Gender-fluid collections and new materials — here are our 5 highlights from Oslo Runway
The leading Norwegian fashion event featured spectacular events, exhibitions, and seminars, shows highlighting diversity, gender-fluid styling, and local as well as innovative materials, and a strong lineup of jewellery brands.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
Oslo Runway is not your typical fashion week. Arranged once a year instead of two, the event organisation describes it as more of a platform to promote the rising designer scene. Here are our five things we remember from our days in Oslo.
Founded by editor-in-chief, stylist, and fashion profile Celine Aagaard and Pia Nordskaug from the company Eco.logic in 2018, Envelope1976 made its catwalk debut during Oslo Runway. The casting, the styling, the venue, and the energy all made it a clear highlight of the week. ”We haven’t done a show before and it’s of course important to show not just exactly how you style things in a line sheet (the sheet presented to buyers in a showroom or at a trade fair, Ed’s note) because that’s boring but on the other hand I also think that some shows can be too ’artsy’. For this collection, we have quite a lot of iconic pieces but at the same time, it’s important that people actually can buy the things and not show over cool stuff that is not available to buy,” Aagaard told us afterwards, adding: ”We work with biodegradable cupro (a fabric made of regenerated cellulose fibres), recycled wool and cashmere, and deadstock. You can discuss sustainability from here to there — it’s hard to get all the correct answers. For us, it’s super important that the items will actually last and are versatile.”
In 2015, designer and entrepreneur Elisabeth Stray Pedersen took over a 65 year old outerwear factory in Oslo and founded ESP Oslo, focusing on high end clothes, produced locally and on demand. ”It’s mainly wool outerwear and we’re now expanding to a Spring/Summer collection,” she told us after her Oslo Runway show. The show focused on her signature style — the blanket coats — as well as other product categories, made of Nordic Eco labeled and Woolmark certified lambswool from the crossbreed sheep that walks freely in the highlands around Gol in Norway. The brand also collaborates with a selection of local crafts guilds, such as a ribbon maker by the mountains of Dovre and a thread maker by the mountains of Romsdalen. In a special pop-up, located at leading department store Steen og Strøm in central Oslo and open until the end of September, ESP Oslo also presents a partnership with digital technology experts Manufacture Oslo (where Stray Pedersen works as operations manager). ”We are exploring digital on-demand customization. That’s what we already do physically — since we make on-demand, we can do small adjustments and almost customized garments. This is easy to also do digitally and expand our customer base. We’re just in the starting phase, our next step is to try to merge it into an online shop, hopefully next year,” she said.
The jewellery exhibition
Last year, Oslo Runway introduced a dedicated jewellery exhibition as part of the official schedule, highlighting the strong scene of emerging creators within the field. For this edition, the exhibition invited artist and ceramist Nellie Jonsson as a collaborator, merging jewellery and ceramic pieces in a spectacular fashion. The event featured seven promising designers, including Diawené, Liv Misund, Hasla, Aur Studio, and Mold Atelier. Genderless brand Boygal presented its soon-to-launch collaboration with sculptor and product designer Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng — a series of earpieces made by hand from recycled ocean plastic. Founded by Cathrine Boerter, with a soft spot for the eccentric and bold, Pearl Octopuss.y is the next Norwegian jewellery brand to watch, and has already attracted leading Scandinavian retailers and Net-a-porter alike. The pieces are handmade, easily recognizable, and can be worn in many different ways, playing with the contrast between the minimal and the maximal and the feminine with the masculine.
After jewellery was being added last year, lifestyle and interior design joined this year’s schedule with the outdoor exhibition Mixed Seats at The Square in the brand-new neighbourhood Oslobukta. Curated by Ali Shah Gallefoss, head of art at Oslo Runway, and exhibition platform Pyton, it showcased a selection of chairs that can be placed in the public space, a result of a challenge given to a group of creatives across the disciplines of art, architecture, and design. ”Pyton started as a small event where they invited architects and designers who brought their own seat for a dinner. We now thought that it was very exciting to do the same here (at The Square, Ed’s note), where you only have benches — creating a personal space in a public space by letting architects, designers, and artists make chairs in concrete and other materials,” Shah Gallefoss explained during a presentation.
Lifestyle event at The Plus
Oslo Runway’s most spectacular event took place at design brand Vestre’s new factory, two hours east of the capital and described as the world’s most sustainable furniture factory. The fashion week organisation stated that Oslo’s immediate access to nature has made the city an attractive destination while the understanding of functional design is something that Norwegian brands have long been known for. (Just look at all the Norwegian outdoor brands conquering the world.) To emphasize all this, Oslo Runway gathered a curated mix of Norwegian lifestyle brands during an event at The Plus. Accessories brands Kastel, New Movements, and Varsity Headwear presented their products in a special exhibition while D2C brand AWAN introduced its conscious range of wardrobe staples through a presentation followed by a second one when well-established smart utility brand SWIMS joined forces with Kmoshon’s soon-to-launch high-performance eyewear. The program was then wrapped up with a talk about circularity and responsibility in the industry and how Norwegian brands can help drive the sustainability agenda.
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