How Stockholm Designers Are Perfecting Menswear

© Robert J Spangle/Thousand Yard Style

“Once Swedes get into something, we tend to do it thoroughly,” said Konrad Olsson. “And we can abandon our identity quickly. Right now, men in Sweden are really into the Italian tailoring traditions, with a return of soft suiting.”

Olsson is a veteran of Stockholm magazines and a founder of Scandinavian Man, a multi-platform venture that spotlights and, with a new store, sells menswear from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. As a Swede, he is, of course, partial to designs from his homeland, especially those coming from a fresh crop of younger tailors in the city.

In stark contrast to much of men’s current street style, which seems to be sneakers and sweat suits (“That’s around here too, just more in Copenhagen”), Olsson credited the polished Stockholm peacocking of Byredo founder Ben Gorham and local stylist Lalle Johnson as bellwethers of this new Nordic sprezzatura.

And the tailor responsible for their looks is young designer and haberdasher Atelier Saman Amel. Launched in 2010, Amel’s label offers made-to-measure suiting (prices start at around $2,000) rooted in the lightly structured Milanese tradition, along with enough layerable, hand-knit pieces to withstand a Swedish winter. “It’s cold here,” Olsson acknowledged, saying the essential item of the moment is a classic wool shirt jacket from Oscar Jacobson that can pull double duty.

Left to right: Shirt from Neighborhood, found at Nitty Gritty in Stockholm; CDLP underwear. Courtesy Nitty Gritty; Courtesy CDLP

“Keep in mind we’re indoors a lot, so there’s also a luxury loungewear thing happening here.” CDLP, founded by Swedish filmmaker Christian Larson and Andreas Palm, is the base layer favored by locals, from tighty-whities to windproof long underwear. Larson and Palm, who work exclusively in biodegradable materials, have recently expanded into socks and very loungy—if impractical—velvet swimming trunks.

With a premium placed on an exacting signature (as well as sexy, Instagram-friendly marketing), CDLP is emblematic of the new class of Swedish menswear brands that were founded on one absolutely perfect thing: Ron Dorff (sweatshirts), Tärnsjö Garveri (boots), All Blues (men’s rings), and Palmgrens (briefcases).

“Swedish men’s style has shifted aesthetically from the skinny jeans and slim silhouette established during the early years of Acne,” said Palm. He recommended the department store Nordiska Kompaniet and small menswear concept shop Jus as places to find both the smallbatch and global Swedish menswear brands.