• Sweden edition
 
GREAT SWEDISH BRANDS
Ten Swedish brands everyone should know
Photo: Absolut Vodka; Exotic Car Life/Flickr; Jason Hargrove/Flickr (file)

Ten Swedish brands everyone should know

Published: 08 Nov 2011 11:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Nov 2011 17:37 GMT+01:00

Here’s a list of ten Swedish products and brands you should also get to know if you don't already. Related gallery.

Cheap Monday

Swedish fashion become synonymous with this rock inspired, old school brand in recent years. Its characteristic washed-out slim jeans with the unique skull label have spread widely across the world since Örjan Anderson and Adam Friberg founded the company in Stockholm in 2000.

Cheap Monday recently released its first ever shoe collection, and also sold a rather odd collection of jeans named “Customized by Nature” during a recent show in Paris. As the name suggests, a number of jeans were placed left outside to soak up mother nature’s harsh treatment and come out as 30 individual pairs of jeans.

Acne Jeans

Acne Jeans is slightly older than Cheap Monday, and another popular fashion export out of Sweden. It was founded in Stockholm in 1996 by a group of four, and has since been climbing steadily towards the group’s common goal to create a lifestyle of subtle luxury.

Founder and Creative Director Jonny Johansson, and Thomas Persson, editor for Acne’s own magazine, Acne Paper, were featured in the New York Times as their new store in the fashion metropolis started attracting new costumers.

Hasselblad camera

For almost as long as the camera has existed, Swedish camera company Hasselblad has been in the photography business. In 1841, the first store opened up in Gothenburg, and 100 years later, Victor, a fourth generation Hasselblad, grew up to take a big step for the family business.

During World WarII, German surveillance planes flew back and forth over the Swedish border to Norway. Many crashed, and when Swedish authorities managed to seize a surveillance camera from one of the planes, the camera expert Victor Hasselblad was asked to reproduce it.

“No, but I can make a better one,” he allegedly responded. Months later, in 1941, the first Hasselblad factory was established, producing their first camera, the HK 7, for the Swedish military.

Today, Hasselblad is known as an exclusive and luxurious optics brand, making cameras, scanners and accessories for the thick wallets, such as the H4D Limited Edition Ferrari camera, priced at €21,499 ($30,000).

Koenigsegg

Someone looking for a “safe family car” will most likely stumble across Swedish machines such as Volvo and Saab. But let’s be honest, those brands both have seen better days.

However, there is another car brand that might not commonly be pinpointed to Sweden, which has completely different features.

Since enthusiast Christian von Koenigsegg founded the company in 1994, he has been working towards creating the perfect super car, building only a few individual cars each year.

One of the standing world records for Koenigsegg is held by its model Agera R for going 0-300 km/h in 14.53 seconds. Forbes magazine praised another Koenigsegg model as one of the top 10 most beautiful cars in the world.

Filippa K

“Uncomplicated yet modern clothes to suit every occasion.” That’s what the creators of Swedish fashion brand Filippa K had in mind when they formed the business in 1993.

Filippa Knutsson wanted to fill the gap she’d discovered on the Swedish clothing market, and left clothing store Gul&Blå to start her own business along with Patrik Kihlborg and Karin Segerblom.

Early on, Filippa K became a big national success in Sweden with the characteristic women’s stretch jeans. A few years later Filippa K Man was launched, and the success started to spread across Europe and North America.

WESC

WeSC, short for We are the Superlative Conspiracy and casually known as We, was founded in Sweden in 1999. At first flourishing mainly in street and skateboarding subcultures, a clever marketing scheme soon led to the brand becoming widely known internationally.

Instead of regular advertising, We pretty much relied solely on famous actors and artists to wear, and thus promote their clothes.

Now the brand has stores in for example Tokyo, Paris and New York and is a global phenomenon, not least for its colourful and stylish headphones in an endless number of varieties.

Absolut Vodka

One can assume that Absolut Vodka founder Lars Olsson Smith was thrilled when, in 1922, Swedes voted in the country’s first referendum not to issue a complete ban on alcohol, roughly 40 years after his groundbreaking liquor was introduced.

Swedes seemed to have been left unconvinced by the campaign for prohibition, which featured a man passed out with a bottle in hand in front of his devastated wife and kid. Instead, fun-loving Swedes were more swayed by the warning about loosing their nubbe (shot of schnapps) for traditional crayfish festivities which Swedes hold very dear.

The good news allowed Absolut Vodka to grow increasingly popular, and in 1979, the company V&S Group completed what became a wildly successful launch on the American market. Six years later, Absolut Vodka was the most imported vodka in the US, and it is currently the third largest producer of alcoholic spirits in the world.

While Absolut vodka remains closely associated with Sweden, the brand was bought by French firm Pernod-Ricard as part of its acquisition of the V&S Group in 2008.

Husqvarna

Whether your hobby is sowing, cooking, gardening or motocross, you will have no trouble finding a highly-esteemed machine produced by this legendary Swedish company.

Husqvarna was founded in 1689 as a weapons foundry for the Swedish military, and the logo was made to resemble the sight and barrel of the musket rifle.

Almost 200 years later, Husqvarna started making domestic appliances and sewing machines, and later on bikes and motorcycles. In fact, their motorcycles were used in the Swedish military and included option of attaching skis to the side for snowy winters.

The Husqvarna Group is currently the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products such as chainsaws and lawnmowers, and it was the first to introduce a solar powered robotic lawn mower.

The Pirate Bay

One of the newer "brands" out of Sweden that have made it big internationally, is the extremely controversial website The Pirate Bay.

Launched in 2003, this tracker site was a pioneer within online distribution of digital media. However, its success would become too great for its own good, one might argue. In 2006, Swedish police raided their server halls and confiscated all their servers.

Three years later, the four founders of the site were sentenced to several stiff prison sentences and hefty fines for facilitating the violation of Swedish copyright laws. Nevertheless, the site is still a big actor in file sharing and has servers halls all around the world.

Snus

People have sniffed it, smoked it and chewed it, but Swedes were among the first to embed tobacco under their upper lips.

Not technically a brand, snus, also known as wet snuff, is a tobacco product invented in Sweden in the early 1800s, when tobacco was still a common crop to grow in the chilly country. Snus has had tough competition from both cigars and cigarettes throughout the years, but had a big upswing when reports started showing the harmfulness of smoking.

In later years snus increased in popularity in Sweden after smoking was banned in restaurants in 2005. American news show CBS 60 Minutes devoted an episode in 2010 to examining the Swedish product and its pros and cons compared to smoking.

While Swedish Match remains the dominant manufacturer of snus in Sweden and is attempting to market the product abroad, US tobacco companies have also begun to selling snus products inspired by the Swedish original.

Related links:

Joel Linde (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

14:50 November 8, 2011 by bubbagump
I might be mistaken, but Eletrolux probably should be on this list. And again, not 100% here, but Absolut vodka is now French.
16:53 November 8, 2011 by Migga
@ Adrian37

What does your link have to do with this article?
16:58 November 8, 2011 by skogsbo
whilst not techincally pure Swedish, volvo, scania..
17:24 November 8, 2011 by Gm_Tuzik
Those links do NOT work :(
17:48 November 8, 2011 by Rick Methven
Whereas Volvo /Scania/Saab cars are no longer 100% Swedish they are built on Swedish ingenuity.

Saab Aircraft military aircraft are still Swedish and the design of the Draken, Viggen and Gripen are 100% Swedish and in aviation Boeing has used Swedish technology in their aircraft.
18:50 November 8, 2011 by fashionterror
Yepp, my grandmother should definitively know that Cheap Monday is a Swedish brand!

http://www.fashionterror.org/
23:18 November 8, 2011 by swenrika
There is a lot of good that comes from Sweden.. a small county by number of people only, but some great minds :)
02:14 November 9, 2011 by Marc the Texan
How about Tetrapak.
02:17 November 9, 2011 by xexon
I don't expect to see Hasselblad survive. The digital revolution has got to be killing them.

I live in timber country in the Pacific NW of the US. Husqvarna is a respected name around here. They have a bright future.

I used to like Volvo's. You could spot that square box going down the road easily amid all the other square boxes of 30 years ago. Now, they just blend in. You can see the front and get an idea it's a Volvo, but the rear end looks like everybody else's. No imagination.

x
08:43 November 9, 2011 by swedekk
Some famous Hasselblad pictures.

http://www.hasselblad.com/about-hasselblad/hasselblad-in-space.aspx
09:04 November 9, 2011 by matwright06
Skype & Nudie jeans could probably hit that list before a few of the others...then there's Björn Borg, and Spotify!
09:45 November 9, 2011 by Swedifornia
Skype and Spotify are on this list:

http://www.thelocal.se/36004/20110907/

They should probably make one more with the ones mentioned in the comments.
16:43 November 9, 2011 by Adnan M
Snus is the Swedish invention? I doubt that though. There are couple of countries outside Europe which are known for using snus. Snus there is more commonly used by men than in Sweden. They have a very little idea about snus to be also used in Sweden.
17:37 November 9, 2011 by Migga
@ Adnan M

Snus is Swedish. Are you sure you aren`t thinking about snuff, dissolvable tobacco or chewing tobacco? Snus as we know it today was created in Sweden.

/watch?v=0TOggbNAdgQ&feature=related
21:52 November 10, 2011 by skogsbo
Astra zeneca and skf, who make ball bearings, far bigger globally than some clothing label or website, which could easily be gone in 5-10 years
15:35 November 11, 2011 by Fika
and don't forget about the Swedish Greeting Giant - Fika Town www.fikatown.com
00:52 November 12, 2011 by ingela
My dad was in the team with Victor Hasselblad, when they built the first camera.

He worked for them until he retired in 1983. Brilliant camera, I think they will survive

many more years.
06:59 November 13, 2011 by dukesy
I agree with the comment about Volvo,big square boxes on wheels,not todays `jelly mold` shape that blends in. I believe,although i stand to be corrected,was the `side impact system not originally a Swedish idea. Knowing a neighbour of mine in Newcastle that has/is retoring a 144S,on a `68` vintage plate,what happened to the classic `Swedish Tank`,if you hit someones car,worry about the other car.....not the Volvo......great cars,go anywhere,and 40 yrs later some are still on the road. The Brits could build ships,and the Swedes could build cars.

Also,off your list,although probably just a small company compared to some....Abba sea foods,i believe they date back to the 1920`s....certainly produce some nice sea food.....and of course for record sales and some fantastic,timeless music,on a par with the likes of The Beatles,The Beach Boys,to name but 2 is Abba,the Foursome must surely be on your list somewhere...certainly put Sweden on the map in a BIG way. (proud to admit to being a fan)..but they are Swedish homegrown talent. (Not much of that left in the charts now....all covers)

Anyway,thats my rant....great site,very interesting to read...keep it up

John from Uk
21:38 November 13, 2011 by Dimukas
Oriflame , Oriflame, Oriflame !!!
11:39 November 20, 2011 by kicki
Have we forgot Findus and WASA bread ( now Barilla owned)..
Today's headlines
Politics
Reinfeldt's top team hold last meeting
Fredrik Reinfeldt is exiting Sweden's political stage. Photo: TT

Reinfeldt's top team hold last meeting

Sweden's outgoing centre-right cabinet have gathered for their last meeting, as Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven prepares to take over as Prime Minister. READ  

Interview
Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Geena Davis. Photo: AP

Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'

Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Geena Davis was an exchange student in Sweden in the seventies and was once engaged to a Swede. She chatted to the The Local's Natalia Brzezinski about how she'd love to star in a Swedish movie. READ  

Politics
Löfven in U-turn over restaurant sales tax hike
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Löfven in U-turn over restaurant sales tax hike

Incoming Prime Minister Stefan Löfven won't be increasing taxes in restaurants as promised, despite his strong criticism of the former government's tax cuts in 2012. READ  

Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: 2nd - 9th October
The Weeping is one of the works on sale this weekend. Photo: Stockholm's Affordable Art Fair

What's On in Sweden: 2nd - 9th October

Stockholm's Affordable Art Fair returns, British rocker Midge Ure is in Malmö and one of Gothenburg's most creative spaces is hosting a ten year anniversary party. READ  

Sport
Malmö beat Olympiacos in Champions clash
Rosenberg celebrates his second goal. Photo: TT

Malmö beat Olympiacos in Champions clash

Malmö became the first Swedish side to win a Champions League match in 14 years after beating Olympiacos 2-0 on Wednesday night. READ  

Education
Three Swedish unis in world's top 100
One of the buildings at the Karolinska Institute. Photo: TT

Three Swedish unis in world's top 100

Three Swedish universities were ranked among the top 100 in the world in the new Times Higher Education ranking, with another two featured in the top 200. READ  

What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

What's next on Sweden's political stage?

Upcoming Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced his new Red-Green coalition government on Friday, but what happens next? Here are all the important dates you need to know. READ  

Politics
Nuclear freeze agreed by new government
A nuclear power station in Forsmark, Sweden. Photo: TT

Nuclear freeze agreed by new government

Sweden's Social Democrats and Greens Party have announced a coalition agreement to halt nuclear energy development. READ  

International
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
A Swedish soldier in Afghanistan. Photo: TT

Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection

The Migration Court in Malmö has ruled that Sweden's Migration Board was wrong to reject the residence applications of seven Afghan interpreters without assessing their protection needs. READ  

The Local List
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
Speak Percussion will perform at Connect in Malmö in November. Photo: Connect

Top five winter festivals in Sweden

Autumn has swept into the country and chilly days lie ahead. But there are plenty of winter festivals where you can warm up in the coming months. With tickets already selling fast, here are The Local's top tips. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: October 1st
Analysis
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
National
JohannaN: Jewellery inspired by northern Sweden
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Blog updates

01 October

Future tense – ska or kommer att? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Karen had a question the following question on that about future tense: Explain when you use “komma att ” and “ska”. I’m running along forever here using “ska” and realize suddenly everyone uses “komma att” this and that all the time! In Swedish there are three different ways to express future tense and they are not..." READ »

 

01 October

Academy-Award Winning Actor Geena Davis on Changing the Way We View Women in Media (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"There are two moments in Geena Davis’s life that molded her into the powerful women’s advocate and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media she is today: living in Sweden and starring in Thelma & Louise. The first part of her personal journey took flight in Sandviken, a small rocky town east of..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

866
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN