Northern lights: The Scandi fashion brands to know and wear now
Forget simple, it’s all about statement Scandi style
Jeanette Madsen (left) and Thora Valdimar
Think Scandi style and what usually springs to mind is the neutral, earthy-toned hygge concept, clean lines and minimal detailing. But there is much more to the Nordic peninsula’s fashion scene, with a multitude of designers creating mood-enhancing styles that are anything but simple.
At the epicentre of the new-generation eclectic Scandi-style wave is Rotate, a modern, sophisticated dress-centric label that is stocked in Brown Thomas, and joins the ranks of stellar statement fashion brands to come out of Scandinavia in recent years.
Born of a frustration of not being able to find the dresses that they wanted, stylists-turned-influencers Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimar decided to create their own; they did so in partnership with Copenhagen luxury department store, Birger Christensen.
“We always wanted to wear beautiful dresses, but it was never sexy enough, short enough, crazy enough. And every time we went to a wedding, everyone was wearing the same dress or the same brand,” says Madsen.
To combat the same-dress syndrome, they would scout vintage stores for one-off pieces but, again, faced issues of fit. That’s when Rotate was born. Since their launch in 2018, they have caused a stir across social media with their statement dresses that reject typical Scandi-style stereotypes. Reinventing the classics, like wrap dresses in bold colours, or amping up micro-minis with exaggerated sleeves, to become modern style staples.
Not surprising, perhaps, given their background as stylists, is that the way something looks and feels on is always front of their minds. “We have a very commercial eye, it’s nice to make the extravagant pieces but we need to have a commercial sense in everything, as people want to feel comfortable wearing the clothes,”says Valdimar.
When pressed on what they think is the fascination with Scandinavian style currently, it can be summed up in just one word – realistic. Valdimar says: “It’s because our outfits are wearable and that people can recreate them. We do the high and low mix well, and we aren’t afraid to mix expensive with high street. We will wear an expensive bag and then add in H&M.”
But, what is also integral to the Scandinavian obsession is its roots in practicality, with brands, including Rotate, cracking that elusive sweet spot of comfortable and chic that is entirely born out of the Scandinavian lifestyle. With women wanting to wear trainers, bike to work and go for dinner in one do-it-all outfit. “It’s all about practical styles in Copenhagen, we bicycle, we run around the city, it’s such a small city we don’t take our car,” says Madsen.
Marrying eclectic, practical and cool, here are seven more Scandinavian brands to know:
1 Baum und Pferdgarten
Despite celebrating 25 years in business, this Danish brand dresses some of the most influential Scandinavian stars but is still pretty under-the-radar. For now.
A firm favourite among celebrities, including Pippa Middleton, Margot Robbie and the style set alike, Ganni strikes the balance between feminine and cool nonchalance.
This unisex brand has reinvented the concept of rainwear as practical as well as fashionable. Think bomber jackets and parkas, as well as rain-proof track pants and stylish accessories.
Toted as the next Ganni thanks to its spring show at Copenhagen fashion week that was laden with wearable midi dresses in pretty prints with statement sleeves and relaxed tailoring.
A stylish stalwart in Sweden, complete with brick and motar stores across the Nordic country, Macbees in Killarney have brought the brand to Ireland.
6 Our Legacy
Shying away from trends, and focusing on experimenting with fabric, fit and print, this menswear brand reinvents classic garments remodelled for modern living.
7 Stine Goya
This Danish brand has already claimed its name for playful prints and bright hues which is manifested in bold pairing of geometric patterns and artful prints.