Stockholm, Sweden

  • Date
  • 24 September 1999

This afternoon, I shopped, walked the streets and watched people – some of my favorite things to do in a city. By this I learn what product lines are selling, pricing and the clientele able and willing to buy these things.

I walked down Drottninggatan, filled with department stores, shops, cafés and a packed McDonalds (there are at least 15 on the 14 islands of Stockholm). After a 15-minute walk, I made my way to NK on Hamngatan, an upscale department store with brands like Escada, Hermes, Prada, Calvin Klein, Sergio Rossi and Moschino. I searched for the Swedish designer Filippa K, since many people I asked said this designer was one of Sweden’s best. Filippa K, on the second floor of NK, offers clean style with an edge that makes it fresh without being too trendy and thus going out of fashion instantly. White tapered shirts, coats, skirts, dresses, pants and sweaters are on sale. The clothes, made of cotton, wool and stretch fabrics, come in neutral colors along with grey, which is still popular in this part of the world.

Also in NK I visited Marc O’Polo, Tiger and Shirt Factory – all Swedish fashion companies with stores selling affordable shoes and/or clothes.

From NK, I walked back to Drottninggatan and visited H&M – a large store offering clothes and accessories for the entire family. Jim told me this company is taking Europe by storm. The target market here looks to be budget shoppers who want the latest look at little cost.

Another department store selling cosmetics, clothes, accessories, books and more is Ahlens. This store reminded me of a very large Belks, which is a North Carolina department store that sells traditional, practical and mass-market clothes – never going too high tone or trendy on merchandise. A bookstore on part of the ground floor was packed with several lines of 30 people queuing to pay. English-language paperbacks had the most prominent display selling for 98 kronors or about US$12.

When I began walking these streets earlier in the day, I’d noticed many people standing in long lines at Bankomats (automatic cash machines). I figured the time – around 2 p.m. – was the cause of the queues (people taking out money during their lunch break). But as the day progressed and I walked more and more, I saw this queue at every Bankomat. Much activity; supply and demand are not in synch.

I stopped on the way home for a cup of tea at an outdoor café and briefly looked over a magazine, Wallpaper, I’d bought for the first time (thanks to the recommendation from Fredrik, our webmaster). The magazine is filled with articles from around the world, particularly Europe – and the correspondents are literally from all parts of the world so locals report on trends and issues instead of writers flying in to report what’s hot or happening in a city. The magazine covers design, architecture, food and fashion. I was quite impressed with this glossy and would suggest it to anyone who loves magazines as I do.

Other designers I want to find during my stay in Stockholm: Anna Holtblad, known for her long knitted Shetland cardigans. Also Nygards Anna Bengtsson, who does traditional folk ware with a modern flair. Johan Lindeberg, one of the designers who established the Italian company, Diesel, has his own line called J.Lindeberg selling suits and sports clothes.