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Scandinavian Folklore Inspires This Fall/Winter 20-21 Men’s Wear Trend

Scandinavia is the gift that keeps on giving. The region’s traditions, architecture and folklore serve as the inspiration behind Fashion Snoops’ Fall/Winter 20-21 men’s wear trend story, “Tempest.”

In a webinar with Informa, Michael Fisher, Fashion Snoops’ vice president and creative director for men’s wear, urged designers to “reinvent archetypes” and the “time-honored prints and styles” that have become symbols of the region with exciting color and patterns. The theme, he added, is based on an imaginary seaside hamlet lost in time, where fishermen may not even realize how vibrant their traditional Fair Isles, tartans, plaids and tweeds can look in a “world of sameness and excess that we’re experiencing in retail.”

Colors with a whimsical quality, like yellow, gold, turquoise, pink and scarlet are a must, while nature-inspired shades of brown, blue and green help ground prints and patterns. The colors come together as traditional plaids with soft brush stroked lines, argyles with individual flair and chunky patterned knits with unconventional shapes. Other prints mimic the blocking pattern of Scandinavia’s colorful coastal buildings or incorporate artistic renderings of Lutefisk.

Scandinavia's traditions and prints are the inspiration behind Fashion Snoops's whimsical Fall/Winter 20-21 for men's wear.
Harry Styles Beretta/Sims/Shutterstock

The trend feels both comfortable and novel, while its core group of one-size fits all silhouettes and slouchy and relaxed shapes takes the guess-work out of daily dressing, Fisher said. Oversized puffer coats with detachable vests are a key item, offering designers a chance to play with color blocking. “We’ve moved away from slim layered puffers,” Fisher said. “The more oversized they are, the better.”

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Oversized turtleneck sweaters are also important, refreshed in untraditional colorways. Wide wale, relaxed fit corduroy trousers with tapered legs are “cool again,” he said, especially in rich jewel tones. And rugby shirts continue to trend for the contemporary and young men’s markets. “We like when there’s a clashing of stripes and rugby patterns,” Fisher said.

To capture the spirit of Scandinavia’s craftsmanship, blazers take on a handmade look and feel with updates that feature Fair Isle sweater sleeves, pockets or lapel trim. Others are spliced together with tech nylon. Mixed materials are also carried into men’s button-down shirts, Fisher noted. Look for styles with clashing bandana prints, quilted details, contrasting fabrics and undone hems.

Scandinavia's traditions and prints are the inspiration behind Fashion Snoops's whimsical Fall/Winter 20-21 for men's wear.
S/S 19 N.Hoolywood WWD/Shutterstock

In denim, this revamping of tradition is resulting pieced denim tunics with white contrast stitching or cozy velvet trims, wax coated Trucker jackets dyed with organic ingredients and the “craftsman jean,” a wide-leg silhouette with needlework stitching, patchwork and an overdyed indigo wash. There’s even room for denim to be added to cardigans as a frayed shawl collar or a self-belt, Fisher said.

Simple footwear silhouette help balance the tactile, print-driven trend. Suede tennis shoes, hybrid hiker boots and desert boots with a boat shoe upper and thick crepe sole are key, Fisher said. Canvas messenger bags with front pockets trimmed with smooth leather and outdoor-inspired backpacks are timeless, while other accessories like silk neckerchiefs, logo knit beanies and wire glasses add a sartorial vibe to the classic pieces.