reykjavík fashion festival


The third and final post about my trip to Reykjavík: the Reykjavík Fashion Festival! Eight designers were showing this year, and according to Cirilia, the room was larger this year than last year, so I gather that this show is growing. Like many of the big events at DesignMarch, the venue was Harpa. It was my first experience with the world of fashion shows, so if you’re new to how they work like I was, here’s a little run-down:

The shows are short – ten, maybe 15 minutes at most, depending on how many pieces are being shown and how fast or slow the models walk. After each show, everyone must clear the room so they can reset the stage and prep for the next show, changing out lights, set pieces, screens, and any other scenery being put to use. After waiting around for about 45 minutes, they’re ready to reopen the doors and let the show attendees back in. The next show happens, and the whole process repeats. In, out, in, out, in, out, in out… you do a lot more waiting around (and people watching, as everyone’s totally put themselves on display – this is a fashion event, after all) than you do actually watching fashion shows.

13610916603_beee87e8c9_zThe Ziska show at RFF14

And speaking of putting oneself on display, while I didn’t put quite as much effort into my RFF ensemble as Cirilia and Stephen did, I can’t deny that I wanted to look good and I put some thought into my clothing choices! Cirilia knit herself a truly amazing dress with some Big Loop yarn from Loopy Mango and some Schoppel Wolle XL (distributed by Skacel). The fashion bloggers were all over it. Stephen wore a pair of his infamous swants with a pimped lopapeysa and a shoulder piece by Cakes and Troubles, and the fashion bloggers were all over that, too. I went a little simpler, with a few pieces from Velouria and a knitted collar. You can see Cirilia’s dress here, Stephen’s outfit here, and my ensemble here (all Instagram links). For the record, the people watching was great.

But on to the shows! I won’t write about all of them here, but here’s a list of the designers/labels that were showing, with links to photo slideshows:

Farmer’s Market
Sigga Maija

As far as the actual clothes, my favorites were probably Farmer’s Market and Ella. And for the shows, Farmer’s Market and Ziska (Ella’s show had a girl-power theme going on, but as far as I’m concerned there were some mixed messages about war and peace, both in the video portion and the models’ walk portion).

The Farmer’s Market Collection I could probably live in. It was the first show of the day, around 11am, and they kept a mellow pace throughout the show. I think some folks were hoping for something to wake them up first thing in the morning (for many residents of Reykjavik, 11:00 isn’t that far from “first thing in the morning”), but I really enjoyed the quiet mood. Atmospheric music played, and the screen at the back of the runway displayed a rural Icelandic church as the models lazily sauntered down the runway. It was the slowest-moving runway show I think I’ve ever seen. The nice thing about it was that you had plenty of time to take in every detail of the clothes. Farmer’s Market was creating a mood.

I’d call the Farmer’s Market style a little bit rustic; they’re definitely nodding at traditional garb and acknowledging a connection to Iceland’s history. Their knitwear is always gorgeous, and the styling for this show was fantastic as well. It was quite romantic, and as much as I start to roll my eyes when I hear someone bring up Kinfolk, it wouldn’t be out of place there. The palette is muted and often natural. None of these clothes would be out of place in Seattle.

d4b5424417934e62-RFF14_farmers_market_by_birta_ranFarmer’s Market at RFF14. Photos by Birta Rán, used with permission. View the whole slideshow here.

Mixed messages aside, I did really like the clothes in Ella’s collection, which was full of simple, wearable pieces. My favorites were the super sixties numbers with miniskirts/minidresses under coats – made to feel even more sixties by the Twiggy-esque hair. There was also a long dress (or skirt and top; I think it might be separates) that I loved. If I ever have reason to wear something floor length like that, I would absolutely wear that piece. The palette here still wasn’t bold, but there was more variation in color, paired with neutrals.

05c80436aa592145-RFF14_ella_by_birta_ranElla at RFF14. Photos by Birta Rán, used with permission. View the whole slideshow here.

Other thoughts: the palette of the Ziska show was gorgeous (black, white, grey, lavender, and mint), Cintamani pleasantly surprised us with a bright and colorful show we enjoyed (they’re an outdoor and activewear line, so we weren’t sure how much to expect, but it was the most bright color we saw all day), and the Jör show was totally weird, but weirdly enjoyable (it was clear that generally it was the most highly anticipated show, and consequently the best-attended one). It felt like we’d fallen into some kind of steampunk manga. All that said, I probably don’t need to attend any fashion shows for awhile, but I’m glad for the experience!

rvk pt 2

Barbara borrowed my hat when it started snowing on us.

Friday was spent at the National Museum and ended with a fashion show, a precursor to Saturday’s events. I didn’t take any photos at the museum (though Cirilia did take a handful of them), but if you’re interested in Iceland’s history even a little bit, I feel like the National Museum is a must-see in Reykjavik. I spent two hours there but I could have lingered longer. I definitely spent some time nerding out over medieval manuscripts, and as a drop spindle spinner, I really enjoyed seeing the Viking-era stone spindle whorls and woven (or nalbinded) fabric remnants. There was also a really great photography exhibit on the the ground floor while we were there, and all the work being featured was shot by female photographers. The works spanned over a century of photography.

The fashion show we went to was over at the art museum by the harbor, Hafnarhúsið. It was a very different vibe than the shows the next day. I think that the fashion world tends to take itself a little too seriously and the folks in attendance at the Hildur Yeoman show seemed to fall into that category. Still, it was an interesting experience and I’m glad we attended. The show was for Hildur’s new collection, called Yulia. I believe it’s named after (and partially inspired by) her great aunt. Or grandmother? Either way, it was a badass lady in her family, and I’m all for being inspired by that.

The clothes weren’t for me, but I managed to grab a photo or two anyway. Black, white, and red were the thematic colors for the collection. The girls you see at the back were doing a choreographed dance piece, which also kicked off the show.

reykjavík so far

Hello from Reykjavík, where we’re halfway through DesignMarch 2014 and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival!


I’ve been posting on Instagram since arriving, as have Cirilia and Stephen, and I put a bunch of our photos into the montage above. If you want to follow along, you can follow us at @cakeandvikings@cirilia, and @westknits.

First of all, Iceland is beautiful. I may be here for the design and fashion events (and to galavant around with buddies) but it wouldn’t be that hard to skive off and stare at the landscape or out over the rooftops all day instead. Truly.

I arrived early in the morning on Tuesday. I had the Flybus drop me off at Reykjavík Downtown Hostel, near my friend Peter’s place, which worked out well for me because I could have a coffee (I didn’t sleep on the overnight flight) and some breakfast while I waited for Peter. We got to spend the day together, but I also got to get some work done and take a nap (very necessary).

Stephen and his friend Barbara (of Chillimint) arrived from Amsterdam later that day, and Cirilia arrived the next morning. Our days thus far have consisted of a lot of coffee, snacks, and knitting. And outfit changes. Reykjavík is known for its street style but I’m not sure this city’s residents can hold a candle to these guys.

Cirilia, Stephen, and Barbara headed down the hill to Harpa for Thursday’s opening day Design Talks. I love how Harajuku Cirilia’s pimped-lopapeysa look feels.

post-coffee on Wednesday

I feel positively tame standing next to them, swathed in black, white, and grey (right down to the lopapeysa I bought at the Handknitting Association today, seen in the Instagram montage above). But I feel like me, so it works.

Opening day’s talks on Thursday were really excellent (you can read about the programming on the DesignMarch website here). “Design” is such a diverse, broad term, and the wide range of speakers really drove that point home. The morning started off with two speakers who work in urban planning & design situations, and one of them, Kathryn Firth, might have been my favorite speaker of the day. She’s working on the ongoing redesign of Olympic Park in London in the wake of the 2012 Olympics, and I have to admit I hadn’t given much thought before to what happens to all the giant Olympics complexes after the games.

After lunch the talks switched gears: we had some tech talk first (with Robert Wong from Google) and then moved on to fashion, with Mikael Schiller from Acne Studios and finally Calvin Klein. The Google talk was good, and about what you’d expect: Robert was charming in a humble, not-smooth-talking kind of way, with funny quips and emotional hooks and appropriately placed “instructional videos” that are totally ads, no matter what Google claims. I got caught up in the moment during his talk, and found my feelings toward Google (which are mostly good, but I do have some grievances) shifting in a more positive direction. After his talk, however, I came down from this magic Cloud (I guess Glass isn’t a great thing to stand on) and realized I’d just been expertly emotionally manipulated. High five, Google. You’re winning whatever game you’re playing and it still makes me uncomfortable.

I really enjoyed Mikael from Acne’s talk. He was funny and genuine and seems generally bemused that people like what his company is doing (though of course he works very hard to make it so that people do). I probably won’t buy their jeans or other clothes, but Acne’s really on the up right now.

Calvin Klein… well, he’s undeniably a legend. Instead of giving a presentation like the other speakers did, his talk was in the form of an interview, and his interviewer was Icelandic designer Steinunn (a former employee of his). It was clear that CK and Steinunn have somewhat of a special relationship and the utmost respect for each other, which is lovely, but it made for a pretty vanilla interview, I must admit. I’m very glad to have heard Calvin Klein speak at all, and he gave some great advice for aspiring designers, but it would’ve been a much richer and more interesting interview if his interlocutor had been willing to bring up critique or controversy, or anything other than glowing praise. Perhaps if you’re Calvin Klein, you have the authority (or maybe the ego) to pretend critical analysis doesn’t apply to you and choose your interviewers accordingly. He was so casual when he mentioned hanging out in the Hamptons and deciding to send his personal plane to Boston to fly Marky Mark down to talk about underwear… and it was at that moment that I realized how far Calvin Klein’s reality was from mine, or most of the other people in this world. Nonetheless, it was interesting to hear his story and I’m grateful I had the opportunity.

The weather the morning of Design Talks was gorgeous, and we took advantage of the gorgeous light outside Harpa (reflected off the geometric, multi-colored windows) and snapped a few goofy photos:

I have more to write about what we’ve done so far (especially the National Museum!), but I think I’ll save that for the next post. Until then!

travels &c.

Well, I’m all packed…

…and ready to go to Iceland! I’m headed to Reykjavík next week for Design March and the Reykjavík Fashion Festival, where I’ll be hanging out with Cirilia RoseStephen West, and my dear friend Peter (Peter and I are old friends from high school, and we used to get together to bake brownies and cake and watch Björk videos, so we’re pretty excited to hang out in Iceland). I always love a trip to Iceland, but it’s my first time going to Design March, so I’m looking forward to it even more than usual. I’m hoping to share some updates while I’m there (I’ve brought my laptop along for the ride).

On that note, after Iceland I’ll be visiting family for a week, so I won’t be back at Paper Tiger HQ until the second week of April. I’ve taken down listings for physical items from the shop (digital items are obviously still available), and any wholesale orders won’t go out until I get back.