but it ain't so.
swedes are great at branding their creations and can even work nostalgia into a brand in ways that seem fresh. walking the streets of downtown stockholm celebrates the success of swedish fashion labels: huge global chains all based in sweden is really something to marvel.
an example of a strange attempt of inserting a rather random appearing story into a line of fashion is monki. the story starts:
Not long ago, an unexpected chemical reaction in an old factory released a batch of plump black Monkis. Waddling on tiny chicken feet from the still-smoul-dering chimney, the little creatures flapped their wee clumsy wings in an attempt to fly into the wide world
and continues with a distinctive visual imagery and graphic expression with these little creatures living partly in forest, part marsh and part imagination.
the brand identity of monki is clearly visually pushed, but the background story of "chernobyl" critters remains unexplained at the stores themselves. with neon bright pop colors, led-lit dressing rooms with enough mirrors to create nausea, and little islands popping from the floor that hold the clothing, the stores themselves are reminiscent of your worst idea of an acid trip. at the same time, they're perky and fun.
what's great about monki, is the fact that they catch the core of young swedish street fashion.
i still remember the time when a trip to sweden would instantly inform the tourist what was fashionable and what wasn't. the homogeneity of stockholm residents is probably still unsurpassed, but because of street style blogs and the explosion of variety in affordable fashion, swedes no longer stand out as much. when it comes to us visiting the capital of blonde fashion ambition, we're nowadays usually well aware of what is in and what is out...
h&m has long gone from offering the height of trends although they still succeed in pushing out imitations of high fashion at remarkable speed. monki seems to pick up what the trend setters wear and create an entire collection around the södermalm indie kids who lead the fashion pack.
it is the dedication of the brand that i admire. they offer their interpretation of what is the "ultimate now" and they sell it cheap. very cheap, actually. it seems that swedes realized a greater trend coming our way at the launch of cheap monday and later, three years ago, at monki. everything at the store seemed to be less than 400 kronor (about 45€) and the prices were honestly marked at even hundreds and tens. none of your 99-insinuations here.
and what is in fashion, then? everything inside the store was about recreating the early 90's semi-auntie look: big flowery dresses, high waists, denim shirts and loose'n'boxy jackets. they did not offer a choice. it was either that or nada. the trend was already visible last summer, but the attitude was stronger and less compromising.
and since they had a basic grey sweater with a lacy twist (from their collaboration line with ida sjöstedt) i just had to get me one. you can never have enough of grey sweaters, right maire?