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Stockholm has become the shopper´s ultimate destination. Here you will find quality, fantasy and variety at reasonable prices. And best of all, you can walk around the whole city.

Stockholm - islands, water and now shopping as well. Since the mid-1990s, the city has become an eldorado for shoppers. Choose between fashion, design, glass, antiques, graphic art, jewelry and much more. It´s also exciting shopping among the small individual stores located off the major shopping thoroughfares of Hamngatan, Biblioteksgatan and Stureplan in downtown Stockholm.

There are a number of reasons that Stockholm has become an interesting city to shop in, among them the fact that Swedes travel more. Many talented designers, antique experts and generally creative entrepreneurs have wanted to do something on their own. Create just the kind of store they miss. Restaurant and café life has also become livelier, which has made opening stores in other parts of the city an attractive idea.

Small shops in Södermalm
The walk begins in Södermalm, the city´s bohemian district. The place is increasingly attractive, with apartment prices rising as a result. Götgatan 31 is a modern shopping center for people who live in Södermalm and elsewhere. Customers who demand and are looking for more than mainstream shopping. In the 2,000-sqm space, you can buy newspapers, try on makeup at Face, take a break at Wayne´s Coffee Shop and buy an interesting storage container at Granit before going down to Designtorget Mode (Design Square Fashion). It´s a good barometer of what young Swedish designers are working on right now. Some twenty of the country´s most exciting fashion designers are found here. The requirements for displaying goods here are demanding - quality should be high and sizes should range from small to large. If you find something that looks good here, you should be able to wear it - even if you aren´t as thin as a model.

Because much of the clothing is sold on commission, shops and designers can dare to go all out more than they otherwise might. You might consider Designtorget Mode as a kind of hothouse for future big names. And it´s stimulating to walk around here, as new items arrive each week.

Ten minutes from Götgatan 31 is Hornsgatspuckeln. It´s a little paved street in one of Söder´s most charming neighborhoods. You´ll find the street studded with small galleries and shops. Take a look at the fine graphic art at Grafiska sällskapet and ceramics at Blås & Knåda. For those interested in jewelry, Silver & Form is a must. High quality at reasonable prices. A common denominator for many shops in the area.

Great interest in design
From the heights of Söder, the shopper can walk along Skeppsbron - or take bus 46 - and watch the boats arrive from the archipelago. You can then take a left into one of the narrow streets leading into the Old Town. Then it´s just a question of checking them out, there are shops everywhere. The classic store Jacksons 20 Century Design has been located at Tyska Brinken 20 for seventeen years. Owners Paul and Karina Jackson have collected extensive knowledge about silver, glass, ceramics and furniture from the 19th century onward. Good design is the common denominator for the items found in the shop. And interest is now growing in people like the Finnish designer Alvar Aalto and the Swedish designer Bruno Matsson. Their furniture, with its timeless quality, could just as easily have been designed today.
Roslagsgatan, Odengatan and Upplandsgatan are other good streets for shoppers interested in antiques. Glass and ceramics are usually a good deal.

If you want to buy something new, you may want to invest your money in glass. Swedish glass from quality glass makers like Orrefors and Kosta Boda is sold in many well-stocked stores - NK´s glass and china department and Nordiska Kristall are two promising places.

Why is Swedish glass good? One explanation is that Swedish designers work together with skilled glassblowers in the factory. The result of this cooperation is glass for budgets both big and small. Lena Bergström´s candleholder, in the shape of a hockey puck, is both elegant and handsome. And costs under SEK 100. Anna Ehrner has also made richly-colored candle atolls. A perfect souvenir from Stockholm. For people who want to spend a little more, we can recommend Eleonor Kjellander´s original glass works. Swedish glass is a good investment. For any budget.

Quality and selection
At KLARA Inredningsbutiken, a home furnishings store located ten minutes from downtown Stockholm, you can continue your quest for lasting quality. The store has been around for eight years and is now well established. In the beginning KLARA dealt in exclusive design at high prices. But after the economic recession at the end of the 1980s, they changed directions. Today, their product range is more tailored to smaller budgets. But the focus on design remains. "We are a kind of miniature IKEA with quality. We have everything - but we don´t have the depth. You´ll find one cutlery pattern, one bicycle brand, one couch" - explains the owner, Christian Springfelt.

With its Scandinavian design, KLARA is right with the times. Light wood and function as a kind of reaction to dark hardwoods and the heavy middle-class ideal of interior decorating. Everything selected with an eye to quality. Kaj Franck´s china from 1952, the Danish Myran (Ant) chair, or a simple glass for 10 kronor. The customer can choose.

The idea of something for every customer is again found at R.O.O.M in Kungsholmen. Five thousand square meters of space filled with textiles, furniture, items for the kitchen, bathroom and outdoors, lighting, home decorating help and a café.

And quality is the slogan of many storeowners. Swedes don´t obsess about prestige, which also means that competitors work together. A cross-pollination that is also stimulated by changes in food, fashion, music and the media. The result is dynamic shopping. You just have to put on your most comfortable pair of shoes and shop away. Try walking along the water, so that your soul gets something as well.

By Josephine Carr

List of addresses:

R.O.O.M, Alströmergatan 20
Urban furniture store with 5,000 sqm of space on an out-of-the-way street. Perfect for a Sunday outing. Their cheesecake alone is worth a visit.

KLARA, Birger Jarlsgatan 34 & Nytorgsgata 36
Scandinavian design from glass to couches. Young, blond, dynamic and exciting.

The store on Nytorgsgatan 36 just opened this year and is the bigger of the two stores.

Nordiska Kristall, Kungsgatan 9
Reliable address for quality Swedish glass. Large selection and knowledgeable staff who really like glass. There are often exhibits one floor up.

Designtorget Mode, Götgatan 31
Barometer for Swedish, young fashion. Some twenty young designers experiment with color, form and material. Visit often - new items come in continuously.

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