For those seeking Sweden’s distinctive directional cuts and sleek functionality, Jakobsbergsgatan is a particularly rewarding destination. The road, formerly a low-key part of the city’s exclusive Bibliotekstan shopping district, is now attracting a growing line-up of hot Swedish labels. Up-and-coming brands from Our Legacy and Nudie Jeans to Elvine and Sandqvist are making Jakobsbergsgatan their home.
The names congregating along the mid-section of the street represent the new generation of Swedish talent which is breaking ground internationally, following in the footsteps of Acne Studios, Whyred, Anna Holtblad and Filippa K. They’re confident and ultra modern yet maintain a quiet sensibility. Cuts are clean and fuss-free, but this is a distinctive kind of minimalism, one which clicks with consumers and inspires designers from other parts of the world who are seeking to emulate the Scandinavian look. Some non-Swedish brands openly model their approach on that of this Nordic country, with a few even going so far as to give their brands a Swedish-sounding name – UK denim purveyor Wåven being one example.
Aside from their knack for elevating the urban everyday look into something far more compelling, Swedish designers typically price their wares at the more accessible end of luxury. This formula has paid off in Sweden and beyond: Sandqvist’s distinctive, much-copied canvas and leather-detail backpacks, which retail at €120 on average, are slung across almost as many shoulders in London as in the label’s native land (Sandqvist opened its first London store in Soho in spring 2016).
Back on home turf, in what is now Sandqvist’s second Stockholm store, the team explains the magnetism of Jakobsbergsgatan. ‘One of the reasons why we chose to open a store on the street is that we liked the idea of sharing it with so many fellow Swedish labels,’ explains Sebastian Westin, co-founder of Sandqvist. ‘The street has a really nice indie feel about it, yet its central location makes it commercially viable. It also offers a bit of breathing space as it’s tucked away from the area’s main street, Biblioteksgatan. The fact that you’ll find all the global luxury brands nearby adds to the appeal of Jakobsbergsgatan, bringing an exciting mix of people and cultures to the area.’
Streetwear label Elvine, the brainchild of former street art star Daniel Mänd, joined the Jakobsbergsgatan community with its first store in 2015. Designed by reputed Swedish design studio OkiDoki, the distinctive space carries the full Elvine collection for men and women, including a healthy selection of outerwear – a category in which Elvine excels. So what makes Jakobsbergsgatan a good fit for the Gothenburg-based brand? ‘We’re actually better known in cities abroad than we are in Stockholm, so we wanted to open a store right in the thick of it so that nobody would miss us,’ explains Mänd, now the brand’s creative director. ‘The vibe of the street is friendly and relaxed; you won’t find the really exclusive stores here and this suits us perfectly since we’re a democratic brand offering street fashion at fairly moderate prices.’
In the past, before Bibliotekstan morphed into the style haven that is it is today, most young designers would have opted to open stores on the trendy island of Södermalm, where the offbeat-cool neighbourhood of SoFo (south of Folkungagatan) is the ultimate draw. But as Mänd notes, ’old clichés’ about the different areas of Stockholm are loosening up, proving that indie fashion can thrive in urban centres. It’s both admirable and crafty of Stockholm’s planners to have dedicated an area in the heart of the city to local designers.
While many major international shopping areas are populated by the same big names, Jakobsbergsgatan has become a destination for fashion mavens. This one street offers a wealth of options when it comes to exploring the phenomenon of local labels which is being described as ‘the Swedish fashion miracle’. Here’s hoping more cities will follow Stockholm’s lead, giving much-needed retail space to home-grown talent.