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The evolution of Scandi-cool aesthetic

  • Malin Andrén, designer and founder of Swedish fashion brand By Malina speaks to Lounge on Scandinavian style and looking beyond minimalism
  • Acne Studios, Filippa K, Nudie Jeans and Holzweiler are among other Scandinavian fashion brands which seek to stand out beyond conventional designs

A printed dress from By Malina
A printed dress from By Malina

Scandinavian design’s aesthetic lies at the crossroads of minimalism, functionality and sustainability. But a number of new fashion brands and designers are looking beyond this long-established aesthetic. Take, for instance, By Malina. The Swedish womenswear brand founded by Malin Andrén offers a new take on Scandinavian style with vibrant prints and colours. In June, Andrén was among the visiting panellists and participating designers at Swedish Style Mumbai, an event organized by the consulate general of Sweden. But Andrén’s tryst with India goes deeper. “We choose to create embroidered clothes here as Indian artisans are good at it," she says. “Now, I’m looking to bring beading and more exclusive embroidery from here to Scandinavia."Lounge spoke to Andrén about the evolution of Scandinavian style and its influence on global fashion. Edited excerpts:

Malin Andrén.
Malin Andrén.

How would you describe Scandinavian style?

For a lot of people, Scandinavian style is minimalist—straight lines, androgynous, wearable, timeless. It is based on practicality.

How has this style evolved over time?

There has been a huge change in Scandinavian style. It isn’t informed by what you see on the streets, but what you see on social media. It’s not just minimalist style any more. It has integrated international trends in colours, patterns and prints. One of the more important features today is sustainability. Our customers are also curious about our techniques, such as our resource usage, production processes and distribution.

How does Scandinavian style influence fashion and design around the world?

Scandinavian style has delivered quality to the world, especially with its aesthetics and technological advancement. Its products are durable, long-lasting, and instead of being mass-produced, they are meaningfully produced. However, with the influx of global trends, Scandinavian style has also changed in itself. As famous as minimalist style is, there are many more different tastes across the world. Of course, a few brands can still deliver that range of style well, but they have to keep evolving their aesthetic to stay relevant.

How would you describe By Malina’s aesthetic ideology?

I felt that Sweden was missing a brand that had classic designs with more bold colours and prints; a brand that dared to be different and stand out from classic Scandinavian minimalism. By Malina’s clothes are colourful and energetic. Every collection is inspired by a place or city—its architecture, colours, cultures and ambience.

How do you ensure that your brand is sustainable?

Since 2019, we have been using recycled polyester and eco-friendly cotton. We are trying to produce closer to headquarters in Europe. We are distributing and delivering our products via train, instead of flying. People in Sweden shop a lot, and they like to try clothes on at home.

While shopping online, customers are encouraged to order clothes in limited quantities. This helps reduce their travel carbon footprint.

Scandi Cool

These are some Scandinavian brands that are moving beyond the minimal aesthetic

Acne Studios

Acne’s (Associated Computer Nerd Enterprises’) multidisciplinary approach brings a polished aesthetic to its clothes. Its custom-developed fabrics are tailored to create a contrasting sense of design.

Filippa K

This Swedish fashion brand is rooted in sustainable practices and timeless aesthetics. Clean lines and understated elegance define its minimalist designs.

Nudie Jeans

While Nudie Jeans’ denims are made from organic cotton, what’s special is that it mends its clothes for free, recycles worn out ones and resells them.


Norwegian brand Holzweiler specializes in ready-to-wear outerwear designs, combining patterns and prints with functional shapes.

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