Swedish Design and Fashion: So damn good.

Why do the Swedes have such great design and fashion?  What is it about living in a country that is dark during the winter and bright during the summer that teaches someone what “good design” is?  Must be something that is truly Swedish.

Right when I bought my apartment, I was so happy that I showed all of my friends in the US pictures of the interior.  Everyone commented, “Wow! It looks just like an IKEA catalog!”

10 years ago, I probably would have been offended. IKEA had a reputation for being a place that only broke college students went to for disposable flat-packed furniture.  But now, I take that as a compliment.  I am proud of my kitchen’s clean lines and high usability factor.  I am happy with how easy it is to clean and to keep fresh, and most of all, nicely it fits in with the rest of the apartment.  Swedish apartments are amazing – I love looking at photos of apartments for sale just to get an idea of what other people are doing with their homes.

The San Francisco Bay Area has a slew of furniture stores that cater to those of us who like the IKEA look but want something “fancier.”  (For those of us in Stockholm, think of equivalents to Bolia or Mio.)  An example is Scandinavian Designs, which prides itself on a wide selection of furniture inspired by Swedish and Danish design.  Then there’s CB2, a Crate & Barrel company that also has a bunch of modern furniture. So clearly, others love the simplicity too.

And then there’s the whole fashion side of things.  Swedish fashion is amazing! I have never looked this good in my life 🙂 The tailored fit, the contrasting colors, the pocket squares, the mildly wild and crazy socks from Happy Socks — who knew that dressing up for work could be so fun?

But this begs the question – why is Swedish design and fashion so pleasing to the eye? (Don’t even get me started on Swedish women…)  What makes Sweden different?  Is it the water? The limited sunlight for 3 months of the year?  The candy? My friend Josh and I have often commented at how easy it is to tell if someone is visiting from the US just by looking at the way they dress.  “Big jeans, big shirts, not tailored fit, awful colors…”  It’s not that we don’t have nice clothing in the US — we do — but I guess it’s just how people put the pieces together.

Josh and I used to also joke that if we wore this clothing back in the US, we’d immediately be labeled as “gay” because of how good we looked.  A real compliment to gay men everywhere.  But hey, if gay men dress well, just imagine how well a gay Swedish man would dress.

In any case, I don’t really know the answer to the question of why the design and fashion here is so damn good.  But I just thought I’d throw it out there as another #TrulySwedish thing.

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