Swedish design and innovation is pretty legendary so narrowing down 11 local brands all Swedes love and those you’ll want to seek out isn’t easy. That said, we’ve got eleven very cool ones that include fashion but aren’t just about fashion – which means you can 360 your brand experience.
Happy Socks are, well happy, featuring colourful, whimsical designs that make you want to take your hem up an inch or two in order to better show off your great footwear. One can’t say for sure but the generalisation that Swedes take off their shoes when entering a home might explain the inspiration behind this incredibly popular line of socks. Happy Socks also does limited edition collaborations, such as the recent Beatles Limited Edition for the 2017 holiday season. Moreover, the company has also ventured into underwear so expect great colourful bums!
This Swedish coffee chain Wayne’s opened its original shop on Kungsgatan in Stockholm in 1994 and in doing so revolutionised Sweden’s fika tradition by taking the concept all across the country. The concept has proven so popular that not only do new outlets continue to open up in Sweden, but the company is expanding into other markets – and the concept remains the same: good coffee, good fika. You really can’t go wrong with that!
Filippa K has been the go-to designer for anyone who adores the sleek, minimalistic, subtly sexy Swedish style. Founded in 1993 as a line for women, today you can also find menswear, shoes, accessories, and even sportswear – all of which offer classic styling with a modern sensibility.
Mmm… Marabou – the strap line for Marabou says it all. This brand of Swedish chocolate may be everywhere but there’s a reason for that – it’s delicious, comes in a variety of flavours, and is always introducing new flavours while phasing out others. People actually reminisce, with great fondness, flavours of the past, such as the legendary coconut years.
This fantastic makeup shop grew out of founder Gun Nowak’s frustration in not being able to find makeup to match the neon fashion she was carrying in her three very hip boutiques. And when a woman can’t find what she wants, she creates it! Today Face Stockholm is an iconic Swedish makeup brand, with its sleek, modern packaging containing everything a modern woman needs to enhance her own personal beauty. Face has also collaborated with some iconic brands such as Reebok and Scandic Hotels.
You’ve probably heard of Sweden’s other big furniture chain (need we even tell you the name?) but Mio is a bit of an under the radar favourite. It offers furniture and home furnishings at reasonable prices and with pretty great style – and the best bit is that you don’t need to go out of town to some big box of a shop. Mio outlets are often right in the middle of the city, so you can choose what you want and have it delivered.
Swedes love coffee, full stop. In fact, they love coffee so much they drink up to ten cups a day – and they like their coffee strong. This is where Sweden’s favourite coffee brand Gevalia comes in. It may sound Italian but it’s actually from Gävle, where the Christmas Goat is on arson watch every year. But forget the goat and try the coffee – when a country that loves coffee as much as Sweden names its favourite brand you know it’s going to be good.
Friskis & Svettis
Literally translated as ‘Healthy & Sweaty’ Friskis & Svettis is a non-profit organisation that promotes health and wellness to anyone for a reasonable price. The organisation offers group classes and all sorts of training and it’s all based on volunteers. There are facilities in schools, municipal buidlings and other places, and during the summer there are a plethora of outdoor classes as well. It’s also one of the most popular activities in Sweden, where people take their fitness seriously.
This Swedish outdoor clothing range got its start when the founder created the Kånken backpack in northern Sweden, giving every Swedish child the chance to wear one of the world’s sturdiest, most well-balanced – and ugliest – backpacks in the world. Fjällräven managed to build on that original backpack, creating a huge brand that offers quality outdoor wear that is also stylish and cool. And for a country that loves the great outdoors this may be its quintessential brand.
Redfellas likes to call itself the ‘fresh food mafia’ and this rather unique concept – gangster bar/café/restaurant – is serving up healthy, tasty fare in an incredibly welcoming atmosphere that somehow incorporates every cliché of American gangsters without being offensive. It has made Redfellas one of Sweden’s fastest-growing eateries and it’s so popular that it plans to expand beyond Sweden, so you too may soon get your chance to enjoy a casual Redfella’s business lunch, a family dinner a la the Sopranos, or a deep talk at 1am over a delicious pizza.
This hard cheese from the north packs a big taste punch and while it might seem slightly out of place on this list it was actually named to the top ten list of Favourite Swedish Brands in 2016. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting it you might know why: the taste is somewhat like Parmesan but the texture is entirely different. It’s creamier yet more granular. It’s been called the King of Cheese in Sweden – and it’s so popular that sometimes it sells faster than it can be produced. And a quick word of advice: if you ever get a chance to try Västerbottenpaj – Västerbotten Pie – jump at the chance. It is otherworldly!