Fashion powerhouse Acne has locations worldwide, but its flagship boutique in Stockholm is a must-visit for shoppers as well as history buffs: the boutique on Norrmalmstorg square in housed in the former bank where the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ robbery took place (the hostage crisis of 1973 was also the first crime to be captured on live television in Sweden). One of Sweden’s most fashion-forward brands, Acne was founded in 1996 and gained immediate popularity thanks to cofounder Jonny Johanssen, who gave away 100 pairs of hand stitched jeans, and magazines like Vogue began covering the then–denim-only label. Shortly after, Acne began producing sophisticated fashions for men and women, as well as shoes and accessories. The flagship boutique, which features stately Roman columns from the original structure, is located just next door to the stylish Nobis hotel in central Stockholm.
A must-visit on the Stockholm interior design circuit, Asplund sells its own line of minimalist furnishings as well as a curated selection of pieces by the best Swedish brands. Stocked with simple, Scandinavian furniture, carpets and accessories, Asplund also sells smaller pieces like whimsical paper products and kitchen accessories from its Asplund Kitchen line.
Jean fanatics will find their fill at Dr. Demin, an industrial-style boutique selling everything from jackets and overalls to a variety different of washes of jeans. The shabby chic store features a black tiled floor, and racks hanging with relaxed, everyday styles for men and women.
A former model, Efva has built a jewelry empire that now reaches as far as New York’s Meatpacking District. At the Stockholm flagship store you can see the full range of her mostly silver jewelry that is simple, elegant and occasionally crude (some pieces bear slogans you’d never see at Tiffany).
While Scandinavian design has come to be defined by a streamlined, simple aesthetic, the Gustavian style is typical of Sweden’s iconic palaces and historic buildings. Dedicated to the fanciful style that resulted when King Gustav III returned from Versailles in the 18th century, Garbo Interiors is located in a massive, warehouse-like space that simultaneously feel cozy, thanks to ceramic pots of blooming hyacinths and a greenhouse atmosphere. Selling everything from garden furniture and Gustavian reproductions to linens and cashmere fashions, the design studio is a one-stop shop for beautiful things of all kinds. The store itself is a study in rustic elegance, with exposed pipes, unfinished floors and blooming flowers throughout, which, coupled with tea cakes and friendly salespeople, makes it hard to leave—a least without scooping up some wares to bring home.
SoFo’s most famous concept store stocks all ingredients for a hipster-approved lifestyle: Tex-Mex cookbooks, beard trimmers, vintage home furnishings and a curated selection of designs from Scandinavian clothing lines. Swing by the lifestyle brand’s first location in SoFo (there are a few others scattered throughout the city) to scoop up folksy clothing and mid-century modern designs. Grandpa is particularly fun to visit during SoFo nights, when the boutique employs a DJ to spin tunes while visitors peruse the racks.
The most amazing store in town for design and interiors is, in fact, Danish. No one with a weakness for Scandinavian design should miss a visit to Illums Bolighus.
Stockholm is, of course, full of sleek, gleaming examples of modern Scandinavian design, but don’t overlook the more traditional crafts. At Iris Hantverk you can stock up on all sorts of things that aren’t very glamorous—dish towels, brushes, soaps—but are a joy to use when they’re made with skill from Nordic materials such a linen and birch.
Jackson Design AB
Icons in the design world, Paul and Carina Jackson opened their eponymous storefront in 1981 and have been outfitting it with rare, unique 20th-century pieces ever since. The duo have displayed their finds at international fairs for decades, and consult for TEFAF and Art Basel, and their Stockholm shop offers the best of their incredible collection (most of which is housed offsite at their warehouse). Iconic Scandinavian designers represented at Jacksons include Gunnar Asplund, Carl Malmsten, Josef Frank and Johnny Mathsson, but the store also offers international vintage designs including vibrant retro furniture from the 1970s and glass collectibles.
Since 1951, this art cooperative has sold products from nearly 100 different vendors. With a focus on Swedish handicrafts, the gallery offers high-quality wares including pottery, textiles, leather goods and silver jewelry.
Stockholm native Lisa Carrol’s plan to launch a women’s fashion line was put on hold when she was unable to find any kids’ clothes that would not irritate her premature daughters’ (Liv and Lilly) sensitive skin. When her doctor recommended Peruvian pima cotton, which was nearly impossible to find in Europe at the time, Carrol ordered bundles of the cloth and began hand making her daughters’ clothes. Seizing the opportunity at hand, Carrol launched Livly in 2014, and subsequently opened several stores in Europe and her first stateside boutique in NYC’s TriBeCa in 2015. The precious children’s designs are prim and proper, with sweet patterns like clouds, butterflies and flowers, and a pastel color palette. The Stockholm flagship also offers toys like fluffy stuffed rabbits and mini white bathrobes to match mom and dad.
Lundgrens Antikhandel AB
In addition to Rococo mirrors and Gustavian furniture, Lundgrens carries dazzling crystal sconces and chandeliers. Look for ones designed by Pehr Zethelius, a highly regarded silversmith, or Pehr Ljung, a decorative sculptor from the Gustavian era.
Carl Malmsten (1888–1972) was one of Sweden’s great furniture designers and today his grandson Jerk runs this store that sells Malmsten's best pieces alongside works from today's classic labels. The armchairs are amazing, but there are also many smaller pieces that are easier to fit into a suitcase to take home. The two-story emporium is a can't-miss for design lovers.
A Scotsman, Andrew Duncanson, runs the finest shop in town for mid-century modern furniture. Modernity has built a global reputation for having the most extraordinary pieces by all the big names of 20th-century Scandinavian design.
This couture temple in Stockholm’s city center is the place to go for international high fashion from designers like Balenciaga, Tom Ford, Lanvin, Céline and more. The sleek boutique stocks styles for men and women, and routinely has massive sales when much of its inventory is discounted at up to 70% off.
NK (Nordiska Kompaniet)
NK, a kind of Swedish Bon Marché, offers the crème de la crème of Scandinavian design and fashion. The lower level sparkles with Swedish glass. Upstairs are floors of sportswear and home décor, including reproductions of Gustavian chairs and tables. On the top floor is a well-stocked book department stacked with Swedish design books and useful travel tomes.
One of Europe’s leading interior design stores, Nordiska Galleriet occupies a sprawling space on Nybrogatan in Ostermalm. The gallery sells an array of Nordic and international designers, and such furnishings as lighting fixtures, smaller giftable pieces and classic contemporary furniture.
Once a supplier of saddles and other equestrian necessities, this goods store now has everything from classic luggage to leather desk sets to jewelry cases in vivid neon colors.
SoFo’s most iconic shop comes in the form of this 1930s-inspired candy shop. Filled with relics from the early 20th century—vintage music boxes, retro wood paneling and scalloped chairs—Pärlans Konfektyr harkens back to an age when penny candy stores reigned supreme. Selling artisanal caramels (the vanilla salt flavor is the widespread favorite), the sweets shop is one of Stockholm’s most unique spots to pick up souvenirs to bring home: each treat is packaged like a present on an original French candy wrapping machine from the 1950s. Pärlans also sells a variety of other goodies including caramels sauces, ice cream bars and Rifle Paper Co. stationary. Note: Parlans is closed for part of July – check hours before visiting.
Polarn O. Pyret
You may notice that many Swedish babies are clad in blue-and-white stripey clothing. It’s the trademark fabric of Polarn O. Pyret, which makes outstanding kid’s clothing. Swedish parents love the designs and the durability of the clothes. There are additional locations throughout the city.
Swedish designer Carin Rodebjer has won Elle’s Fashion Designer of the Year three times, and her enviable fashions can be found at her stunning, 3,200-square-foot flagship in central Stockholm. The womenswear line offers feminine designs for the modern woman in simple prints and elegant cuts.
Tucked down an unassuming alleyway just off-the-beaten-path in Ostermalm is Snickarbacken 7, an all-in-one café, art gallery and concept store. Occupying an early 19th-century building that used to be a stables, the hip hangout boasts vaulted ceilings and a candlelit work/dining space where local entrepreneurs and friends gather to catch up or take advantage of the free WiFi. Bites on offer include the usual café pastries including Swedish cinnamon buns, but also dishes like a vegan caesar salad and egg and caviar mousse sandwich served on a seeded, crusty roll. Further back in the warehouse-like space is the eclectic boutique, which sells mostly small goods and home décor items like Cereal city guides, Mast Brothers chocolate bars and Jose Gourmet products (canned fish, jams, olive oil) from Portugal.
Svenska Rum Antikt
Founded in 1924, this celebrated gallery-store is the source for classic Swedish and Danish design and textiles. The lighting, printed fabrics, wallpapers and furniture were designed in classic style by Josef Frank, Svenskt Tenn’s longtime art director. The only licensed Fornasetti dealer in Sweden, Svenskt Tenn is a trove of one-of-a-kind furnishings that meld European precision with Swedish functionalism. There is an interior design studio and café, Tesalong, located on the second floor.