Fur Trade

Snoop-Around interviews creators of Fur Trade for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #10 13.7.2012
This interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

In a swanky office at Jónsson & Le’macks we sit down with Sigurður Oddsson. We’re here to talk to him about Holster, a joint venture by three young men who all work in the creative fields and have come together to form a fashion company called Fur Trade, that is in fact not a fashion company.

Holster_By_FurTrade_Iceland_Snoop-Around_PicNannaDís

Siggi Odds., Bóas & Jökull Sólberg

What brought on this project and how do you three know each other?

Well we all are good friends, I had been working with Bóas Kristjánsson, fashion designer, whom has his own label called 8045 and the idea came up that I‘d work on some accessories, not fashion per say, but more product orientated. The idea originated in Jökull Sólberg the third member of the group, coming into work wearing an actual shoulder gun-holster, he wasn’t armed or anything but it definitely gave me ideas for a more practical application, and that got me sketching. So that’s where the idea comes from. My reasoning being that in the summertime men like to wear shorts and a T-shirt but where do you put your keys, change and wallet? The Holster is a solution. That was what I presented to Bóas and funnily enough he had been working on something similar but from the angle of a more classical vest, we merged these two ideas into what is now the Holster.

It’s a bit like the Swiss army knife of clothing?

That is true, we tried to integrate as much as we could into the design, take your phone for instance, often you’ll have earphones plugged in and they just get tangled up in everything. That’s why we put a handy cord slit high on the shoulder, where you can fasten it and it won’t get in the way. All the pockets are designed for their individual tasks, for your phone, sunglasses and wallet so that it doesn’t bulge but blends seamlessly into the design. All the material used, black caribou, lamb, salmon and rosefish leather, comes from a leather factory here in Iceland, in the north to be specific, but everything is sewed in Reykjavík.

“I mean if you can have a gun there and no one notices it, then a phone is a piece of cake”

Do you feel the need has arisen from a greater accessorisation of men?

Men just have more stuff now, and when you’ve grown accustomed to trudging everything around with you, it’s pretty hard to do without it. When kept in the Holster your stuff blend seamlessly into your attire. It looks good on its own as well as under a jacket, and it takes form the shoulder holster the idea of using dead space under the arms so that you don’t really notice it if concealed, and doesn’t get in the way. I mean if you can have a gun there and no one notices it, then a phone is a piece of cake.

You launched the company in March?

Yes, that’s when we launched the website and the product. It’s been a steady rise since then, and we´re are focusing on the global market. Two weeks ago Sævar Karl started selling the product so we are really excited about that. It’s always good to have a place where people can drop into when they’re unsure about the size or the material. At first the sales were to friends and online, the funny thing though was that when the site went live at around 05 in the morning, the night before Design March, we got an order from Sweden within the first hour. We had posted a link on Facebook and a friend of a friend of a friend ordered the first one, it really is a small world!

For further information: furtrade.is/holster

Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photograph: Nanna Dís

 

Hand plays

The visual artist Marc Ferrante is an interesting up and coming artist, has throughout the years made projects out of 100 X-rays of the hand that he made with the help of radiologist, surgeons and X-ray technicians, puppeteers, dancers, magicians, shadow- puppetry artists. The images are digital prints printed displayed on stainless steel light boxes. He intends to point out that the X-ray is portraying the vibrant complexity of the being, and are initially complex, while one looks at the concept of “the self”.

Shadow play series
One of his first series was an X-ray practice, similar to a cave where the forms turn into shadows on a wall, which is a reminder of radiologists experience, since they are led to check negatives on what will be X-rayed.

mephisto, devil

Objects theatre series
Here the artist Ferrante focused on the relationship of values by playing with stereotypes, cultural conventions by comparing different types of images that can be interpreted with a medical, folkloric or archaic focus. Many of the images in his series are made by collaboration with other artists, for example from the theatre.

chripata 02

Hand dancing series
The dances of hands are a portrait of the hands ability to grasp the void or time, simulating the analysis of movements. His intention was to refer to the movement of dancers rituals to reparative moves.

Danse, dph 01

Modified presence series
Here the artist experiments with mixing up recent technologies, inspired by Méliès, Moholy-Nagy and many other, wanting to disturb the usual perceptive constraints brought about by standardized readings, photography, 3D imaging and so forth.

Peau 01, skin 01 (sloughing)

Skin series
The skin is the most notable missing constituent re-emerges in this series to add sensuality.
Skin and bones superimpose then split in paradoxical spaces that no software or digital medical equipment has been able to generate so far. It is clear that there are several relative levels of transparency and that the X-ray photograph has been used at a high level of opacity.

Transparente 07, transparent skin (without bone) 07

Ergon series
In this series the artist materialized the vacuum between two hands, by X-raying the things the machines can normally not catch. Radiography is here a matter of sculpture, portraying the third dimension.

Ergon 08

Be sure to learn more about the visual artist Marc Ferrante,
based in Strasbourg.

margferrante.com

Sævar Markús

Snoop-Around interviews fashion designer Sævar Markús for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #9 15.6.2012
This interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

Sævar Markús’ first line, a small collection of silk accessories inspired by Romanian folklore, sold out in only a fortnight. He’s now getting ready to debut his men’s and women’s wear collections this fall, which feature androgynous tailored pieces mixed with silk dresses for women and printed shirts with detailed patterns for men. We met the fashion designer at his studio on Laugavegur to find out more about this work and how his background as an artist shapes his designs.

Sævar-Markús_fashion-designer_Snoop-Around_photo-NannaDís

You studied art before going into fashion?

Yes, I originally studied art and art history. However, I became interested in fashion when I went to Paris to work with a group of visual artists. They were doing a lot of multimedia art and some performances, and I was making costumes. It was really through a collaboration with the fashion house Agnés B, when I was working in their space and going through their fabric collection, that I really decided to go into fashion.

“grabbing bits from here and there, like a moment in a film,
just a few seconds, that makes you go “wow, that’s something.”

Does your background in art come into play when you’re designing?

It does, as my field of interest is so broad. I really enjoy researching and finding inspiration from wide variety of sources, such as literature, antiques, art or films. I like grabbing bits from here and there, like a moment in a film, just a few seconds, that makes you go “wow, that’s something.” In the end all this research comes together in a big database that I can then work from.

Did something in particular inspire your new fall/winter collection?

I was inspired by Art Brut where artists that may not be traditionally educated often work from a naive perspective. I was also deeply inspired by Czech and British new wave films from the sixties.

The cut of the garments is mostly androgynous; the classic tailored pieces are sized to fit both sexes. Some things like the dresses and ladies shirts, are extremely feminine though, and are made from feminine fabric like chiffon. One dress in particular is dedicated to the singer of Broadcast, Trish Keenan, who I’ve always felt a strong connection to.

How would you describe your design, is there a singular concept?

I would say it’s very classical, at least the cut. I like classical tailoring and want garments to be well made and cut. This collection was mostly inspired by art, but next summer I will be working with florals and Finland for example. It’s mainly classic looks, but is heavily infused with what I’m inspired by at that moment.

What’s it like to start your brand in Iceland?

The market is small and it is a lot of work. It’s expensive to import fabrics and you can at most hire a seamstress to help out when it’s really busy. You have a lot on your plate at any given time. But I’m just starting out, so all the work is on me at the moment. However the good thing about working here is that you can try things out, taking one step at a time. And in the end, you never know what’s going to happen!



Find Sævar Markús here:
facebook.com/SaevarMarkus

Interview: Erla Björk Baldursdóttir
Photograph: Nanna Dís

 

Jet Korine

Snoop-Around interviews fashion designer Jet Korine for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #8 15.6.2012
Part of this interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

When you walk up Skólavörðustígur, you might notice a little shop on number 17a, which bears the name of its owner and designer, Jet Korine. Jet has a strong ethos behind everything she does, from the hand-dyed socks to the versatile ´life coat´; all is made with a conscious effort to leave a little less imprint on the world. The garments could be from the closet of a modern nomad, ready for whatever. The style is above trends and fads, and even though the clothes might look light and delicate,they are made to last.

Tell us a bit about the shop.

It has been open for three years in this location but the brand is a little bit older. It started like many other brands, in a workshop, tucked away on the second floor with no public appearance. We opened the shop in Skólavörðustígur when the crisis loomed over Iceland and to outrule the danger of going bankrupt, we collected both the workshop and the shop in one location.

You retail a variety of accessories as well?

The golden rule is that, what we can´t make ourselves, we can retail. For example our socks are made in the USA from recycled materials and when they arrive in Iceland, we hand dye and print them here. For all the accessories that we retail, we want things to have some connection to the policy for our own clothing.

“I didn´t want to feel responsible for putting
more crap out into the world”

Is the handmade quality and sustainability important to your own work as well?

It is. But at the same time it´s not the biggest selling point. I want people first and foremost to fall in love with what they see and feel more beautiful by wearing my clothes. The second part of it that all my fabrics are organic and my dyes are natural. It was my choice to work from that source, because I didn´t want to feel responsible for putting more crap out into the world. It´s already filled up with enough crap.

However it has, gladly enough, affected the overall look of my clothing. For example, by not having synthetic material in my store, it´s very hard to get bright colours, since they are in general done with either synthetic dye or synthetic materials. The pastels that we are known for are because of the natural dye behaves like that, it´s its characteristics. These two things together have become the look for the brand.

Is there a single concept behind every collection?

There is not a particular concept that rules every single collection, the overall concept is that we are planning to stay natural and minimizing peoples consuming behaviour. And to make sure that whatever is bought here, can be used as much as possible and that people might actually buy less. So in a way it´s the worst business plan ever, promoting buying less! For a store that would be a suicidal business plan, however it works really well for us. I feel that our customers are aware of what they are buying, it´s not a moment of impulse.

What is your new collection based on?

The summer collection, Dans-Dans-Dans, was very much inspired by professional dancers. We have a lot of jersey layering, which is easy to build up and build down. Catsuits make the first layer that cover the whole body, the next layer is very open and would actually show everything if there wasn´t a catsuit underneath. We are in a dance theme this summer and it suits this beautiful weather that we´ve been having!

 

Interview: Erla Björk Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

 

EYGLO

Snoop-Around interviews fashion designer Eygló Margrét Lárusdóttir – EYGLO for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #7 1.6.2012
This interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

We met fashion designer Eygló Margrét Lárusdóttir at her studio on a sunny afternoon in downtown Reykjavík. Eygló is the brain behind the label EYGLO, which she started in 2006 after graduation from the Iceland Academy of the Arts. She has been busy since then, cofounding the cooperative design shop Kiosk in 2010, which carries her work as well as that of nine other Icelandic designers. Eygló just received a grant from the Aurora Design Fund to expand her brand, which features strong feminine collections with humorous undertones. Not to mention the newly crowned Eurovision winner Loreen from Sweden was also recently spotted sporting one of Eygló’s new swimsuits. Eygló was yawning when we first arrived, but it didn’t take her long to wake up as soon as she started talking about her work.

How did you wind up becoming a fashion designer?

Well, I kind of just woke up one day and wanted to become one and then there was just no turning back.

What is the concept behind your current spring/summer line?

I started with a book about dinosaurs that my son brought back from the library; I was inspired by the interesting patterns. I also scanned my hair, and then I combined them. So the collection is based on a natural look, but it’s also weird because obviously I don’t have green hair and we don’t know what dinosaurs looked like; it’s all just speculation. I try to make practical cuts that work. It thought there was a lack of swimwear, so I made two types of swimsuits that I’m really pleased with. A specialist in Estonia manufactures them, and I am actually on my way to visit them to see the winter collection as well as to make prototypes for next summer.

I’ll also be going to the opening of a new shop in Copenhagen called Karrusel, and later this summer I’m participating in the DottirDottir project in Berlin which is a month long pop-up shop and showroom.

How do opportunities for fashion designers abroad compare to opportunities in Iceland?

Well, the consumer group is ridiculously small here. If you can make it work here, you can make it work elsewhere. If you get into a few shops, you’re doing ok. There is so much cost involved with all of this; things that you forget to calculate. You don’t really even pay yourself in the beginning. I never recommend this job to anyone unless they are 100% sure that they want to do this and nothing else. But I would just be depressed if I weren’t doing it. It’s a mental rollercoaster.

What is the ethos behind EYGLO as a whole?

I use a lot of print, at least in my latest collections. My customer base is very broad; the designs seem to appeal to a wide audience. There is a sporty element; maybe it’s just the zeitgeist, but it always sneaks up on me. I’m not romantic at all.

You prefer stronger forms?

Yes and a bit of power dressing. Well, next summer I’m going to be really cliché. I went to Þingvellir and took pictures of rocks. I’m not joking! I’m making an Icelandic camouflage; it will be insane! I was just like, ‘fuck, what am I doing, organising some rocks in Photoshop,’ but I like doing something taboo and attempting to do it well. This idea could totally fail in Iceland, because these natural patterns are so close to us, but then it might work somewhere else. It’s a delicate balance to strike

eyglocollection.com

Interview: Erla Björk Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

 

VODUN – trying to grasp the ungraspable

‘VODUN – trying to grasp the ungraspable’
Reportage by Frederic Vanwalleghem

The town of Ouidah – Benin is the spiritual capital of Vodun in West Africa. Vodun is their national religion. Presently there are an estimated 50 million worshippers worldwide. An important aspect of the religion is spirit possession, through which the spirits speak to the devotees only for a short time during the ceremonies. This trance mechanism is a way to heal and get advice about daily matters. From a western point of view, Vodun is seen as mystique religion often associated with black magic, giving way to much misunderstanding.

I lived with the ‘Hounongan Zanzan Zinho Kledjé’ family who adheres the Gambada fetish or the serpent spirit, the basis of the well-known Damballah cult in Haïti. In Vodun and related African diasporic traditions a primordial way to obtain a spiritual experience is by being possessed by the Iwa or spirit. Through spirit possession the devotee and cult spirit become one. The members seem to immerse themselves in a hypnotic trance until one of the spirits starts to inhabit a body. Especially during possession, the identity of the spirit is clearly discernible. A silent and quiet person may become flamboyant and dramatic, dancing with grand gestures.

I was fortunate to encounter and document this intense experience. During a ceremony I witnessed the individual trance of two devotees. The numerous uncontrollable muscle spasms, vocalizations and peculiar eye gazes showed me this was an unfeigned event.

Link to the complete essay : fredericvanwalleghem.com

-
Frederic Vanwalleghem, photographer/visual artist, who is from Belgium
also shot these two beautiful photo essays in Iceland, be sure to check them out:

Verid thid blessadir Islendingar
Making space

Glymskrattinn

The dance/concert/play Glymskrattinn is the creation of Melkorka Sigríður Magnúsdóttir and Sigríður Soffía Níelsdóttir, dancers and choreographers alongside with Valdimar Jóhannson musician. We took a sneak peak into practice and met up with Melkorka to learn a little more.

Neon Chameleon by Glymskrattinn

How did this piece come about, this is a blend of dance, music and theater?

Yes it is. Sigríður Soffía and me met in Brussels where we were studying, and since then we always wanted to work together. When it finally happened we had a common interest of doing something like this and a clear starting point. We wanted to compose a piece in which music and dance would both get room, neither would be in the foreground, but both equally elements in our creation. The result is the dance/concert piece Glymskrattinn.

The name Glymskrattinn (Jukebox) is a reference to all the music styles we are working with, you insert a coin to the jukebox and you never know what you are going to experience and that is also what’s so exciting. We try to work with stereotypes of different music styles, such as pop, disco, rap and ballads and add a new twist to the songs. We add choreography, exaggeration or reduction from the clichés to create a joyful cabaret, full of humor, singing and dancing. We have partnered up with our music man Valdimar Jóhannsson from the Icelandic band Reykjavík! and Lazyblood, Brynja Björnsdóttir set designer and Ellen Loftsdóttir stylists and together we have worked to create this show that will take place in the National Theatre. The exhibition is sponsored by Evrópa Unga Fólksins, in cooperation with the National Theatre on the Reykjavik Arts Festival.

You have been writing songs, what can you tell me about it? Are you musicians?

We are not musicians in that sense that is we are not trained musicians. Sigríður Soffía played piano for 8 years and I play the Ukulele. On the other hand, we have both sung a lot. Sigríður Soffía sang one of the lead roles in the opera Red Waters last fall in France and Melkorka is singing in a traveling exhibition of performing arts with the band John the Houseband.

Valdimar however is an educated musician; we have created ten brand new songs for this show so we hope that the audience can go dancing and singing into the night afterwards.

What is your background as dancers and what can you tell me about your artistic approach to the piece?

Sigríður Soffía graduated from the Iceland Academy in 2009 and has since worked as a freelance dancer and choreographer. She dances with several groups, including Shalala, the Icelandic Dance Company, DF-Krummi and performance group Bristol Cava Ninja Crew.

Melkorka learned choreography at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam and contemporary dance at PARTS in Brussels, 2006-2010. Since graduation she has worked with Motion Development group (Group Collective), John the Houseband and Belgian Dance Company Ultima Vez.

In this show, we will try to combine different aspects of performing arts, such as dance and music but also the lights and sounds play a major role. The idea is that the audience could come to a concert, listen to different tracks and see the spectacular in the way. In the piece we seek to combine songs and dance in perfect balance. All in all this is heading in a very colorful and entertaining show, we have to double all the technical equipment in the National Theatre and are working with excellent technicians. Ellen Loftsdóttir is doing the costumes that are very funny and Brynja Björnsdóttir, the set designer is equipped to do a lot of great things in the space of the National Theatre.

Broken by Glymskrattinn

Where, when and what? How many shows will there be?

We will allow the audience to judge what will be most surprising in the Glymskrattinn. However, we can reveal that up to the last song in our show combines disco and dubstep in a very innovative way. So praise the excellent dose of glitter and confettis, neon lighting and lazer shows.

There will be four screenings, on Wednesday 20:00 o’clock, after which May 25th May 1st and June 2nd at. 22:30. It is therefore ideal for people going out to dinner or to celebrate before and then go to a concert and spectacular dance show in the National Theatre!

Where can one get tickets?

You can buy tickets at midi.is through the website listahatid.is Arts Festival, the website of the National Theatre leikhusid.is, phone: 551-1200. It is sold out for the premiere, so we encourage people to buy tickets.

 

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

 

Reykjavík Shorts&Docs festival 2012 – #The price of sex: a documentary

The Reykjavík Shorts&Docs festival finished of with a bang last weekend, for now at least, the plan is to hit the road again to rural areas this summer. The film Price of Sex was screened on the festival in the beginning of May, a documentary about young Eastern European women that have been drawn in to sex trafficking and abuse. Photojournalist and filmmaker Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, tells the story through a personal investigative journey, going partly undercover in the filming process.

After the screening, there was a panel discussion, led by the journalist Jóhannes Kr. Kristjánsson, about these issues. One of the participants in the panel, Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, the project manager in Kristínarhús which is a shelter for women victims out of prostitution and/or human trafficking, sat down with us for a quick interview.

How did this come about, that the Shorts&Docs contacted you for the panel?

Because the Shorts&Docs festival was focusing on female filmmakers and women s issues this year they sought after partnerships with NGOs that work in this field. So they contacted us at Stigamot to co-host this screening and panel which of course we were happy to do, to put focus on these issues that often do not get too much attention. I was also asked to point out candidates for the panel, and I think it was very interesting to have a representative from the police and the ministry of interior.

How do you feel that the film medium is suitable for subjects like this?

This medium is very suitable, for many reasons. The audience get to see the women tell their stories about them being victims of sex trafficking and prostitutions. You never fully understand this reality of these women, unless you get to hear them talk about this in person. But the downside is maybe that this is a visual medium, and women have to be brave to step in front of the camera to tell their story. There are many women that choose to speak in other non visual mediums, or to be blurred out completely if they agree on being filmed.

What can you tell me about this film, The price of sex?

The filmmaker obviously had worked very hard on the film itself. She describes the distress of these women very well, that they come from poor countries, which makes them easy victims for those who are behind human trafficking. The movie is about this distress both when the women are in these situations and the aftermath, because when they are free, this is not at all over, and the recovery process is very complex and difficult.

I think it’s very brave for this filmmaker to manage to get interviews with people involved in soliciting prostitution and pimps. I think that is a very good standpoint to take, because this is not a problem that exists in some kind of a vacuum, there are actual persons behind this demand side of the matter that keep maintaining these human rights violations.

What is your opinion about the filmmaker, did you feel her presence in the film?

Yes, absolutely, she is from Bulgaria and her voice as an author shines very strongly throughout the film. She is of course not just a filmmaker, she is an activist and a photojournalist so she approaches the subject in various ways. She has a webpage for the film: priceofsex.org

Finally, what do you want people to notice the most, if they are going to see this film?

Well, I think the main message is that prostitution is sprung from distress, I think we could stop discussing the myth about the happy prostitute and free will, It is not choice and never will be.

 

We thank Steinunn for takting the time to talk with us, and wish her the best in her profession at Kristínarhús.

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís