In an attempt to dicipher the cultural-intricacies of Sweden today we are going to talk about the Svenne Banan. The Svenne Banan, literally translated to “Svensson Banana” with Svenne being a nickname for the last-name Svensson. A Svensson is kind of fellow who follows trends, aspires by popular cultural motifs of fashion/grandeur/class. He could be seen as a modern-day version of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, otherwise known as “The Fop” (see Wiki). This offshoot of the human genome exists everywhere in the world and has its own local flavors. In Clarendon, Virginia it is common for a Svenne Banan to be clad in khaki, a blue button down t-shirt, loafer shoes and a braided belt with a large communicator phone (i.e. a “blackberry”) on a belt-clip during the work-week. However on the weekends Clarendon can be a mirror-image of Anenyn in Gothenburg or any other popular street with clubs/bars around the world but slightly-lacking a particular style that Sweden is attracted to. Overall it is noted that upper-class Sweden prefers the aspiration of Yacht-living characters such as Steff from the film Pretty In Pink, whom more or less is the archetypal jerk. Now why this particular modern-ideal of “the fop” is preferred is a mystery but I feel that we can find its cultural origins. If one looks at the modern trends of style and the affluent™ one would see that this style is a life-branding focusing on nautical-influenced noveau riche vacationers. A common sight in port towns from Florida, California and even in Maine. This being the preferred fashion of this character-class in Sweden makes sense as Sweden is known for its strong maritime traditions and deep cultural connection to sailing. What occured after the seas were tamed were the docks became privitized and the sea became the “thing to do” for the rich princes far from the dirty working-class areas on the other side of the ports. Fast-forward hundreds of years to the creation of yacht-culture and couture it is only clear that the modern Swede who is a “follower of fashion”, “trend-monger”, “brat”.. etc… would find allure to such style that only people in affluent vacation ports are attracted to. Why the Swedes added the Banana part to this slang term is unknown. Perhaps its part of a Sweden’s non-sequitor humor or perhaps a phallic joke which is popular among all humans. And “Svensson” because of it being a very common name thus making a reference to being generic and unintersting. To you Svenne-Banan… the world is yours. Now go sailing!
And here is the q&a with the man pictured above from StockholmStreetStyle:
Favoritbil här idag?
- Min favorit är den gula Hummern.
Berätta om din outfit, vad har du på dig?
- Jag har Gucci-Skor, Miu Miu-byxor, Valentino-skjorta, Cheap Monday-linne, Prada-väska, halsband från Cornelia och Vasuma-solglasögon.
For those that don’t read swedish - the brands are in English.