New changes on our website

We’d like to congratulate Vík Prjónsdóttir, who won in our category Designer of the Year for the Nordic Start Up Awards, we are very honoured to have been nominated.

The Snoop-Around team is interested in expanding its operations in the Nordic countries in the future, so we just say, on with Nordic Start up Awards, maybe we will win next time around!

At this juncture we wanted to mention a few changes on our website, now the reader can filter the content, such as articles that have appeared in Grapevine or specific events that we have covered. We have added a new page: MISC there we follow up on interesting things, happenings and events in Iceland, all from interviewing people for a short review up to covering events and festivals from a-z.

Sincerely, your Snoop-Around team.

Nordic Startup Awards

Snoop-Around is now a finalist nominated for the Nordic Startup Awards, which has the main purpose to consolidate the Scandinavian scene on the map, as a great innovation center in Europe. We are now competing in the top three finals, for designer of the year awards. Winning companies and startups of each category will then compete at the grand finale in Copenhagen in December 2012, where the Nordic countries will be competing to be crowned startup kings and queens of the Nordic region.

We are thankful for the attention, the voters who chose us and ultimately being a finalist and now we wait for the results, that will be announced very soon. We will keep you updated, our dear readers. Go Snoop-Around, Scandinavian style!

RIFF 2012 – Italy, Love it or Leave it

Italy – Love it or Leave it was one of the documentary highlights at this year´s RIFF. One of the films´s director Luca Ragazzi, visited Reykjavík and did Q&A´s with audiences. The other director of the documentary and Ragazzi´s partner, Gustav Hofer, did however not make it to Iceland this time around since he was busy promoting their film at another film festival. In collaboration with Docs & Film Festivals we interviewed director Luca Ragazzi at RIFF. Enjoy!

The documentary is in a way a travel story where the two directors travel around Italy to come to a conclusion if they should continue to live in Italy or leave it. Gustav wants to move to Berlin and Luca needs to convince him that Italy is worth living in. They set on a six month journey in an old Fiat 500. They meet a lot of people along the way who may or may not help them make up their minds about Italy.

Italy – Love it or Leave it has had great film festival success, being screened at more than 75 film festivals around the world – and still counting. Luca and Gustav are not unfamiliar with traveling to film festivals with documentaries, but their previous documentary Suddenly, Last Winter (2008) is a multi award-winning documentary about civil rights for same-sex couples in Italy, what also had a great film festival success.

Luca Ragazzi & Brynja Dögg

Italy – Love it or Leave it has also been recently been released theatrically (or soon to be) in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Canada.

Text / interview / editing: Brynja Dögg Friðriksdóttir
Photos / camera: Nanna Dís

As we grow

Snoop-Around interviews As We Grow for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #14 7.9.2012
This interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

Snoop-Around meets María and Guðrún fashion designers and Gréta the lawyer mba. They are the co-founders of AS WE GROW a fashion label for children. It all begun from a single sweater that has now travelled through Guðrún‘s family for 9 years and was their muse for creating clothes that were eco-friendly and promote sustainability. They are currently preparing their new studio so we meet at María‘s home. Guðrún‘s youngest is with us, just two months old and as we munch through chocolate and peanuts we get to know them three a bit better and about their brand new product.

María, Guðrún & Gréta

You are in the first year of AS WE GROW, how did it all start?

María: It‘s been developing for about a year now. Gréta had travelled to Peru a few years ago where she met their suppliers in Lima, Peru. There she learned all about the Alpaca fibre they use in all their clothing, hypo-allergic, soft and strong wool.

Gréta:The Alpacas camels have developed a quality for staying 400 meters above sea level, which gives their wool it‘s strong thermal insulator and makes the fibre warmer and lighter that other natural fibres. It‘s warmer than normal wool when it‘s cold and let‘s more air through when it‘s hot.

Guðrún: Usually it‘s the designers that search for a producer but in this case it happened the other way around when Gréta initiated this collaboration. She is definitely the driving force while we the designers are the dreamers.

What was your inspiration for making this kind of product?

Guðrún: There are mainly two motives, first of all it‘s the travelling sweater (more on that later) and the fact that me and María have always wanted to work together. We have similar ideas on how to design children’s clothes. It derives from how we want to dress our own children as well as the idea of the clothes being timeless; we stay away from logos and decorations that might be following a certain trend.

María: My experience is that I never found anything nice enough for my twin boys, except something quite pricy, so it made me think about having fewer clothes that last longer, even a whole year even though they are growing fast. As a result we sought a solution for creating clothes that children could use as they grow.

So what is different about your design from what we are used to?

María: The cut is made specifically so that children can use the garment for longer, the armhole is bigger, and the waist stretches wider. For a child with a few months of age the trousers will reach up close to the armpits and gradually lower towards the waist with time. The trouser leg is long so you fold it to begin with but end up as knee high trousers and the same goes with sleeves. Today you will pay around five to six thousand krona for a sweater and it lasts perhaps for a few months with the usual wear and tear marks. Here you will pay around 13.000 krona and get a piece of clothing that will last your baby for years and because of the quality, our non-trend and timeless design you will want to give it to the next baby in line too. You can therefor use it for decades, going through friends and family. We know how it is to buy clothes for your children, you think of how good the material is you want the best and softest material for your child. And you also want them to be environmentally friendly.

Guðrún: We don’t want for people to buy and throw away endlessly, the long lasting clothes are also a part of the notion that the fewer clothes you need, less harmful chemical are used in the process of making them.

Gréta: We are the opposite of HM, although HM is great at times, but we want to promote endurance of the product and we think that today people’s disposition on sustainability is changing for the better, we are starting to make demands on the matter.

Can you tell me more about the sweater and its voyage?

Guðrún: The sweater was hand knitted by my mother and it’s been travelling for nine years. A friend of mine Carolyn got it for her son Julian in 2003. After that Tinna in Iceland got it for her son Tryggvi, which then gave it to Ísafold. In the winter of 2006 it got lost but was found again the coming spring with a few dropped stitches that gave it even more character. Ísafold had outgrown it so next was Markús and in the end Kjartan Ragnar his cousin who wears it still. I would love to mark one of our sweaters and somehow track its journey, see where it’ll end up in 30 years to come.

Where and when will we be able to buy it?

Gréta: We introduced our first line last February at the CHP Kids trade show in Copenhagen. We start selling in September in various places, Barnabúðin Laugavegur 27, Mýrin Kringlan shopping mall, Saga Boutique with Icelandair, Rammagerðin which includes Hafnarstæti Reykjavík, Egilsstaðir, Keflavík Airport and soon Akureyri. As well Berlin, Copenhagen and we have been selling our summer line at an internet shop in New York and we plan on selling from our website as well. We are building it up nice and easy selling 85% here in Iceland and 15% abroad.

María: Barnabúðin told us that tourists are asking about Icelandic labels in children clothing, they can’t keep up with knitting the traditional wool sweater in baby sizes. We didn’t realize that there was a demand for it; our motivation was different as we have said.

Gréta: Soon we will have 100 hand knitted scarfs from Peru which are made from left over yarn and the profit of it will go to a charity we haven’t chosen yet. Exiting times ahead and now we just wait and see whether it’s going to be a success.

At this moment they show us the clothes, they are so tender and soft, particularly the ones with 100% baby Alpaca wool, María describes for us how you can mix and match almost every piece for the age of 6 months to 4 years old. The clothes aren’t too decorated or bright, but simple and cute, and beside the pink dress, it’s quite unisex as well, so you have endless choices to create your personal combination.

Interview: Erla Steinþórsdóttir
Photograpgs: Nanna Dís


Snoop-Around interviews fashion designer Helga Lilja – Helicopter for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #10 13.7.2012
This interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

We meet fashion designer Helga Lilja Magnúsdóttir in her co-operated store 20BÉ on Laugavegur 20b which is soon to be closed down. Helga is going through changes these days, changing store location and studio. With six years of experience of the clothing design business she is looking brightly to the future and is far from running out of ideas and inspirations.


Have you been doing this for a long time?

I started studying in the Iceland Academy of the Arts when I was 20 years old, graduated in 2006 when I was 23 years old. I went straight from there into making clothes, I begun when getting this heat press machine that you use to print on hoodies, very much street, trying to go as far as I could from what I was doing at the Academy. I sold my hoodies at the shop The Naked Ape where I had a successful run and from there I went to work for the clothing company Nikita. Heiða (founder of Nikita) bought a vest I made and from that they offered me a job which was great. I stayed there for almost three years and by that time I was craving to create myself, so in December 2010 I started designing under the Helicopter name and style.

So there is a change in style from the hoodies to your new style?

Yes there is, although I still see it as street, it’s everyday wear, more fancy, more digital print and different fabrics than I used at first but I keep within the lines of it being casual and a very important thing as well; something you feel comfortable wearing. I design clothes that I want to wear and I want to wear things that are practical and look nice at the same time.

20BÉ is closing down, what comes next?

We are closing down here which means we have a lot of clothes on sale but Helicopter recently became a part of the collaborative shop Kiosk on Laugavegur 65 and I also started selling in Karrusel in Copenhagen, Duty Free in the airport, Birna on Skólavörðustígur and even one shop in Eskifjörður called LV. The autumn/winter 2012-13 line is in production now and will be available in stores in the beginning of September and there will be an opening party in Kiosk. I like working in a shop where my clothes are sold, being around my customers and learn from the experience and find out what I can do better, I wouldn’t want to be completely separated from them. (At this point the photographer Nanna has picked out a gorgeous dress from the sale.)

Any new inspirations these days?

Yes and no, it’s always developing and you will see some changes next summer but I am still being kind of true to myself and my style. Designing next summer started quite late for me, it didn’t really happen until I went away to LungA artfestival in the east of Iceland. As cliché as it sounds it was just so inspiring to go away from the city and into the Icelandic nature. I’ve had different inspirations for example I found a cushion at my grandmother’s house from which I made the pattern for my summer 12 collection and for the coming winter the pattern I made is inspired by Wilson’s Bird of Paradise with strong colours and feathers which is entirely different from what I have now. For next summer I’m turning again in another direction. I usually just do the exact thing I want to do in the present moment. And even though I am looking at books and pictures that I’m really inspired from, for example the Native American tribal material, I might end up with something totally different. It’s like I get inspired from it to work and create. I get very inspired by my family and childhood, especially my old toys.

Any wisdom to share from these past six years?

What I am learning and discovering now is that you don’t want to go too fast. In the beginning I sewed the clothes myself and let people try them on and seeing them liking them so much I decided to give it a go, manufacturing that is. What I am trying to say is I don’t think it would be prosperous to overgrow to fast and explode all of a sudden. I would love to do loads of things that I have in my head but I know it would be too much to soon. Most of my time doesn’t go into the actual designing, when you are working alone on your own things a lot of the time you are handling practical things that come with the territory and working in the store takes up your time as well. But at the moment I have no interest in doing anything else because it gives me everything I want in life.

Interview: Erla Steinþórsdóttir
Photograph: Nanna Dís

LungA art festival – #Day 2 music workshop

I sat down with Úlfur Hansson (musician) and Arnljótur Sigurðsson (artist) in what seemed like the only lull of the day and when I say lull I mean that those guys where only being bothered by me and a handful of other people who would come through the door, ask a question and exit with the needed information to continue working. It’s the day before the exhibition and the last day of full and unadulterated work, no wonder it’s hectic.

This is the music and instrument creation workshop, am I right?

Yes, it’s called Expansion of the Oscillators.

That being both the name and direction of the workshop?

Úlfur: In brief this workshop is a festival and feast of sound, the idea is to open the ears and eyes of the participant to the soundscapes that surrounds them in day to day life and to the harmonics that are found in all spaces and nature.

Arnljótur: There has also been a discussion on sound from a conceptual and aesthetic perspective.

Úlfur: In the process of discussing these things, ideas have materialized that have then been realized in the creation of particular sound, tones and these oscillating instruments, which we have been building throughout the week.

So in order for me to understand you, this isn’t just a hands on create your own noise machine workshop, this is also probing look into how you interact with sound?

Úlfur: We are trying to turn on the metaphorical light bulb in their heads.

Arnljótur: People think of sound as something they hear, but not something they perceive. When in fact it is so much more. There is a universal sound in the multiverse that we have been trying to guide them towards.

Can you tell us more of this universal harmonic?

Úlfur: There are vibrations in everything, that in and of it self is a crazy enough concept to spark a religion.

At this point as we are interrupted again, this time they need to answer questions about their collaboration with the dance workshop in the exhibition. Everything seems to be in a state of flux, but very much in a good way. There are possibilities to be realized.

How many participants are in your group?

Úlfur: It has fluctuated through the week,with the volunteers coming in and taking part, but all in all the group is around thirteen people.

How have you structured the workshop?

Arnljótur: We had predetermined parts of the program, but a lot of it has been structured around what everyone wants to do.

Úlfur: We have then tried to help each individual on their own path, in no way telling them what to do, but to try and open up as many possibilities and directions as possible.

Arnljótur: They are immensely fertile and productive. What they have achieved in a week is just astonishing.

This wonderful house, is it empty between festivals?

Úlfur: Björt LungA and her friends from Denmark own this house. In the wintertime it’s an artist residence that you can rent to work and live in. In the summertime it’s used for workshops and the like.

Arnljótur: Funnily enough this is but one of many artists residences in Seyðisfjörður. There is a longstanding tradition of artists coming here to work, stretching back to Dieter Roth.

How did it transpire that you started working together and did you approach LungA with this idea?

Úlfur: I was asked if I was willing to come and run this seminar and of course I said yes, without really knowing what I wanted to do. For the longest time Arnljótur and me have intended to work together on something, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity and it just clicked and worked really well.

Arnljótur: Finally we are working together and we’re well chuffed.

Further collaboration?

Arnljótur: In the work beforehand and throughout the process of running the workshop we have taught ourselves quite a lot, we have broken everything apart analyzed it and in reassembling begun to get a deeper understand.

Úlfur: It’s insane how much you learn form teaching others.

Arnljótur: You can’t do this if you haven’t thought it out and applied reason to what you are doing. You’ll be caught out if what you’re saying is bullshit. In disassembling and analyzing you learn more. The worst part for me is not being able to be a participant. Given the time, we’ll undoubtedly take this project further.

Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photographs: Nanna Dís


LungA art festival 2012 – #Day 2

Our second day at LungA was dedicated to independent exhibitions and performances, which where held in various locations, dotted around town. Most artists showed work that they had been working on during the week, but some pieces had been worked on during a longer period of time.

The first event we attended, was an off-venue venture, an exhibition of work by five artists in an abandoned former bakery. Fittingly, when we got to the house, a young girl was handing out delicious warm home baked rhubarb muffins. When you got in the house however, you were greeted by a strong smell of anise seed, as one of the pieces was a room full of the Angelica plant, where a tent had been pitched in the middle. Within it sat a hippie like figure, humming and strumming a guitar.

Other pieces in the exhibition also had a happening feel to them, couple of simple sound works, a room where it said, it´s a little chilli outside, where the was actually a chilli hanging outside the window, and an stolen object, which was an actual stolen art piece from another exhibition at LungA, where the original artist, ended up coming to reclaim his artwork from the “new” artist.

The official program, was opened by a performance by Ása Dýradóttir and Karl Torsten Stallborn named The Hill Is Alive. The artists where placed at a little island in what the locals call “the lagoon”. The performance was in essence a ritual of both sound and fire, and in the end the hill woke up and replied.

After the performance, the other exhibitions opened. We had a quick stop at Árni Már Erlingssons and Sigurður Atli Sigurðssons exhibition Be Right Back, The Studio Is Closed. This time they where in, and the studio was chock full of people. We were lucky enough to have had snooped around them earlier in the day, and got a special class in DIY lithography, which will be the focus of an whole different article here on Snoop.

Next stop, was Harpa Einarsdóttir/ Ziska exhibition titled Instant ReflectionsTake Out The Trash! which was the cleanest cut exhibition of the ones we visited. Harpas world is certainly a very vivid one, full of ancient versus modern symbolism, colours and lines and are reminiscent of a wild occult space world, which you can only glimpse through Harpas artwork.

The last exhibition we visited was Rögnvaldur Skúli Árnasons, So What Do You Think?. His exhibition was set in a oddly washed out red house, which apparently had been left almost untouched by the owners, who took up and moved to different towns a few years earlier. Aptly the exhibition was in the living room, where Skúli showed new oil paintings, made during the week at LungA. The small paintings, which were brilliant little studies of moments that had happened during the last week in Seyðisfjörður, including subjects like fellow artist, Árni Már, Seyðisfjörður it self and it´s scenery.

Last on the tour, was Byssukisis performance at the edge of town, where a group of people under enormous white sheet, moving to the beat of rocks being thrown at massive oil tanks. The event ended in the group jumping into the ocean after having sprayed furiously through the sheet and in the process covered themselves in brown paint.

Our night ended at the screening of the dance and music film Girl Walk // All Day by director Jacob Krupnick set to the music mash up from Dj Girl Walk. At the beginning the presenter said that there where only two prerequisites for them to show the film, which was that they needed to have an powerful sound system, which they certainly did, and there need to be a dance floor if the need to dance would catch the audience. We were happy too see the normally reserved Icelanders, all getting up and dancing through the whole movie!

Text: Erla Björk
Photographs: Nanna Dís

LungA art festival 2012 – #Day 1

The Snoop-Around team was so fortunate to be invited to the LungA Art Festival in the picturesque town of Seyðisfjörður in eastern Iceland.

LungAs mission is to give young people opportunities to explore their artistic abilities and to widen their horizons, be it through workshops, exhibitions, collaborations with working artists or concerts. LungA was founded in 2000 and has been growing year from year.

The workshops run during the week and conclude in final shows on Saturday, which are dotted around town. The workshops cover a wide range of fantastically interesting subjects using mediums such as dance, photography, sound and happenings. Friday is dedicated to independent artists exhibitions and openings and the whole event culminates in big outdoor concerts on Saturday.

Yesterday Snoop-Around attended a fashion exhibition that was located in an abandoned warehouse type of a place at the edge of town. Their five fashion designers had set up installations of their work. We especially liked the installation by Sunna Örlygsdóttir, who had made a surreal oasis with a few potted plants and an oriental rug where four models stood. Sunnas designs where mainly composed of stiff, painted jackets but contrasted by soft pieces underneath.

Upstairs there we found work by Claire de Quénetain, who showed intricately woven pieces made of a foamy sort of a material that was held together by weaving techniques and safety pins. The garments shapes reminded us of a kind of an urban warrior theme, although the garments could be translated to wearable garments or accessories.

Today we will explore Seyðisfjörður some more; the town itself is set in a picturesque fjord at the edge of the east coast of Iceland. The town is surrounded by massive mountains on all sides that make it really cosy and comfortable for those who are not claustrophobic by nature.

Text: Erla Björk
Photographs: Nanna Dís