A Fleeting Look at Scandinavian Fabrics

As with most Scandinavian goods…

 …Nordic textiles and fabrics have an instantly-recognisable look and feel to them. Just a glance at a swatch tells you that it’s Scandinavian and that it will bring that feeling of cosy functionality to anything you use it for. What are the elements of Nordic fabrics, then? Let’s break them down.

They’re strongly influenced by nature

Or “the nature” as they say up north. The Scandinavians spend a huge amount of time in the great outdoors and a lot of their designs, whether two or three dimensional, are derived from the world they see around them – birds, plants, mountains, moose… They’re also fond of supernatural beings, like elves and trolls, and these fantasy figures loom large in their designs, especially when it comes to Christmas. If you see a roll of fabric with a boldly-coloured pattern of birds, leaves, snowflakes or fruit and vegetables, the chances are that it’s Nordic.

Geometry is also important

There’s very little room for chintz in Scandinavia – it’s too “bitty”, too busy and yet not quite committed enough. It doesn’t “say” enough – about anything. Nordic textile designs, however, have no problem with stating their case. They’re bold, strong and pared-down – those moose are reduced to their elemental shapes, but there’s no doubt about what they are. Even if the design is abstract, symmetry and assertive shapes are important.

The colours are usually natural

There’s very little neon or fluorescence going on in Scandinavian fabrics; the hues are most often inspired by the colours of the world around the designer. Even if they’re quite muted – different shades of moss and mint green, for example, there’s a certain quiet strength there. There’s no need to shout to grab attention, although when Christmas is approaching the volume can go up a bit.

The fabrics themselves are natural

Most often, a Nordic fabric is made from cotton, linen felt or wool, sometimes a mixture. These natural fibres are multifunctional, warm when they need to be and cool when they need to be. Like all Scandinavian materials, they need to perform well, on more than one level, to earn their keep…

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