Crystal clear skies, biting wind, and the magnetic blue sea – this is what awaited me and my friend in Oslo on a spring break trip. The city was amazing, the people were amazing, and the street style? Amazing. The fashion sense in Oslo was distinctly different from other countries I had previously visited. It was understated, yet simultaneously chic and mature. Neutral tones (primarily black, grey, and white) seemed to have been the favored choice, and the occasional pops of color were carefully integrated so as not to overpower the outfits. A simple oversized coat, accompanied by a large black tote bag and comfy scarf, was all it took to tastefully compose an outfit that screamed flawlessly chic. The overarching theme I noticed in Oslo, no matter the outfit, was that nothing ever looked forced or constricted. Comfort and elegance were paired together meticulously. This simplicity, coupled with a slight hint of androgyne, was what I found so intriguing. It was eclectic, a breath of fresh air. Only occasionally would you see brightly ornamented purses, belts, wild patterns, or even complicated hairstyles. The Norwegians emanated an effortless aura that was sophisticated and timeless – in one word: minimalist.
Minimalism is not Oslo-specific. Rather, it is a small component of a large fashion and lifestyle movement currently sweeping through Scandinavia and beyond. It is transcending the world of fashion and leaving its mark in the world of interior design. It is a style that compliments various areas of life. Two key characteristics of minimalism, specifically in interior design, are an emphasis on simplicity, and a neutral color palette. Common design elements include: light colored walls (white, usually), earthy elements (such as green plants and exposed wood), few decorations, symmetrical, organized unity…In sum: the less, the better.
However, minimalism is not all about having less; rather, it is about organizing space in a way that promotes order and is visually and aesthetically appealing. It stresses the importance of reducing unnecessary clutter that does not enhance your life. Perhaps this is precisely what I was observing in Oslo’s street style. It seems to be a unifying cultural aspect of the Nordic countries that connects fashion, interior design, and other aspects of daily life. Stripped of unnecessary embellishments, minimalism presents only tasteful, complementary pieces that work to present a unified vision.
The minimalist trend is also taking initiative globally. It is gaining attention as not only a clean, ordered taste for interior design and fashion, but also as a global response to an ongoing climate crisis. People are becoming aware of how they can live a more ecologically sustainable lifestyle, and one of the solutions is to own less. It promotes a lifestyle devoid of frivolity, and instead focuses on living only with the essential. Thus, minimalism is present in multiple facets of daily life. It is a key component of Scandinavian street fashion, a popular interior design style, and a new environmentalist lifestyle.