Fashion trends have to start from somewhere and many of us take that fact for granted. We walk into a high street retailer or see various designs on the web and instantly love them or hate them with no regard for the amount of time or effort that has gone into the creation of that particular item of clothing or the look itself. Designers are under significant pressure to create garments that the public will love, trying to make it from their sketchbooks onto the catwalks and some are going to be more successful than others.
That make-or-break moment can be something like a celebrity wearing a dress to an awards ceremony or a footballer being spotted walking out of a restaurant in one of their t-shirts, but we never really pay a great deal of attention to how some designers make it into the public consciousness in the first place – especially those from nations you might not instantly connect with the fashion industry.
One such example is Iceland, the nation of around 320,000 (according to data from 2012), that is located at the very north of Europe. You instantly think of glaciers and volcanoes when you think of it, whereas the UK, United States and Italy – for instance – will have plenty of people associating them with fashion trends and celebrities. In fact, Nordic-inspired fashion is thriving and online retailers including Lastashop, because of their “out there” styles, are becoming increasingly popular around the world – you only have to take a look at the lead singer of the Icelandic indie-folk band Of Monsters and Men, Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir, to see an example. Her styles have had the Internet talking and posting images since they burst onto the scene back in 2010, and as a result the Icelandic fashion industry is booming.
As an independent nation, Iceland itself is relatively young, having only gained independence from Denmark in June 1944; but since then the people have remained determined to show off their proud nation and that is exactly what the fashion designers are attempting. They’re looking beyond the fashion capitals of Milan, Paris and New York and trying to get Reykjavik into the same category – and things are going well. The Reykjavik Fashion Festival is now one of the most popular events of its kind in Europe and this is only serving to enhance the reputation of Icelandic designers.
Today, Icelandic fashion is spreading its wings into larger nations and reaching audiences larger than was imaginable a few years ago. The modern trends of bright, printed tops like this one or the traditional, stylish dresses you might expect to see at an awards ceremony, such as this, are selling in both Europe and America, showing that Iceland has well and truly arrived in the world of mainstream fashion and has no sign of stopping their incredible eruption.
Maybe it’s their Viking instinct, maybe it’s determination or – most likely – it’s down to some highly talented designers emanating from the country. Watch this space.