The Cult of Cool


O wonder!

How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,

That has such people in’t.

Alighting at Stockholm airport, my thoughts mirrored Shakespeare’s words in the Tempest. O brave new world. I fell in love in that airport. Truly, madly, repeatedly. With whomever happened to wander into the firing line of my gaze. Yes, the Swedes are renowned for the proportions of a Michelangelo statue and the coloring of a Van Gogh night (all gold and blue) – but not everyone was beauteous. Everyone, on the other hand, was cool. 


Scandinavian Fashion is the middle child to its European siblings. With the Italians and the French getting all of the attention, Swedish labels go under the radar. This is reflective of the style itself. From ACNE ankle boots to H&M basics, the style is best described by a Swedish word with no direct English equivalent: Lagom. Lagom is both an adjective and an adverb that denotes ‘neither too little nor too much’. In Sweden it is as applicable to their unique economic system as it is to Christmas decorations. It is this sense of balance that I believe calls the Swedes to the Cult of Cool.


After six months living in Sweden, my thoughts mirrored the title of Aldos Huxley’s iconic novel. O brave new world. I was beginning to wonder if I had fallen into a fashionable dystopia. In Stockholm, there exists a ‘Sourdough Hotel’ – a place for hipsters to leave their fashionable bread when they jet off on holiday. This had gone too far. I was starting to wonder if the Swedes were in fact more cult than cool.

When I was a kid, we used to try and dig a hole through the world to China. In fact, if we had been successful we would have ended up somewhere closer to Sweden. Even though Australia and Sweden are literally polar opposites, there’s hardly a lampshade of difference between my friend’s bedrooms in Sydney and Stockholm – right down to a book case called Sven. Ikea is a democratizing force, making clean lines and woodgrain finishes affordable world over. But if everywhere is stylish, is anywhere? 

And so, after months spent stalking Swedish girls to ask where they got the wide-legged trousers, my path took a turn. I went in search of a pair of crocs. With my feet encased in red plastic I hurtled away from the Cult of Cool.


Disclaimer: I’m still in love with one particular swede.

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