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Sweden signature design aesthetic is perhaps most famously captured by the well-known megalith of a minimalist home furnishing store. However, that global industry is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the best sightseeing in Sweden - Stockholm in particular - is the fashion found in boutiques, runways and sidewalks throughout the city.
A tale of two fashion weeks
January and February are particularly good months for fashionistas to visit Stockholm, as the city revs up in anticipation of two different fashion week events. The first is the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, held Jan. 27-29. Leading Swedish fashion brands will descend upon the city to showcase their collections for next autumn and winter. The second event is Stockholm Fashion Week, running in the first week of January, where trade fairs, shows and press events will give further insight into next seasons' fashions. While these showcases are mainly geared toward fashion buyers and press, some of the events for Stockholm's fashion week will be open to the public. There is also always the distinct possibility to catch some of the latest style out on the street.
Yet, fashion enthusiasts need not plan their trips around these events in order to get a taste of the Swedish fashion scene. The country is known for its minimalist design, which equally expresses itself in practical yet refined clothing, according to Sweden's official website. The phrase "fashion wonder" has been thrown around to describe any number of successful Swedish fashion houses, the website expounded, among them Acne Jeans and the global fashion brand H&M. Stockholm itself offers plenty of venues to explore everything from cutting-edge fashion to vintage wear. For an introduction to the Swedish fashion landscape, Visit Stockholm suggests Carin Wester, Hope and Whyred, all labels that have vendors in the city. Meanwhile, travelers who prefer more vintage clothing have plenty of places for second-hand, eco-friendly shopping.
A history of style
The best place to start and end a tour of Stockholm's fashionable side is not a boutique, but the Nordic Museum. On display from 2010 to 2015 is the Power of Fashion exhibition, a look into 300 years of clothing and its global role as both social mirror and influencer. The exhibit highlights a decade from each century, providing insight into niche design, such as youth fashion, the symbolism of torn clothing and the history of luxury. The educational tour is a great way to provide some perspective on a trip geared toward an entire nation's fashion trends.
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The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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