Often overshadowed by its Scandinavian neighbours Denmark and Sweden, Norway is a hidden gem when it comes to Scandinavian design and new innovative brands. Contrary to popular belief, Norway isn’t covered in a perpetual blanket of snow, nor do polar bears walk through the streets – but the fashion does tend to be practical and warm! With up-and-coming fashion labels such as JohnnyLove and Mardou & Dean reinventing practical and minimalist dressing, Norway is definitely on the rise within the fashion world. Norwegians are also changing the way they shop, and are indeed overtaking Sweden and Denmark when it comes to online shopping. More than 50% of Norwegians shop online with 40% shopping online for fashion. Norway also has the highest amount of people shopping via their mobile devices (25%, topmost amongst the Nordic countries).
Let Stylight’s resident Norwegian show you just what is worth knowing about fashion from Norway, and why you should be keeping an eye on its designers and fashion personalities…
1. OSLO – The heart of Norwegian Fashion
Though this beautiful country has more to offer than just Oslo, Norway’s capital is undeniably the center for design, shopping, bloggers and fashion publishing. From the tourist-filled streets of Karl Johan to hipster-central Grünerløkka, Oslo is the place to shop. If you want to shy away from Scandi high street shops such as H&M, BIKBOK or COS, the now famous shop Nr. 9 might be more to your taste. Located in the more upscale area of Frogner and run by fashion wunderkind Jostein Wålengen (who became a magazine editor at age 15!) it is filled with luxurious vintage treasures and high quality materials. Wålerengen saw a chance to launch his store when he noticed a change in how Norwegians were shopping, stating “Norwegians have become more fashion conscious. It is only now that people are understanding the connection between quality and price”.
2. JOHNNYLOVE – “Robust elegance”
Founded by self-taught tailor and designer John Vinnem, JOHNNYLOVE started with a desire to change how Norwegian men dressed back in the early 2000s. Either dressing too loose and casual or too stiff and dressed up, Vinnem saw that the Norwegian guys were particularly bad at combining the casual with the presentable. He drew inspiration from the Norwegian nature and elements, which shapes a big part of how Norwegians tend to dress. Vinnem brought the “barren, robust and gritty” aspects of it into his fashion, which transferred into the “robust elegance” that is found in JOHNNYLOVE’s clothes.
3. Hella expensive!
Sadly, one of the myths about Norway is true – it is really, really expensive. In fact, after Switzerland, Norway is the most expensive country in the world to live in! Though the country has paychecks and benefits to match, living here ain’t cheap. With a beer (bought in a bar/restaurant) ranging from 40-162 NOK ($5 to $20) it’s probably not a place for tourists vacating on a budget, though clothes prices are relatively normal compared to other European countries. So, spend your money on the Scandi fashion, not the average beer!
Bonus Fun Fact: Oslo is home to the most expensive hairdressers in the world and a quick trim could cost you up to 813 NOK ($100!)
Like we said – come for the fashion (and nature), leave when you’re broke…
4. A real life fashion Princess
Crown Princess that is! Mette- Marit, Crown Princess of Norway, has become one of the nation’s proudest and most prominent fashion icons. As a representative of Norway, she often wears both international and Norwegian designs on her official visits and on the red carpet, where she is sure to be photographed wearing at least one item from Valentino. Though she might have married into the royal family with her fair share of controversy, the majority of Norway has accepted Mette-Marit as a fair and stylishly noble face of the nation.
5. Mardou & Dean
Perhaps the most globally appealing brand to come out of Norway this decade is Mardou & Dean. Founded by Ingrid Bredholt and Patrik Rosenfors in 2006, the brand’s vision is to make clothes for urban modern people – casual but with a tailored fit. Initially introduced as a high quality denim brand, Mardou & Dean is now a fully established ready-to-wear label offering everything from the perfect white tee to gorgeous Italian leather jackets. Ingrid and Patrik has a clear vision for their label and believe “that every garment has its own prime period, that is, time mellows and defines each piece uniquely”.
Their most recent collection is in many ways their most typically Norwegian and innovative at the same time. Collaborating with insurance company If Forsikring, the duo has made a small capsule collection entirely made out of reflective materials. The collection consists of five items – a parka, mittens, a hat, trousers and a bag, and are meant to promote road safety with a fashionable twist. Or, as Mardou & Dean themselves put it, it’s “a collection that saves lives”.
6. Bergen & Bloggers
Yes, Norway has more to offer than just Oslo. On the beautiful west coast you’ll find Bergen, a picturesque and colourful city with the second largest population after Oslo. Although it is known for its rain (a result of the surrounding mountains) and the colourful boathouses along Bryggen, Bergen is also a great place for shopping and immersing yourself into the Norwegian sense of style. In fact, Bergen is the home to some of Norway’s most profiled and beloved bloggers – Eirín Kristiansen and CathInTheCity. Both having spent time living in New York, the bloggers (and friends) have both returned to Bergen where they continue to share their minimalist and quintessential Scandinavian style with their thousands of readers. Eirín’s style tends to be simple and feminine mixed with more masculine details, such as knitted jumpers and leather pants topped with a gorgeous woolly coat – she does live in Norway after all! CathInTheCity, or Cathrine, is more girly with pastel colours, skirts and long, flowy coats. Both bloggers perfectly encapsulates the Norwegian style and tend to mix high street favourites their readers can copy with more luxurious items bought on their frequent travels.
7. Moods of Norway – Tractor Fashion
Norwegians either love it or hate it – but the colourful fashion of label Moods of Norway is undeniably their biggest and most recognizable fashion export. Founded by three friends, Simen Staalnacke, Peder Børresen and Stefan Dahlkvist, the label’s main goal is to make “happy clothes for happy people”. With their tartan suits with colourful linings, traditional knits and a tractor as their logo, Moods of Norway can be found in stores from the north of Norway to Los Angeles, USA, and keep bringing colourful fashion to happy people across the globe.
8. Peter Dundas – New Creative Director of Roberto Cavalli
Did you know that the new Creative Director of Cavalli is Norwegian? Well, half Norwegian (American mother, Norwegian father). Peter Hyde Dundas was born in Oslo and lived there until he left for New York to study at Parsons School of Design. After graduating from Parsons, Peter worked as an assistant costume designer at La Comédie Française in Paris. After that, he worked 8 years as an assistant for Jean Paul Gaultier, then at Christian Lacroix, Roberto Cavalli and Emanuel Ungaro. After to years at Ungaro, Peter took the lead in making a creative change in italian Pucci and managed to create a style that appealed to a younger market. This year Peter returned to Cavalli as Creative Director and debuted his new line at Milan Fashion week in September, which The New York Times listed as one of the things to watch during fashion month.
9. Beautiful Women
Norwegians might not be as blonde as the Swedes or have Denmark’s darling model Freja Beha Erichsen, but they do have some pretty beautiful top models there as well. Siri Tollerød and Iselin Steiro are both Norwegian top models who have made it big in the competitive world of fashion. Siri’s doll-like face has graced the covers of magazines such as Italian Vogue Beauty (twice!), Vogue Nippon Beauty, Revue de Modes, Black and Vogue Latin America & Mexico – in addition to appearing in editorials for Dazed & Confused, Numéro, Harpers Bazaar, W, and many more.
Iselin has a strong, Nordic look, with cheekbones that could cut through glass. Discovered at 15 as she was Christmas shopping in London with her parents, Iselin made her debut a few years later walking for Prada and Calvin Klein. She has also walked for Balenciaga, Chanel, Celine and Givenchy in addition to modelling in editorials in Numéro, French Vogue, Vogue Italia and many more. At 30, Iselin has now more or less retired from modelling, gotten married, had a baby and is currently a student at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.
10. Style Devil – Marianne Theodorsen
With her many tattoos and ever-changing hair colour, Marianne Theodorsen aka Style Devil stands out amongst a sea of blonde, pastel-clad bloggers. Dressed in head-to-toe black one day, and a red faux fur coat the next, Marianne is definitely a blogger worth keeping an eye on. Her blog features beautifully shot OOTDs, streetstyle, interior design, inspirational editorials, art- and of course pictures from her recent wedding at the gorgeous Castelfalfi Resort, Italy.
If you enjoyed this insider look at Norway follow #DestinationStylight across our social platforms for more fashion, foodie, and lifestyle tips from around the world.
|By Ellen Egeland|