Pernille Teisbaek explains what’s behind the current obsession with Scandi style

Pernille Teisbaek

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Between the world’s obsession with the delightful Danish lifestyle trend of hygge (the art of cosiness), the rise of fashion brands such as Ganni and Cecilie Copenhagen and the somewhat feverish coverage of the street style at recent fashion weeks in Copenhagen and Stockholm, it’s safe to say there’s a current obsession with Scandi-style. And it goes well beyond Ikea bookshelves and the fervour that Sarah Lund’s woolly jumpers created in the cult Danish TV series, The Killing.

As The Business of Fashion noted in a recent article on the growth in the fashion industry in Copenhagen (now its fourth largest export), this year’s fashion week saw a “noticeable rise in international press and buyers”.

It would seem that dressing like a Scandinavian (and living cosily like one too) has become a big industry.

Good timing, then, for one of Scandinavia’s best-known fashion “it girls” (there’s a slew of them on social media – including founder of fashion label Totême, Elin Kling, blogger Caroline Blomst and jewellery designer Freja Wewer – whose outfits are documented on fashion websites around the world), Pernille Teisbaek, to release a book this week titled Dress Scandinavian: Style Your Life and Wardrobe the Danish Way.

For Teisbaek, a stylist who has 490,000 followers on Instagram and had her recent wedding to clothing designer Philip Lotko featured in Vogue, the book was a chance to share tips and tricks about nailing Scandinavian style.

The first must-do for stylish women in Copenhagen?

“Learning how to bike in high heels.”

For Teisbaek, who says the secret to Scandinavian style is “that comfort comes first,” the aesthetic is “comfortable, minimalistic, classic but with a focus on interesting details that make your outfit pop”.

It’s fashion maths that translates well to how Australian women like to dress too – easy, minimal, but with a twist.

Deborah Symond, the founder of active and leisurewear outlet Mode Sportif, says that she is seeing an increased interest in Scandinavian brands stocked in her online and Paddington store. So much so that she is investing further into Scandinavian brands, seeing them as a perfect fit.

“The foundation of  Mode Sportif is built on dressing to support your lifestyle, and we find Scandi brands also have this at the core of their ethos. It is because of this that we are expanding our Scandinavian offering with brands like Heartmade, Coster Copenhagen and Flippa K Soft Sport this year,” she says.  

Symond says there’s a definite affinity between Australian and Scandinavian style.

“Australian style is uncomplicated and clean while still having a playful feel,” says Symond.

“Customers want something fresh and sophisticated with a fashion edge and we see a number of parallels between Scandi and Aussie style. Our clients want a high-low mix, prints and well cut classics. It’s laid back and cool.”

Candice Fragis, buying and merchandising manager of luxury online retailer Farfetch, sees the appeal of Scandi style in its ease.

“[It’s] uncomplicated, chic, relaxed elegance,” she says.

“Scandi style translates well for everyday dressing; it references trends without being completely led by them.”

Fragis believes the rise Scandi style also speaks to fashion lovers looking for both form and function in their clothes (as The Business of Fashion notes, more than half the Danish population cycle every day). Plus that other fashion trick – having something that other people don’t, or at least, getting it first.

“[There’s a] big move towards ‘functional’ fashion alongside the surge of sportswear … I also feel that generally the trend is to look further afield for style references and newness; people are looking for breadth of range within accessible fashion brands that are made well.”

As for Teisbaek, she sees the interest in Scandinavian fashion as a way of people looking to find more calm, style (and yes, hygge) in their lives.

“I think it’s something that people can relate to. It’s easy to accomplish this style and it’s something that you would feel comfortable wearing. We use our homes much more than other cultures, which means that it’s necessary to be surrounded by beautiful things in a cosy setting.”

Nailing Scandi style

  • Sneakers go with everything  
  • Invest in good basics like white t-shirts and shirts, they won’t fail you
  • Opt for comfort in relaxed fits and flat shoes
  • Mix super feminine pieces back in with more masculine cuts, i.e. boxy blazers and slouchy trousers
  • Don’t be afraid of clashing prints and colours 
  • Layering will add texture and interest to your outfit

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