Masters Of Minimalism: 10 Scandinavian Menswear Brands You Need To Know
Clean lines, quality construction and a hearty dose of restraint – the Holy Trinity of Scandinavian style.
The stripped-back, simplified aesthetic championed by Denmark, Sweden and Norway has put Northern Europe firmly on the fashion map. Timeless, wearable and versatile, this trademark minimalism has grown into a global movement, unfazed by fleeting trends and unwavering in its style appeal.
At the core of its success are a selection of achingly cool Scandi labels and designers that have helped to export the region’s trademark look and mould it into what it is today.
From the avant-garde stylings of Stockholm’s Acne Studios to the lightly streetwear-tinged minimalism of Copenhagen’s Norse Projects and Wood Wood, these are the Scandinavian label’s that should be on every stylish gent’s radar and the reasons why they’re the best at what they do.
A Day’s March
We’d all love to have wardrobes brimming with stripped-back Swedish staples. Unfortunately, realising that goal can be a costly affair.
A Day’s March is a relatively new label that cuts out wholesale stockists and sells its wares direct to you, the consumer. In doing so, the brand is able to provide its refined Scandi essentials at reduced price points, without sacrificing quality. Be sure to check out the textured shirts, overshirts and light jackets – perfect for layering during the colder months.
Key Piece: Overshirt
Take the bold logos, eye-catching prints and urban aesthetic of streetwear and mix it with the clean-cut minimalism for which Scandinavia is famed. What you’re left with will probably look a lot like Wood Wood, a Copenhagen-based contemporary lifestyle and fashion brand that has been putting its city on the menswear map since 2002.
Wood Wood provides a good jumping-off point for those who perhaps like streetwear-leaning styles, but don’t want to look like a teenager. Designs are playful yet mature, and there’s a common theme of collaborations to keep things current. Past hookups include the likes of Nike, Champion, New Balance and Clarks.
Key Piece: Logo Sweats & Hoodies
On first inspection, Swedish label Our Legacy may appear to be a typical purveyor of the tried-and-tested Scandi minimalist aesthetic. However, once you get past the ultra-clean basics and razor-sharp contemporary tailoring, you’ll see what this Trojan horse of a brand is really all about.
Psychedelic prints, weird and wonderful fabrics, flowing silhouettes and sweeping cuts. Our Legacy injects personality and a touch of the unexpected into the standard, paint-by-numbers, minimalist look. The result is a collection of garments that shout loudly while at the same time emitting barely a whisper.
Key Piece: Shirting With A Twist
If you were forced to wear one brand, and one brand only, for the rest of your life, there would be much worse choices than Copenhagen’s Norse Projects. The Danish label is a staunch advocate of the simple things done well. Think heavy, drill-cotton chinos or a crisp white T-shirt that fits so well it could reduce a grown man to tears.
There’s something for everyone here and you can dress it up any way you want. Norse’s range is so diverse that it is possible to go from low-key streetwear to corduroy-clad geography teacher (albeit a very well-dressed one) using only garments from a single seasonal collection.
Key Piece: Premium Baseball Cap
Given that the “NN” in NN07 stands for “no nationality” we feel a little bit bad for revealing that the label is, in fact, from Denmark. Still, even if we hadn’t have mentioned it, chances are you’d have figured it out anyway simply by taking one look at the uber-clean cuts and masterfully simple styling of its clothes.
NN07 has been doing its thing since 2007, earning itself a reputation as a go-to label for high-quality basics and superior fits. Particularly excellent is the brand’s casual shirting. Expect thick, cosy flannels, crisp Oxford button-downs and overshirts that are truly built to last.
Key Piece: Casual Shirts
Originally founded as a small advertising and design agency, Acne Studios has gone on to become the most prominent fashion house in all of Sweden. Known for crossing between the realms of culture, art and fashion, Acne Studios’ experimental twist on Scandinavian style has earned it legions of loyal followers across the globe.
When it’s not busy pushing design boundaries, Acne Studios is maintaining its glowing reputation as Scandinavia’s go-to denim brand. As well as its more avant-garde pieces, the label has long been known for its premium jeans. Look out for slim cuts and straight-leg fits to get a feel for what Acne denim is all about.
Key Piece: Jeans
Founded in 1891, Swedish brand Tretorn is one of the oldest names in the Scandi style game. After beginning life as a tyre manufacturing company, Tretorn branched out into other rubber applications. Namely rubber-soled footwear, including galoshes, wellington boots and the crisp white tennis shoes for which the label is now famous.
Tretorn’s tennis shoes have been worn by some of the biggest names in the game, but they’re not just great for the court. These simple sneakers are as versatile as can be, making them the perfect addition to any shoe rack.
Key Piece: Canvas Sneakers
Hailing from Malmo, Sweden, Tres Bien began life as a high-end menswear boutique stocking the likes of Maison Margiela, Engineered Garments and Comme des Garcons.
Today, its in-house label is arguably more famous than the store itself. Mixing casualwear and streetwear staples with colourful prints, tactile fabrics and eye-catching logos, Tres Bien’s playful designs serve as the perfect sartorial embodiment of the brand’s approach to retail and merchandising.
Key Piece: Logo T-shirt
Sweden’s Soulland may just be the most wearable streetwear label of all time. Pieces are characterful and exciting but executed with taste and refinement. There are logos, but they tend to be subtle. There’s bright colour, but it’s deployed with consideration.
In short, it’s streetwear for the thinking man. Soulland’s output straddles the line between youthful and tasteful with pinpoint accuracy. These are hoodies you can pair with a tailored topcoat; graphic tees that wouldn’t look out of place with cropped dress trousers. We like it, and we think you will, too.