Saturday, 7 June 2008

Made in Norway

Today I went to the small town Stryn, a couple of hours drive from where I live in Norway. I was walking around, looking in various shops, not expecting to find anything cool. But as it turns out, Stryn is something of a textile innovator! The town, with its 5750 inhabitants, is the home of three distinctive and well-renowned textile brands (at least in Norway); Aloha Hemp, Ricco Vero and Moods of Norway. Aloha Hemp and Moods' clothes are produced outside of Norway, but Ricco Vero's clothes are actually sewed in Olden, an even smaller town outside of Stryn. This is something I find very charming and unusual in these days when most textile products are made in China and India. It's very rare that you as a fashion consumer find a product that says "Made in Norway".

Moods of Norway's clothes are made in Turkey, but the brand's still got a unique Norwegian identity to it. According to their website, the brand started "in Honolulu, Hawaii as an after party idea between the two designers Simen Staalnacke and Peder Børresen. After finishing their studies in Australia and Hawaii, a night of sizzling cocktails resulted in the concept. When returning to the country known for polar bears and expensive gasoline, the duo drew their lines for the coming collections." Their headquarter and showroom is in Stryn, but they've recently opened their first flagship store in Oslo (right next to Louis Vuitton, no less) and plan on opening another one in Reykjavik, Iceland now in June. The brand is also sold in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Jamaica, Japan, China and USA. When looking through their collection "Cocktail hunting" today, it's clear that these designers have captured the Norwegian identity and made it fashionable in a way no one has done before them. By naming all their products after locals, using pics of their grandma in their adverts, decorating their shops with typical Scandinavian items and putting recipes and funny facts on their clothes, I think they've achieved something truly unique. Not only is it a smart way of marketing themselves; the clothes look and feel good as well. The designers work towards the goal of " making our grandma happy, and make happy clothes for happy people around the world", and prove that fashion doesn't have to be all that serious. I dig!

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