Sweden is known for its clean, simplistic designs in everything it creates: its decor, its architecture, and definitely its fashion. It’s this same concept that Swedish models are selling to fashion influencers all over the world, trading in bold patterns for a sophisticated, minimalist style.
While Sweden may not boast a fashion capital quite to the extent of Paris or Milan, that doesn’t mean the country doesn’t have its own fashion icons to look up to. Swedish models like Elsa Hosk and Frida Gustavsson embody Scandinavian fashion to a T, and their massive online followings say enough to speak for themselves. In a world that’s increasingly turning toward minimalist designs, these women are on the forefront of a fashion revolution.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Swedish models, and while they may not all be strutting on catwalks, they all have one thing in common: they’re making the most of their Scandinavian style and inspiring the rest of us to follow suit.
Here are some of the leading Swedish models in today’s fashion industry:
Elsa Hosk’s career as a Swedish model began earlier than most. She was already working by 14 after her father submitted her photos to various modeling agencies in the country. However, she quit modeling after she graduated to play professional basketball instead, which she pursued for two years. She eventually left basketball to return to modeling, and since then, she’s had an illustrious career. She’s modeled for top designers like Dior and Dolce & Gabbana and became a Victoria’s Secret Angel, walking for the lingerie line’s annual fashion show every year since 2011. She’s currently listed as number 15 on model.com’s Top Sexiest Models list and has amassed over 4.5 million followers on Instagram — and is thought to be the inspiration behind Queen Elsa’s look in Disney’s Frozen. She may deny it, but we see the resemblance.
Swedish model Kenza Zouiten is about as self-made as they come. She began her career with her own web TV show, Kenza & Tyra Show, and by running her award-winning blog “Kenzas”, which became one of Sweden’s most viewed blogs that is estimated to have amassed $2.5 million in a single year. Kenza has appeared on the covers of magazines VeckoRevyn and Frida and has modeled in campaigns for Guldfynd, Ur & Penn and JC. She owns the fashion label IvyRevel, which specializes in street style.
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If Ia Ostergren is known for anything, it’s her incredible body proportions. Standing at 5’10”, her legs alone are a whopping 3’4″. While Ia was bullied for the way she looked when she was younger, she learned to lean into her looks, taking up sports and turning to social media to build a following. Now her legs, her athletic build, and her inspirational personality draws thousands of people to her Instagram, earning her a whopping following of 244k.
Frida Gustavsson began her Swedish modeling career in 2008, but immediately moved to Japan to pursue her dreams further. Within a few years, her dreams had come true: by the spring 2010 season, she became the most requested model in the industry, and she even went on to win Elle Sweden’s Model of the Year award in 2011. In 2013, she opened for the Valentino Haute Couture Show in Paris, and has since walked for some of the biggest designers in the fashion industry, including Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior, and Alexander McQueen.
Swedish model Hedvig Palm was discovered at a local restaurant in 2010 and, from that moment forward, her whole life changed. She debuted at the 2011 fall Valentino couture show in Paris and by the end of the year, she was already walking for Alexander Wang, Jonathan Saunders, Jil Sander, and Celine in shows all over the world. However, despite her instant success, Hedvig has always preferred to focus on her education, modeling around her classes and even toying with the idea of becoming a medical researcher — a profession she might even leave modeling for someday. But even if Hedvig doesn’t walk the runways forever, you can always find her on her Instagram, where she has amassed over 27k followers.
As a Swedish model, Maja Elmstrom reps a variety of labels on the runway and in editorials, such as Free People and IvyRevel, but she’s just as well known for her Instagram presence. Maja currently has over 10k followers and uses the platform to boast her illustrious career, often posting exclusive pics from photo shoots for fans and fashionistas.
Kelly Gale is half-Indian, half-Australian, and, in her own words, “kinda Swedish.” She grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden, and was discovered there at 13 by a model agent outside a coffee shop. While her parents were originally opposed to the idea of their daughter modeling at such a young age, she began her career a year later. By 2012, Kelly was already walking for Chanel, and while she’s walked for plenty of big designers since, she’s also become a regular for Victoria’s Secret, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and Playboy. She also made an appearance in Enrique Iglesias’s music video for his hit song “Duele el Corazón.”
Sendi Skopljak is a Swedish model of her own making. Instead of being discovered in a traditional way, she forged her own career using social media and her own blog, which she began in 2013. It was then that she began posting about fashion, fitness, and travel, which earned her a whopping following of 725k Instagram followers. Sendi now uses her platform to collaborate with brands like Estee Lauder and Daniel Wellington, among other well-known labels.
Josefine Forseberg doesn’t just devote her life to being a Swedish model, but to the philosophy behind it. She’s a personal trainer believes strongly in healthy lifestyles, in training not just the body, but the mind. Josefine has attracted over a million followers to her Instagram page with her inspirational fitness posts that do more than motivate you to live healthily — they motivate you to live happily.
Janni Olsson Delér
Janni Olsson Delér is a Swedish model that doesn’t just sell style — she sells a lifestyle. What started as a passion project in 2013 became a brand, and now Janni is a well-known lifestyle and fashion blogger with a passion for traveling. She boasts 1.4 million followers on Instagram and garners hundreds of thousands of views from the weekly YouTube vlogs she hosts with her husband, Swedish skier Jon Olsson. While Janni may not be walking any runways at the moment, she does collaborate with a variety of brands and labels for sponsored Instagram posts.
Mona Johannesson is considered one of the top Swedish models in the country, and for good reason. She was discovered at age 14 while attending a horse trials event in Gothenburg, but got her big break years later when she re-created some of Kate Moss’s most famous poses for an editorial in Fjords magazine. She was quickly dubbed “Baby Kate” by a variety of publications, including Vogue, which she has since appeared on the cover of. Mona now represents a variety of high fashion labels during shows, including Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Burberry.