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

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.

Dotty dress, €290, Rotate, Brown Thomas
Dotty dress, €290, Rotate, Brown Thomas

“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.  

2 Ganni

A firm favourite among celebrities, including Pippa Middleton, Margot Robbie and the style set alike, Ganni strikes the balance between feminine and cool nonchalance. 

Leopard wrap dress, €460, Ganni
Leopard wrap dress, €460, Ganni

3 Rains

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. 

Mac coat, €200, Rains
Mac coat, €200, Rains

4 Brogger

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. 

Checked blazer, €725, Brogger, Harvey Nichols
Checked blazer, €725, Brogger, Harvey Nichols

5 Rodebjer

A stylish stalwart in Sweden, complete with brick and motar stores across the Nordic country, Macbees in Killarney have brought the brand to Ireland.

Dress, €420, Rodebjer, Macbees
Dress, €420, Rodebjer, Macbees

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.

Printed men’s shirt, €230, Our Legacy, Matches Fashion
Printed men’s shirt, €230, Our Legacy, Matches Fashion

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.

Shirt, €270, Stine Goya
Shirt, €270, Stine Goya
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.