So you’re picking up the obligatory Byredo vetiver hand cream and a pair of tapered Acne jeans on your trip to Stockholm. Still, something is missing. And it’s no surprise: Sweden’s internationally established brands are great, but the country’s capital offers a whole world of other retailers waiting to be discovered!
Fortunately, there is a place where Sweden’s most famous brands rub shoulders with their local counterparts and visitors get the best of both worlds – Bibliotekstan! Looking to buy something your friends in LA and Paris can’t? Read on.
Founded in 2001, HOPE became an instant hit with Stockholm’s fashion elite thanks to its clean cuts and penchant for the simple. Their contemporary clothes aren’t just made from the best quality fabrics (we’ve never touched softer linen scarfs!), they’re also as sustainable as possible: in fact, over 20% of HOPE’s collections recycle carry-over designs from previous seasons. Moreover, the brand believes gender and conventions shouldn’t interfere with individualism. All garments are therefore labelled with both men’s and women’s sizes, encouraging customers to dress and express themselves however they please. HOPE is a progressive brand with timeless designs – make sure to check out their minimalist rose gold jewellery and super comfortable, oversized hoodies! We simply can’t stroll around Bibliotekstan without popping in.
A mere minute walking from HOPE, Insanto offers one of Stockholm’s most exciting beauty shopping experiences (let’s face it, a new outfit isn’t complete without a new scent!). The boutique-style perfumery is a treasure trove of all those premium brands you won’t find in regular stores: Xerjoff, Bois 1920, Nasomatto and a whole bunch we guarantee you’ve never even heard of! Other than fragrances, there is a vast range of cosmetics covering both luxury and lifestyle sectors – Insanto doesn’t care about a brand’s price point; they prioritize quality instead. To top things off, the boutique is located in the pompous Birger Jarlspassagen, a shopping passage built in the late 19th century. Bibliotekstan doesn’t get more beautiful than this!
The Swedish Handicraft Association, Svensk Hemslöjd, was launched in 1899 to promote Nordic crafts. Its store has been continuously open ever since and visiting it feels a bit like stepping into a museum! While most items are rooted in traditional designs, we can’t help but admire the contemporary flair encompassing everything from wooden cutlery and floral print oven gloves to hilarious candlesticks in the shape of folk costume dolls. Dive into the store’s unique repertoire and you’ll soon notice those fine details only handicraft can achieve. Nothing here is mass-produced and everything is original, making Svensk Hemslöjd a prime destination to buy souvenirs and presents from! Feeling inspired to craft a little something yourself? Well, lucky you! The store’s knitting and embroidery materials are second to none.
Okay, Konstnärsbaren isn’t exactly a shop but no visit to Bibliotekstan is complete without a stop here – and anyway, all that shopping gets one hungry, no? Though it’s today known as ‘KB Artist Bar’, the popular restaurant has been around since 1931. It’s really a Stockholm institution (ask a local!). Konstnärsbaren’s lavish interior was created with the help of famed Swedish artists such as Einar Forseth, Robert Högfeldt and Isaac Grünewald. Amazingly, works displayed here have been for sale since day one: a restaurant concept that has since become commonplace. We wouldn’t blame you for getting distracted by the ever-changing art exhibitions staged here, but don’t forget to order something from the menu! Do baked artichokes served with mushroom tortellini sound okay? We thought so.
Photography by Arild Vågen
[CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)]