This list of brands includes established names with a more minimal aesthetic, such as Acne Studios and By Malene Birger, as well as those redefining our idea of Scandi style, such as Ganni and Cecilie Bahnsen. Scroll down to see our favourite Scandi fashion exports and the hero pieces from their latest collections.
Samsøe & Samsøe
Samsøe Samsøe launched back in 1993 as a small jewellery shop in Copenhagen, however it went in a new direction seven years later when Peter Sextus and Per-Ulrik Andersen took to the helm and turned it into a ready-to-wear label loved for its street style aesthetic. It has a focus on timeless, minimalist design, with beautiful tailoring, special fabrics and a rich colour palette.
Ganni is always one of the most anticipated-shows on the Copenhagen Fashion Week schedule and has really shaped what we consider Scandi style. Husband and wife founders, Nicolaj and Ditte Reffstrup, are responsible for countless trends since it founded in 2000, with a joyful approach to styling. Ganni’s signatures include leopard print, ruffle Peter Pan collars, bucket hats, chunky Chelsea boots and rainbow-hued knitwear.
Cecilie Bahnsen has a romantic sensibility, with whimsical cloud-like shapes and ethereal fabrics. She has crafted truly unique design signatures, such as lace-up backs, dramatic puffy sleeves and knitted tank tops, that have had a remarkable impact on the international stage.
Brands like Ganni and Stine Goya show that the Scandi aesthetic is so much more than just the monochrome stereotype, however nowhere in the world does minimalist design quite like Scandinavia. Totême is a Swedish label founded by original fashion blogger Elin Kling with Karl Lindman, and creates a uniform centred around modern classics. The design team have a real understanding of a capsule wardrobe and the items can all be styled seamlessly together.
Rotate Birger Christensen
On the opposite end of the Scandi style spectrum, we have Rotate Birger Christensen, a Copenhagen-based brand founded by two street style stars, Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimars. Instead of everyday staples, this is all about statement party wear, with dramatic ’80s silhouettes and statement-making fabrics. If you want a purple sequin mini dress or silver vinyl trousers, this is where to go.
By Malene Birger
By Malene Birger is one of the more long-standing brands in Copenhagen, with a focus on Scandinavian minimalism and relaxed styling. It manages to be both polished and effortless, two things that can be difficult to pull off at the same time. This season we love the natural colour palette with rich tans and oatmeals, and the use of soft fabrics like silk, satins and leathers.
Holzweiler is another power player at Copenhagen Fashion Week, and was originally founded by siblings Susanne and Andreas Holzweiler in 2012 as a scarf brand. Two years later it expanded into ready-to-wear, and creates functional, but beautiful, clothes ideal for a lifestyle centred around outdoor adventures. It has a strong reputation for its knitwear, quilted puffer coats and chunky boots, as well as smarter items such as dresses and tailored trousers.
Acne Studios will need no introduction, as it is arguably the brand that put Scandinavian style on the fashion map after its launch in 1997. The Swedish label initially had a focus on raw denim, and while its denim remains at the core of the Stockholm-based atelier, its Musubi bags and leather biker jackets are just as iconic.
So many brands on this list have sustainable practices and commitments, however Bite Studios deserves a special mention as it is an acronym for “By Independent Thinkers for Environmental Progress”. It has a minimalist design aesthetic with a focus on timeless basics – the tank tops and jeans deserve a special mention.
It’s almost impossible to watch a Stine Goya fashion show without grinning, as the Danish designer has a joyful take on design which is reflected in all aspects of the brand. Sequin co-ords and playful floral print dresses have become a key part of the brand’s style DNA.