Can we differentiate between a Frenchman and an Englishman via their attire? Would you know a German gentleman purely from his sense of style? Would you recognise a charming Italian signora (ahem, lady) from the way she put her outfit together? How do other countries that don’t wear a traditional costume mark out their individualism through the way they dress, and are there any differences between us all in terms of what floats our boat fashion wise?
We got in touch with 9 of our favourite fashion bloggers from all around the world to get them to let us in on their fashion secrets, and what styles are typical of their home countries…
Here’s part two of our feature with our favourite fashion bloggers from around the globe, enjoy!
Who: José Amorim
José is the Chief Editor and founder of LuxuryActivist.com, an International lifestyle webzine based in Switzerland.
Where are you from: Switzerland
When you think about Switzerland, we all tend to imagine beautiful mountains, happy cows and lots of good chocolate. Well, it is true, but Switzerland has much more to offer. Rich of centuries of tradition, Switzerland became a great source of inspiration for a new generation of fashion designers. The Swiss thing is pretty much about precision, quality, and innovation with a subtle iconic design. The outdoor lifestyle you can experience in Switzerland is rich of symbols and materials.
Of course winter and summer is not exactly the same but Swiss people enjoy living out of their homes pretty much all year long. And this influenced the way they dress a lot. Edelweiss is a mountain flower that is linked to Switzerland worldwide. Traditional clothes have used this flower as an ornament and as a symbol of belonging to the Alpena region.
Today, this style inspired several designers who twisted it with a more modern sophistication. Several Swiss or Swiss based designers are keeping the Swiss style reinvented thanks to their creativity and a very rich traditional heritage. Labels like Porternier Roth, Redley Exantus, and Toujours Toi Family Affairs, are examples of Swiss creativity. ‘Outdoors’ in Switzerland is definitely part of people’s life.
In summer as well as in winter, people enjoy going to the mountains and by the lakes. With such amazing landscapes, it is obvious that you want to embrace this natural life. So, several brands have used this outdoor inspiration to build a consistent fashion attitude. Brands like Mammut and Victorinox. Mammut is a true institution in Switzerland; you cannot be a true Swiss if you do not own at least one piece of Mammut clothing. Victorinox, the makers of the legendary Swiss Army knives, also has a fashion line, completely inspired by the Swiss way of living.
Switzerland is a great destination full of surprises and a great quality of living. Traditions merge into the modern life and create a very unique style of its own. Swiss ingenuity is not a legend it is part of all creative processes, and when it comes to fashion, style is pretty sharp – as is a Swiss Army Knife.
Who: Geri Ross
Geri is an avid Korean-German fashion blogger (gerigazette.com) and writer who is now living in London.
Where are you from: Germany
When you think of Germany and fashion, there’s probably not much crossing your mind.Or at least nothing all too trendy, hip, fashion-forward or breathtakingly innovative.
Yet, let me remind you that not only Adidas bathing sandals (which we fondly call ‘adiletten’) but also the legendary orthopaedic shoe manufacturer Birkenstock, originate from the land of lederhosen.
Not convinced? Both are currently undergoing much talked-about fashion revivals, albeit controversial ones that is, dreaded by some and celebrated by others. Regardless of popularity or pet peeve potential, adiletten and Birkenstocks range among but two clichés about Germany and its inhabitants’ sartorial predilections that are stubbornly etched into many people’s minds. And let’s face it, in the end; they always hold a bitter sweet truth, don’t they? German cityscapes are to large extents dotted with urban dwellers that might make you wonder: “Are these people heading to a hiking outing in the Black Forest?” when they are really on their commute to work.
But we all know that exceptions prove the rule, and apart from bum-bags, trekking boots and socks with sandals there is indeed much evidence for interesting fashion design ‘made in Germany’; as demonstrated most recently during Berlin Fashion Week in January. Ivanman, Hien Li and sopopular range among those designers and labels that testify to the diverse creative potential for menswear that’s been bubbling up in good ole Deutschland.
No matter if you opt for Ivanman’s dapper aesthetic with an avant-garde twist, Hien Li’s minimalist cuts and architectural silhouettes or sopopular’s military inspired pieces – Germans can dress and they can clearly do so all clad in local designs.
Whether they team them with adiletten or Birkenstocks, is however, a whole different question.
Who: Ilaria Icardi
Ilaria is a translator and fashion blogger who is in love with her boyfriend, fashion and life.
Where are you from: Italy
All over the world, Italy is recognized as one of the pillars in fashion and synonymous with quality and tradition. Gucci, Valentino, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Giorgio Armani: these people have made history with their styles and ideas.
My country is known for its sense of beauty: art, food, wine, and fashion. It’s like a sort of label: buying, for example, a pair of Italian shoes means choosing something of quality and also beautiful. We have one of the most prestigious manufactures in the world and we care about the whole production process. The Bridge, for example, was born in Scandicci (near Florence) in 1969. The brand is specialized in the production of leather accessories, combining perfectly Italian quality with a touch of English style and its products last for over 20 years. I always say: “You don’t buy a simple bag; you make an investment for life”.
In my family we have several The Bridge items, the older ones have more than 15 years at least and are in perfect conditions, with a vintage taste. I can affirm that it’s a bit like wine: it becomes much better when gets older. Another example is the younger Italia Independent, fashion wear brand by Lapo Elkann, which blends design, tradition and innovation. A key role is played by the eyewear collection, and velvet and colour turning effects are important elements of this brand, given by using high technologies and innovative design.
Furthermore, Italia Independent has several partnerships with other Italian and international personalities and brands, such as Smeg, Colmar Originals, F.I.R. (Federazione Italiana di Rugby), Fiat, and Karl Lagerfeld. It’s a modern brand which revisits classical icons in fashion and high-tech fields, for people who love traditions but at the same time want to change, living life at full and being independent from conventions.
We care about quality and details, maybe too much, or maybe even in a wrong way. In fact, some people often confuse quality with being fashionable. Some people can’t always (or ever) afford high quality clothes, as it has a significant cost. Low cost fashion is a good compromise between quality and style but people don’t always understand it and judge the others.
That’s not fair, because I think that you can wear a full Gucci outfit, but if you don’t have style you can still look horrible! Nevertheless, I love Italy and I’m proud to be part of a country whose traditions are loved from the rest of the world.
Even some words of our language are used by other cultures (“ciao”). It’s a beautiful thing and I love it!
Sanne is an avid fashion lover, shopaholic, and mother and thinks fashion blogging promotes ordinary women with a passion for fashion.
Where are you from: Denmark
What does it mean to be ‘Danish chic’? Is there a staple garment – like wooden shoes for the Dutch, and kilts for the Scottish?
When you think about Denmark, you probably think of bacon and butter, rather than of fashion. But actually fashion is one of our biggest exports. We do not wrap ourselves in slices of bacon, but we do have a national aestheticism. It’s just a bit more subtle than what you might expect. It’s not a particular type of garment as much as it is a style.
Danish style is all about minimalism. As soon as you get off the plane, you will notice that most people favour wearing black. That observation might initially lead you to the conclusion that we are a dreary, depressed people. But actually in 2013, we were declared ‘the happiest country in the world’. The real explanation is that Danes like things that are understated. Generally, we find bragging and calling unwanted attention to ourselves distasteful. That’s why being ‘classy’ in Denmark means wearing clothes that flatter, but don’t flaunt your ego.
Denmark is a social democracy and has been for almost a century. We are proud to pay our taxes, and we enjoy a society where the wealth discrepancy is less than almost anywhere else in the world. This egalitarian approach reflects in our fashion: It’s downplayed, streetwise, and practical.
Usually fine feathers make fine birds – but not in Denmark. Construction workers and business execs will wear the same labels. Take WoodWood, for example: A label which was founded by former graffiti artist Karl-Oskar Olsen. The heir to the Danish throne, Prince Frederik, frequents his shop.
So do I, though I’m pretty sure my income would not stand a comparison to his!
Who: Carolyn Higgins
Carolyn is a 25 year old fashion blogger living in Melbourne who is inspired by modern and archival fashion editorials and look books, and has worked at the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Where are you from: Australia
I think Australian style is all about being comfortable. We are a very stylish nation, but comfort always plays a huge part in how we dress and the items that we choose to fill our wardrobes with. ‘Fashion-forward yet relaxed, without having to try too hard’ is how I would describe our style in one sentence.
Take a look at Australian bloggers Jessica Stein (Tuula Vintage), Elle Ferguson (They All Hate Us) and Brooke Cullen (Maiden Sydney) for instance – I’d say that they are the epitome of the Australian way of dressing at the moment. A mix of high fashion and mainstream labels, all styled very individually and most often than not, shying away from trends or how another would wear it.
A great pair of denim jeans and a loose plain tee is how I envision most weekends to look like for most of us, but always having that statement piece to add a little extra something when necessary. That kind of dressing is what I feel that we do best. On the other end of the scale, ‘event’ dressing is something we do really well, think of the Melbourne Cup, Portsea Polo or Fashion Week events, where everyone steps it up a notch and is a little more daring with their choices.
Australians aren’t afraid to embrace their individuality and think outside of the box. I love that you will rarely see the same outfit twice. It is great that even the men dress really smart, even in a more casual state of mind.
Unfortunately we do not have any quirky fashions, well-known fashions or costumes; however I really wish that we did. Wouldn’t it be more fun?
Right now though we are heading towards the end of summer, which means saying, “see ya later” to our Triangl bikini’s and swimming shorts for another 6 months!