn while asleep.
Launched in 2013, Eytys' (pronounced ‘80s’) story is perhaps not far from many other Scandinavian brands; Eytys just make good stuff. Their inaugural model, the Mother, isn’t far away from a Vans Authentic in design, but subtle changes like a cork footbed, heel pull-tab and a midsole that’s ever so slightly thicker than normal creates a shoe that’s strange… but you like it.
Fast-forward to now, Eytys has an impressive range of silhouettes including the Spider, a collaborative model designed with Yung Lean which features cable-tie laces. If all this hasn’t already impressed you, read about how they’re still here after their entire first collection was lost when the ship carrying it split in half and sank.
Another offshoot from the Très-Bien camp, Sun Buddies is a premium eyewear brand from Stockholm, and if you want to talk about wearing your Swedish identity on your sleeve, their original silhouette is inspired by the pair worn by Bibi Andersson in Ingmar Bergmann’s 1966 film, Persona — a truly iconic film by unquestionably Sweden’s most famous filmmaker.
Note the references to other Swedish starlets in their silhouette names such as Greta [Garbo] and the unquestionable glamour of their thick-rimmed designs, and the result is a brand that feels much more Hollywood than it does Scandinavia — perhaps a reminder of Sweden’s enduring influence on the silver screen.
Cecilie Bahnsen has infused various aspects of her Danish heritage into her meticulously crafted clothing. Her synonymous label has built a passionate following over the years thanks to its use of engineered textile made using traditional techniques like patchwork, quilting, and appliqué.
This approach to fashion design has positioned the label somewhere between traditional ready-to-wear and couture. Aside from Bannsen's love for Scandinavian design, clothing also pulls from traditional fine French fashion, making the brand's clothing architectural, feminine, and relaxed. Thumbing through a Cecile Bahnsen collection, and you will come across minimal black organic dresses, seasonless footwear, and summer-ready tops.
Another Danish favorite, Ganni, is the brainchild of the husband-and-wife duo Nicolaj and Ditte Reffstru. The team of designers has committed themselves to create a sustainable fashion brand over the years. There is no greenwashing here. Garments are produced using upcycled materials and innovative fabrics.
At the same time, the label believes in the less is more mantra. This translates to garments that are durable and timeless — capable of carrying you throughout each season. Yet, at the same time, Ganni pulls heavily from the '90s, creating clothing that feels nostalgic. Garments are chic, boxy, and layered with fashion references. Ganni is an excellent place to start if you are on the hunt for easy-to-wear womenswear.
Graduate of Central Saint Martins in London Henrik Vibskov is one of few Danish designers with runway fashion credentials. Commonly associated with the “New Nordic Movement,” Vibskov’s avant-garde and forward-thinking designs in clothing, furniture, art and music, have drawn considerable praise from around the world.
RAINS has experienced a relatively rapid rise to success over the past few years, which is perhaps not surprising when you consider Denmark’s maritime climate and purported 121 days of rainfall per year.
Not unlike a few other brands mentioned here, RAINS blends contemporary fashion cuts with weather-ready textiles, starting with classic rain anoraks but soon expanding into all manner of waterproof apparel and accessories.
One of many prominent Copenhagen-based brands, Wood Wood was launched in 2002 by Karl Oskar-Olsen and Brian SS Jensen and is rooted in the web of graffiti, music, art, sport and style that embodies ’90s street culture.
Unlike the more straight-faced and razor-sharp aesthetic of their Copenhagen contemporaries, there’s a whimsical element to Wood Wood’s output. Great examples include their collaboration with Italian sportswear brand Ellesse, breathing new life into a brand far removed from contemporary fashion, or their Disney collaboration which warped and distorted Mickey Mouse’s image virtually beyond recognition.
It’s probably not an overstatement to say Norse Projects captured the essence of Danish style over the past ten years. Starting out as a Copenhagen menswear store in the early 2000s, in 2009 they launched their in-house clothing line and quickly made an impact.
Each collection’s mix of slick shirting, straightforward trousers, clean graphic tees, beanies and camp caps seemed strangely reminiscent of a particular New York skate brand, but in the place of hip-hop, punk and graffiti references were guest artist t-shirts and unique fabric weaves; upmarket streetwear with a distinctly European twist.
Like Supreme, Norse Projects is a brand for people that want to dress comfortably and look good. As one of the mantras woven into their clothing dictates; “The true mark of luxury lies not in the grand gesture, but in the simple things done well.”
Originally founded in 2009 as an eyewear brand, there’s something about Han Kjøbenhavn that oozes class. Though you might not know their clothing, you’ve surely seen their inimitable lookbooks, modeled by a distinctive silver-haired Danish gentleman with a stare that could cut through diamond. But back to the clothes. Han Kjøbenhavn injects a bit of color and fun into their designs in a way that surely only a Scandinavian brand could.
Asymmetric panels, geometric prints, washed-out pastels and gritty urban palettes and a distinctive menswear-meets-sportswear chic, the Danish label has a knack for lulling you into a sense of security with its unassuming, timeless designs, then pulling the rug from underneath with a wildcard piece. They lose points for not gifting any of their large-graphic “HAN” sweatshirts to Meek Mill yet, though. Disappointing.
Founded in 2012 by Saif Bakir and Emma Hedlund in Malmö, Sweden, CMMN SWDN blends Scandinavian fashion perspectives with a cross-continental appreciation of style. The duo are well-qualified as well; graduates of Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion, they’ve previously worked with COS and Kanye West, for whom they were heads of design at his Paris studio.
Before launching his own brand, designer Nikolaj Nielsen was an industry veteran with a considerable background in denim, but in 2004 he created Won Hundred and set out to change the understanding of fashion in Denmark.
Drawing from a plethora of cultural and artistic influences, Won Hundred creates clothing for men and women that have a clean, minimalist edge throughout, but with an added touch of flair.
One of the most exciting and avant-garde options in the Scandinavian fashion brands landscape is Copenhagen-based streetwear label Heliot Emil. It was created by brothers Julius and Victor Juul as a tribute to their great-grandfather, the brand's namesake.
The Juul brothers debuted their first collection during Milan Fashion Week for SS17, and since then the label has been recognized as one of the most provocative in the game.
Marked by an avant-Scandi aesthetic that fuses form and function with luxurious and technologically advanced fabrics, its collections are unisex and monochromatic, taking inspiration from the brothers' Scandinavian heritage by using different fabrics from around the world and producing pieces in Italy, France, and Portugal.
Designer Julius Juul is inspired by challenging themes and uses influences from process art and the industrial-techno scene, where the boundaries between form and function push toward exploration as each collection defines themes of curiosity and creative freedom.
Let's talk about accessories. I am sure you have seen them around, Sandqvist's bags and backpacks have taken over cities seemingly everywhere.
Their quality materials and carefully thought-out Scandinavian design are the reason for it. Enjoy!
Step away from the hype and fervor, for a minute. Forget about the street styles and red carpets and celebrity endorsements and collaborations. SNS Herning is a family-owned, independent knitwear company, based in the Danish city of Herning (population roughly 47,000).
Founded in 1931, this label specializes in beautiful knitwear geared for the Nordic fisherman, and its machines are currently operated by a grand total of four people. No pointless details, no big graphics, no hyped up instant sell-out collaborations (yet); just really great sweaters that will keep you warm.
Polar Skate Co
Like Palace Skateboards in London, Dime in Montreal or Bronze 56k in NYC, Polar is the Swedish division of a new wave of skate brands run by skaters, for skaters, authentically representing their own lifestyles.
Previously a skater for Emerica and Cliché, Pontus Alv started Polar in 2013 and the name quickly spread across Scandinavia and beyond. Just as Palace specialize in skate gear with a distinctly London tracksuit and trainers tip, Polar rounds out its tees and sweats with cold-weather essentials like fleeces, quilted jackets and insulated bombers.
Skaters are notoriously discerning when it comes to quality; combine that with the Scandinavian need for cold-weather clothes that work, and you can trust Polar's product to stand up to punishment.
Inspired by the true spirit of Gothenburg, ELVINE stands as one of the best Scandinavian fashion collective, their essence deeply rooted in the city's bustling harbor as it is in its wit. These elements are the cornerstone of their identity, the very fabric of their being.
They craft jackets that are not just robust and functional but embody ease with a touch of sophistication. Designed to embrace both the capricious weather and the urban jungle they hold dear, ELVINE's creations are a tribute to the city's heartbeat. They offer up sartorial elegance fit for the gritty reality of street life, creating sophisticated pieces that grace the sidewalks with as much as any runway.
Not unlike Norse Projects, Très-Bien started out as an impeccably-stocked menswear store in Malmö, Sweden, and is probably still best known in this regard. A few years back, however, the store launched its synonymous in-house label and quickly won the hearts of menswear bloggers the world over.
Minimalist designs and timeless silhouettes are elevated through unexpected new approaches, offered in colors that slide into your wardrobe and get along with everything else in there.
I guess when you’ve got as much expertise in what sells as these guys do, it’s no surprise that they can come through with exactly what people want.
At the heart of (di)vision is a radical ethos: creation through reincarnation. This brand is on a mission to redefine fashion's frontier, taking the forgotten fabrics of yesterday—deadstock, recycled remnants, vintage treasures—and breathing new life into them.
Every stitch is a statement, every garment a testament to the potential of what already exists. Discover (di)vision as they turn overstock into over-the-top, transforming the industry with visionary eco-chic.
Okay, so you probably look at Stutterheim’s product and feel like you’ve seen it somewhere else, but what this Swedish brand did was take a functional clothing design and inject it with that unique contemporary Scandinavian design language.
Not only that, Stutterheim took that same impenetrable rubber fabric and applied it to a number of essential silhouettes; chore coats, fishtail parkas, coaches jackets, pea coats, M-65s, MA-1 bombers.
BITE (By Independent Thinkers for Environmental Progress) burst onto the scene in 2016, a brainchild of the forward-thinking duo Veronika Kant and William Lundgren.
At the core of their collections lies a commitment to exceptional craftsmanship, precision in cut, and use of organic materials. This dedication to quality and sustainability has not gone unnoticed, catapulting BITE into the esteemed halls of luxury retailers across the world.
Their garments, celebrated for their environmental integrity and cutting-edge design, are not just clothes; they're a call to action, a stylish testament to the power of thoughtful fashion.
Swedish brand L’Homme Rouge was initially launched as a free-spirited collaborative project between a group of friends, starting out creating knitted headwear. In recent years this has expanded into full collections united by notions of sustainability and conscious consumption, producing lasting product with a timeless touch.
With truly eco-friendly and highly sustainable materials and productions practices, CDLP gives you the absolute best, ultra-comfy luxury essentials made in Sweden you need in your wardrobe.
I have nothing else to add.
Designer Mads Nørgaard founded his eponymous clothing brand in 1986 and today the imprint operates a number of brick-and-mortar locations in Denmark, proffering both men’s and women’s ready-to-wear.
A ubiquitous style choice for Danes, Mads Nørgaard isn’t entirely a fast fashion enterprise, but certainly bears some similarities to its big box counterparts like H&M or Uniqlo. After 29 years, the franchise of boutiques is still sticking to its guns, under the motto “What you wear should support your ways and beliefs.”
Samsøe & Samsøe
Originally a jewelry store in downtown Copenhagen, brothers Klaus and Preben Samsøe launched their eponymous brand in 1993 and soon expanded into basic t-shirts, something which is now a signature item of the brand.
Their chief menswear designer, Gitte Wetter Olufsen, describes earlier creations as “stylish and democratic,” but recent expansions into more trend-conscious and contemporary offerings have seen Samsøe & Samsøe gaining considerable audiences overseas.
Translating directly to ‘Arctic Fox’ — where the Scandinavian brand gets its iconic red logo — Fjällräven was born from founder Åke Nordin’s experiments with building a mountaineering jacket out of tent fabric. Realising he was onto something, he pushed on, refining and improving the fabric until the brand’s iconic G-1000 fabric was born.
Fjällräven is another utilitarian brand that seemed to stumble into the fashion world by accident; football casuals, menswear dads and style-conscious gents fell in love with the brand’s functional approach to clean, unassuming clothing design, and the brand’s iconic Kånken backpack has become a staple piece of kit for students on University campuses all over the world. To channel my Dad’s northern-English vernacular for a moment, it’s just “cracking gear, that”.
Self-defined as a "conscious heritage brand", Munthe is dedicated to responsible fashion practices and impeccably designed pieces. Creative Director Naja Munthe founded the brand in 1994, as a kind of homage to art and craftmanship - an antithesis to contemporary fashion practices.
They strive for inclusivity by creating apparel fitting a wide range of body shapes and ages. Their working ethos is one of trust - another feather in a cap of a brand that seems to walk the talk, rather than just whisper sweet nothings.
Asger Juel Larsen
Drawing from music, tailoring and political propaganda in his work, Asger Juel Larsen’s provocative and dystopian designs are intended to disrupt the norm and take you out of your comfort zone.
Unlike many Scandinavian fashion brands’ celebration of classic style, Larsen pushes things to the hyper-modern, whilst their diffusion line A.J.L Madhouse creates gender-neutral collections and defies traditional seasonal release schedules.
The eponymous brand was created in 2006, as a distinctly Scandinavian brand, but with a playful twist. Stine Goya playfully marries color§ with robust fashion-forward silhouettes, making for an unmistakeable signature style that is making waves in Denmark and beyond.
Swedish sartorial gem Rodebjer has been in the fashion scene since '99, thanks to the visionary prowess of Carin Rodebjer. Known for its clean, Scandi-cool vibes and a serious nod to sustainability, this brand is all about killer looks without harming the planet. Flowing, feminine cuts that scream 'effortlessly chic,' all spun from dreamy natural fibers like organic cotton and Tencel.
With Rodebjer, ethics meet aesthetics. A hit with the style-savvy crowd and celeb trendsetters, Rodebjer is your go-to for upping your wardrobe game with a conscience.
With touches of contemporary chic and designer luxury, NYNNE emerges from Denmark as a beacon of sartorial empowerment. With a belief that clothing wields power, the label crafts glamorous and pragmatic designs for the modern woman. At NYNNE, 'new classics' are reimagined, each piece infused with a bold, contemporary twist that defies the mundane, ensuring that everyday functionality dances hand in hand with unapologetic glamour.
At the heart of NYNNE's ethos is a devotion to the timeless Scandinavian principles: enduring design, conscientious production, and unwavering quality and where the tradition of Scandinavian minimalism meets its dynamic future.
In the heart of Oslo, Holzweiler crafts fashion that weaves Norwegian heritage with contemporary threads. Birthed in 2012 by the siblings Susanne and Andreas Holzweiler, and steered by the creative prowess of Maria Skappel Holzweiler, this Scandinavian fashion house has swiftly carved its niche in the sartorial landscape.
Emerging with hand-knitted scarves that draped the fashion-forward in personalized luxury, Holzweiler spun its narrative from these yarns into a full-fledged ready-to-wear line by the fall of 2014.
Striding beyond gender norms, Holzweiler's collections embrace a unisex approach, ensuring their creations are as versatile as they are vogue. With a keen eye on the environment, the brand underscores the importance of sustainability, incorporating recycled materials and championing compensated resources—a true melding of style with conscience.
Pioneering the now-iconic look of minimalism since 1993, Filippa K is a quintessentially Scandinavian fashion brand that has consistently given us high-quality and timeless collections year after year.
It doesn't get much more Scandinavian than Filippa K.
By Malene Birger
Born in Copenhagen in 2004, By Malene Birger rapidly became a staple in the Danish fashion scene, debuting at Copenhagen Fashion Week and epitomizing luxury fashion for the modern, style-conscious woman.
Each season, By Malene Birger presents collections that blend feminine allure with a fresh Scandinavian aesthetic, balancing contemporary flair with timeless elegance. The lineup, ranging from sleek blouses and trousers to dresses and cardigans, is marked by a minimalist charm and occasionally enlivened with graphic Arabian floral prints.
The brand's versatility shines through its diverse fabric choices - cotton, silk, wool, and luxurious leather - showcased in a rich yet versatile color palette.
Want to keep browsing? Head to the Highsnobiety Shop for more products that we love. Highsnobiety has affiliate marketing partnerships, which means we may receive a commission from your purchase.