JC: How do you define Icelandic style?
KA: Practical and trendy with a Nordic twist. Wool is obviously a heavily used fabric in native Icelandic designs and materials like fish skin and different kinds of leather are favorite materials for designers here.
JC: Where do the styling influences come from?
KA: North Icelandic hunters, if you notice many of the hip young kids wear furry hooded parkas that look as though they are going on a hunting expedition. Nature is also a big influence for Icelanders whether it’s the steely blue/gray of the sea, or the bronzy hues of the lava formed rocks, the hot springs, etc. Icelanders are never far from the influence of nature. And it results in a quirky free spirit to put things together in very unusual ways.
JC: What is the draw to Reykjavik specifically at the moment?
KA: Our land is still wild and undiscovered and mysteriously charming, with beautiful fun loving people, who live life to the fullest. Things do not lie dormant here in Iceland; people are always moving and creating and you feel that energy in the streets especially at night.
JC: Do you see Iceland as a new frontier for fashion or has fashion always
been there, but underexposed?
KA: It’s a combination of both. Our fashion scene is growing by leaps and bounds and we are definitely trendsetters.
JC: How does Iceland’s style differ from the style of nearby
KA: Our style is more rough and trendy. Icelanders love the creative mixture of color and native fabrics. And as an influence from our constantly changing weather, you’ll find severely contrasting themes in a single outfit for example.
JC: What is the greatest misconception about the Icelandic identity?
KA: Everyone thinks Iceland is one giant snowball.
JC: How important is the street culture in Reykjavik?
KA: Street culture is very important. It’s where most fashion trends start. It leads the way as a powerful voice for the country. That creative street influence is seen in various designers recycling clothes and reinventing them with an Icelandic flavor.
JC: What sort of global brands do you think can thrive in Iceland?
KA: Brands like Diesel and Energie, for example, flourish here; however, cool trendy brands that sell, from trinkets to trousers, will get a strong response from Icelanders.
JC: What are some of the trends coming out of the city?
KA: The recycling trend is really take hold here, designers are taking old things and making them new again by creating patchwork motifs, paneling fabrics and layering with images that reflect nature.
JC: Where are young Icelanders shopping and what are they buying?
KA: Second hand stores and flea markets are thriving in Reykjavík fashion as well as small designer stores with one-of-a-kind pieces. Stores like Sputnik, Juniform, Oni, etc. all offer funky clothes with a certain Icelandic appeal.
JC: What’s your prediction for the growth of style in Iceland in the coming few years?
KA: It has the potential to be a part of the global puzzle in the fashion industry, with young talented designers and artists spreading their wild Icelandic roots worldwide.
More to come from Reykjavik
Photos: Party people at Vegamot
Recycled wear from Fjóla Ósland, photo by Israel Colon