Fashion Saturation: ‘Stockholm Style’ and the resurgence of Scandi-Minimalism
Friday, 3 March 2023
Francesca offers a cultural analysis of the 'Scandinavian Capsule Wardrobe' and how it acts as a fissure in the foundations of Fast-Fashion
With the post-pandemic cultural consciousness invariably speeding up the rate at which we navigate our way through ‘up to date’ attire, fast fashion is one of the most captivating aspects of contemporary culture. Yet, ‘Stockholm Style’ offers something different in this fast-paced frenzy of fashion cycles.
Over the past months, there has been an interesting return to ‘the basics’ – an up-levelled basic. A basic that is timeless, luxurious, sustainable and synonymous with that of ‘Scandinavian Style’. The phrase ‘Scandinavian capsule wardrobe’ has been floating around fashion spaces for years, but it has recently incorporated itself into the mainstream cultural bias of what it takes to be effortlessly stylish.
The Scandinavian capsule wardrobe consists of a simplistic colour wave; white, black and light-toned browns, with the occasional inclusion of navy and cream stripes. A pattern which, interestingly, has been mostly attributed to that quiet luxury aesthetic of old yachting money. Scandinavian menswear consists of tailored work pants, form-fitting shirts, cashmere or wool sweaters – usually draped over shoulders – and robust loafers. And the staples of the femme Scandi wardrobe include plain durable tank tops, a pair of mom jeans, high-neck woollen sweaters, usually paired with a black skirt, and Birkenstocks or plain black boots.
As a trend, it is essentially the return of a high-quality basic. The Scandinavian style makes sure to ascertain a certain androgyny for the wearer and with its sleek, minimalist garment framings, it is not difficult to look important when adorned in a Scandinavian capsule wardrobe.
However, every fashion trend eventually becomes saturated with the digital. And one of the most effective ways to ‘ruin’ a trend is by fast-fashion companies refining a trend and churning out cheap replicas. And thus, cheap consumer culture ingrains itself into every trend. But, because the message of sustainable minimalism is at the very epicentre of Scandinavian fashion, the capsule wardrobe interestingly manages to transcend this repackaging of consumerism and becomes one of the few fashion trends that can be considered genuinely sustainable.
Scandinavian designer, Latimmier, in an interview at the 2023 Copenhagen Fashion Week argued that sustainable design is not enough: “In the times of fast fashion and overconsumption, fashion needs a deeper purpose”. This almost paradoxical emergence of a minimalist, sustainable fashion movement seems to be society's reaction to its own obsession with over-consumption. The trend itself is a rejection of TikTok maximalism. In an attempt to migrate ourselves away from the clunky Y2K revival, the 300-dollar Shein hauls and the bi-weekly pattern of microtrends, we will now see the world try to imitate the quiet, sustained luxury of Scandinavian style.
For Latimmier, ecological sustainability goes along with social sustainability. So, the popularisation of the Scandi wardrobe will, most likely, act like a fissure in the fabric of the fashion system. This is not to say fashion-focused globalisation will halt, but it’s interesting, that in the age of fast fashion, this trend’s focal point is re-wearability and sustainability.
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Being a bilingual family (French mother and British father,) living in France I thought your article was extremely interesting . Have you research on bilingualism ? It seems that when the mother is British and the father French and they both live in France their children seem to be more bilingual than when the mother is French and the father is British . This is what we called mother tongue , isn't it ?
Such an interesting article!