Fashion & Beauty

Scandi Style With a Side of Sustainability

August 17, 2021

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From left to right: Ganni tiger-print shirt, Samsøe Samsøe sweater dress and fab graphic jacket from the fall 2021 runway of Rodebjer.


By Janet Kelly

THAT EXCITING, kind-of frenzied period known as Fashion Week is scheduled to begin this year on September 7 in New York and go on to London, Milan and then Paris, before ending in early October. Lately, though, those four esteemed fashion capitals are facing some stiff competition—from the north. During Copenhagen Fashion Week, which ended August 13, emerging and established Scandinavian brands sent their innovative, colorful designs down the runway—to the increasing approval from the fashion cognoscenti.

If your vision of Scandi design hasn’t evolved beyond its reputation for minimalism and functionality on one hand and Marimekko’s poppy prints on the other, you’re missing out.

Plus, given the fashion industry’s substantial environmental impact, these labels from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland are committed to the goal of reducing waste and increasing sustainability.

Fall’s just around the corner and so is our urge to recharge our wardrobes with something new and different. With that in mind, we figured a download on some of these brands was in order:

Copenhagen-based Ganni is probably the one you’ve heard most about—we’ve mentioned them in this space more than a few times. Just saying. Ganni’s standout pieces include graphic shirts, oversized collar blouses and new takes on denim. Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Heste founded their brand in Copenhagen in 1999, focusing on quality fabrics and patterns with a hint of quirk. Stine Goya hit the refresh button on its color palette and combined it with high-octane prints. Swedish designer Carin Rodebjer also has a penchant for prints. Oslo-based Holzweiler began as a scarf brand and branched out to sweaters; Saks Potts’s specialty is eye-catching outerwear, while Samsøe Samsøe earns its design stripes with tailored, wearable pieces.

Also on our radar are Gestusz, Rotate and Cecile Bahnsen, who styles her pricey, sometimes frothy baby doll dresses with comfy sneakers.

Below, a look at the quintessentially Scandinavian skirts, shirts, sweaters, jackets and coats in our shopping sights:


LEFT:  An A-line, all-cotton checked midi skirt ($220, Farfetch) with practical pockets and a forgiving elastic waistband is part of Baum und Pferdgarten’s fall collection.

RIGHT: Pair this hand-knitted, cropped cotton sweater vest ($379, Farfetch) with the skirt above, and you’ve got yourself a statement look. Too too? It will also look perfect with a pair of high-waisted white pants and/or jeans.


LEFT:  We’re all in need of some feel-good moments. Stine Goya delivers with its marriage of optimistic colors and big prints. This Fair Isle Knit Sweater  in a wool, alpaca and poly blend is $425 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

RIGHT: Florals, anyone? Yes, but with an edge. The print on Stine Goya’s Hunter Twill Midi Dress ($340, Neiman Marcus) is cheekily named Opium Ocean and is made from 70% recycled polyester, a green alternative requiring less energy to manufacture and producing less pollution.


LEFT: Unlike fast fashion’s raison d’être, Swedish designer Carin Rodebjer’s goal is to create clothing that’s built to last. Made of recycled wool and polyester, the oversized Waris jacket ($795) takes its inspiration from the classic windbreaker and then adds big patch pockets and a drawstrings on the statement collar to personalize the style.

RIGHT: The showstopper of Rodebjer’s fall 2021 runway, the exuberantly graphic blue and white coat with furry collar is made from a combination of recycled wool and cotton. For even more of a statement, pair it with cigarette pants—in mustard.


LEFT: Ganni’s Tiger Print Notch Collar Shirt plays on the look of the classic button-down with a striking print and a relaxed-fit, stretchy crinkled-satin fabric. It’s $195 at Farfetch.

CENTER: Not yesterday’s or last year’s denim jacket ($351, Farfetch), Ganni breaks the mold with an oversized, ruffled peter-pan bib collar and fun toggle buttons. Also, it’s made of certified organic cotton—with a lower environmental impact (it uses less water and has fewer greenhouse gas emissions).

RIGHT: Go for green literally and figuratively and get your new season knitwear fix in a slouchy V-neck, recycled wool-blend sweater ($195, Nordstrom). Layer it over a crisp white shirt and pair with a leather midi-skirt.


LEFT: Oslo-based Holzweiler creates functional styles with a focus on sustainability— each piece is made with deadstock and recycled fabric. Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Holzweiler began as a scarf brand (don’t miss their checked scarves) and instantly became a hit. Made from an alpaca and wool blend, this oversize, multicolor knitted sweater is $218 at Farfetch.

RIGHT: My go-to throw-on before I go out the door is a zippered navy nylon jacket that’s suited for the gym but, er, not much more. I’d gladly up my game with Holzweiler’s knitted cardigan ($485). It was love at first sight for those wide sleeves, big pockets, slouchy fit and mix of pink hues.

LEFT:  Intent on designing an all-time classic staple in a woman’s wardrobe, Saks Potts’s Barbara Potts and Cathrine Saks rose to the occasion. This Solvej trenchcoat ($843) has all the requisite features—raglan sleeves and deep back yoke. Anticipating the need for extra warmth on late fall and early winter days, the designers lined the cuffs and collar with Harris Tweed and added a detachable inner vest, also in the same tweed that can be worn separately. Inside pockets accommodate a smartphone, AirPods, wallet, keys, even a newspaper!

RIGHT: Saks Potts’ wheelhouse is outerwear, like this gorgeous, swoon-worthy pale green leather Amalie Coat  ($1,921) with contrast piping and sleeves with button cuffs.


LEFT: An eminently practical but sophisticated sweater dress ($310, Nordstrom) in a season-spanning neutral from Samsøe Samsøe. Cheers for the white buttons and slightly flared hem. Wear with bare legs in early fall, then slouchy boots when the Fahrenheit falls.

RIGHT: A utilitarian jacket in bubblegum pink and brushed cotton corduroy from Samsøe Samsøe could lift one’s spirits any old time of year. It’s $220 at Nordstrom.


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3 thoughts on “Scandi Style With a Side of Sustainability

  1. Nancy G says:

    I love the coats, too!! Just has to be cold enough in the US to actually wear a winter coat. Also love the pink zip up cardigan and the Waris Jacket.

  2. Such great stuff—loved the coats—noticed freshness in the look of all the “Scandi” style.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Those coats are pretty fab, agree! Glad you liked the looks, Judy. Me, too!

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