Scandinavian chic hits London’s East End

Scandinavian chic by TOM FLEMMING
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Scandinavian chic by TOM FLEMMING

Hop on a tube to Shoreditch or Brick Lane and you instantly enter into London’s East End hipster scene. It’s a colourful sea of people and its thriving.

Featuring subtle flashbacks of almost every post war movement with a modern twist, the trendy subculture, consisting of middle class adolescents ooze individuality. They’ve revelled in making something as nerdy as thick, black-framed glasses look so cool and dare I say it, sexy.

Favouring the underdog, hipsters flourish in the world of independent music, alternative lifestyles and non-mainstream fashion. High street stores just aren’t acceptable, unless you’re willing to pay the extortionate prices of American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. So where do the hipsters of today get their inspiration and much sought after trendy eye for fashion? Let me enlighten you.

When we think of Scandinavia, we instantly think of Ikea and those delicious little pastries we Europeans can’t get enough of. It is rarely been thought of as a fashion hotspot, until now.

Overshadowed for years by neighbours like France and Italy, Scandinavia is known for its more practical take on fashion. However, we have now entered an era where geek is chic and Scandinavia has embraced this with open arms.

Denmark, the underdog of the fashion world, is now receiving a lot more recognition in the fashion industry. This year’s Copenhagen Fashion Week welcomed over 50,000 overseas guests and the city is now the fifth largest clothes export. It is liberating to know that the little guy, Scandinavian fashion, is now at a level to be able to compete with the likes of New York and Paris in such a refreshing and retro way.

Caroline Van Luthe is the owner of quirky Scandinavian boutique, Wild Swans. She’s been in the fashion industry for over 15 years. Bringing Scandinavian fashion to London, she said: “Danish fashion has become so big because they manage to make things that can work for every day but can still make you feel sexy and trendy when you go out in the evening.”

Fashion followers of today will know they no longer need to be glamorous or done up to the nines. Hipsters in particular have adopted the ‘minimal effort and I still look flawless’ look. Spending hours perfecting your mainstream outfit just doesn’t cut it anymore. Less is definitely more and the Scandinavian people have practised this for years. Caroline added, “Everyone owns a bike in Denmark so you have to wear something that’s practical to ride a bike but still sexy enough to be able to go out after work.”

Although Copenhagen is unlikely to ever take over the main fashion spots such as Paris and Milan, it appeals to it’s own niche demographic, which appears to be a young and trendy population in a recession, where high end couture pieces are no longer desired. Danish fashion has contributed a lot to the ‘on trend’ hipster look we see so much of around the East End. The geeky look of buttoned up shirts, Dickie-bow ties, rolled up trousers and those little hats we see on so many young hipster men, have been around for years in Denmark.

Maybe the hipster scene is not as alternative and non-mainstream as we once thought?

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