Grapevine

The knitted worlds of Sonja Bent


We met with Sonja Bent, a fashion and knitwear designer in the production room in Lazy Town, a children Television program that is extremely popular in America, produced both overseas and in Iceland. We noticed her Christmas sweater designs in read and green colours, and wanted to know more about her design projects that we knew were diverse and exciting, both independent and co- produced, for all sorts of mediums.

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So, why are you knitting these ugly sweaters?

We are having an ugly Christmas sweater theme, in our closing show of Lazy Town, where I currently work. We wanted to portray this tacky Christmas sweater look, which actually exists in reality in some western countries like Britain. I think its great actually for the reason of making it more like reality of Christmas instead of over-stylising all the characters. Actually I started out as an intern here, when I was studying fashion design in the Iceland Academy of the Arts, and was offered a project of making knitwear for the winter show and now I am a costume design assistant of María Ólafsdóttir, who is the main costume designer for the show. I love working in this kind of an action driven environment, where creativity level is very high. All the characters have their own colour palette, which is a great challenge.

Do you think it’s difficult to design for puppets?

Well their proportions are so different to human shapes, for example one puppet on the show is quite the challenge because of its big belly. We have watched these rough cuts of some of these episodes that we are working on now, its different to watch something that you have made by yourself, coming to life.

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Have you worked in other mediums, in the Icelandic film industry perhaps?

Yes, my first film project was to assist for the film Brúðguminn (White Night Wedding, 2008) for the wedding scene in the beautiful island of Flatey. These circumstances are very fast paced, and it can be very exciting artistically, it’s a huge change to go from all the doodling to working with a challenging team of filmmakers that need things to be done on the spot. My largest project in film has to be when I was the costume designer for the film Kóngavegur (King’s Road, 2010), portraying Icelandic trailer trash characters in a trailer park.

“The costumes were reality based worn out eccentric pieces”

What was the outcome, since we don’t have the actual culture of trailer trash in Iceland?

Well, we had influences from America of course, but the director, Valdís Óskarsdóttir, had such a strong vision for the characters so that was very helpful in the process. The costumes were reality based worn out eccentric pieces that we paired very thoughtfully together for each character. We thought of the Icelandic eccentric, in fact, that is what made the creation of the costumes come to life. I think some things work on camera, that doesn’t necessarily work in the real presence.

So, the actors from the theatre- based group Vesturport were involved in this film. How was it to work with them?

I really enjoyed working with the group; the Vesturport actors had strong opinions on their interpretation of the characters in the film. We had so much fun, brainstorming about the costumes, they where thinking about, “what would I wear, if I was this guy,”

I dug up old knitted sweaters, for one of the character, that I borrowed from old eccentric men, relatives and others that I know personally. We invited one of those guys we borrowed the most from, to the premiere and he must have found it a little strange to see his clothes worn, on the big screen in different kinds of scenes in the trailer trash park of Iceland!

So you borrow most of the clothing for these kinds of projects?

No, we have many fantastic second- hand shops here in Iceland, the Salvation Army, and Red Cross market that are very important for the film industry.

So, they are not too smelly one might think?

No, not at all. I use a magical chemical that eliminates odours and germs. This has made life much easier for us, using used clothing as costumes in general.

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So, what about new film projects, are you working on something right now?

Yes as a matter a fact, I am working on a short film Stúlkan á rauða hjólinu (The girl on a red bicycle) that is now in production, which my husband directs, and our friend that is also a filmmaker co-produces with us. My costume design for this film is pretty special, because it evolves around this married middle-aged man, which his story is displayed through clothing. This man is always waiting to win the big lottery pot. But the thing is, the audience sees his emotions on how he is dressed, it’s very extroverted. If he feels like he is a clown, he is dressed as a clown, and if he feels like a million dollars, he is very sheekly dressed. He is dressed like he feels; this concept is very interesting to me

So you are a fashion designer and knitwear specialist on top of all this, how is that going?

Yes, I think you can’t just be a fashion designer all the time, especially not in Iceland. Sometimes you have to work in projects, but for me it’s a great blend, its not as if I’m working in a café alongside being a designer. I am a knitwear designer, and I sell my pieces in Kirsuberjatréð in Vesturagata 4. I think my projects; both in Lazy Town, Icelandic films, theatre and commercials go very well alongside my personal freedom of being an independent designer. That’s what makes me happy, and I will probably want to do more of in the future!

“I am crazy about pastels”

What about colours, what is your colour palette about?

I don’t like blacks, its unlikely for me to design black clothing in general. But I am crazy about pastels, and I have been for such a long time actually. And ethnical colours, Tibetan and Greenlandic colours many many colours together.

I am very colourful in my designs, when I was studying in the Iceland Academy of the Arts people were so surprised by that because I was myself dressed maybe in something complete opposite. Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, my teacher didn’t get that I was going all over the colour palette, being myself in the woollen sweater colours all the time. But I don’t follow the rule of being in what I design all the time. People have commented on my Farmer´s Market sweater that I wear and ask me why I would buy knitwear since I am a knitwear designer myself. But I am myself a consumer, so I think its fine to be dressed in other designs as well.

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What project has had the most influence on in your carrier?

Well, I think it had a massive amount of influences on me when me and my three friends founded the Guerrilla Store in Slippurinn, Reykjavík around 2005, I was really inspired by our collaboratives Comme des Garçon but in fact they had been my favourite designers many years prior. But everything that we do, and as time passes by, the influences keep piling up and the various projects always influence me in a way. I am always planning of taking my masters abroad as well, so maybe in costume design or in fashion design. But I have had this dream of becoming a textile conservator, just repairing old textile works of all sorts. So that would be an idea as well.

Who are your clients?

Women of all ages basically. But what I find the most interesting now is when for example, I go out and I see someone wearing my knitted sweaters, I really really enjoy that. What can I tell you, oh yeah, It’s always nice when Björk buys your design. She has bought design wear from me twice but as we say in the fashion design community here in Iceland, we always celebrate that as a milestone if she buys our designs. She pulls off so many different things, she is magnificent.

But now this will all change, because I am currently working on a line for children that will soon be out, which I am producing in Portugal. Well, in Iceland it’s very common that you can be occupied in diverse projects all the time, but I am happy to be able to work in the field of design both as an independent designer and working on projects that are offered to me in different mediums.


We wish Sonja all the best in the future, with her designs for Lazy Town, her own contemporary knitwear design line, her upcoming children’s line and basically everything that her future brings.

kirs.is/art_work/sonjabent

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Helicopter

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.

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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.

helicopter-clothing.com

Interview: Erla Steinþórsdóttir
Photograph: Nanna Dís

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.

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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

 

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

 

Milla Snorrason

Snoop-Around interviews Hilda Gunnarsdóttir – Milla Snorrason for the Reykjavík Grapevine,
issue #4 13.4.2012Part of this interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

The third annual Reykjavik Fashion Festival (RFF) is upon us.
To get in the festival spirit we met with the lovely Hilda Gunnarsdóttir,
who is the designer behind the quirky new label, Milla Snorrason.

You studied at LHÍ (Iceland Academy of the Arts), how did you end up there?

It really just happened by accident, I´ve always been drawing, and been brought up doing that. When I was a kid I wanted to be a vet. Later I was going to play it smart and went to Versló. (The Commercial College of Iceland) I was going to study business because it was so economical. However I found it so boring that I never learned anything. After that I didn´t have a clue about what I should be doing.

Then my mum saw an ad from Myndlistarskólinn in Reykjavík, (Reykjavík school of visual arts) the foundation course there, and I got in. There a new world opened up to me. I couldn´t believe that studying could actually be this much fun. I just loved it!

What did you do after Myndlistarskólinn?

I was planning to do graphic design, but instead I started to work for Fréttablaðið (The daily newspaper) and was there for two years. I wrote mostly about life and style, and from that I started looking more into fashion and I realised that might be something I was interested in.

So where did your brand start? You got some good press for your final collection from LHÍ.

Since then I´ve been working out how to do this brand. It´s not the most economical thing to do.It´s hard to do this thing of being a fashion designer and while you´re not getting a salary. You start thinking about applying for jobs but if you want to live in Iceland that´s not necessarily something you can do. I´ve been trying to find my way through it.

You were interning abroad as well?

Yeah, I was interning at two places in London and I was thinking about if I should find a job there or what. I learned a lot but I also learned that I didn´t want to live in London either. So I had to come home and now I am working towards making things work here.

How did you like interning, did you get a lot from it?

Yeah, I learned a lot. I´m always bringing up things I learned from there. Practical things, like in this collection I´m using a lot of silks, and we´re cutting it all on paper because it makes it so much easier to cut. That was something I learned at Peter Jensen.I was also sewing 8 hours a day at Erdem, making toiles and test garments, and I learned a lot from that.Then I just learned from watching the people and hearing what they were talking about. I found it really good, there were times I asked myself if I was wasting money by being there, but as more time goes by, I realise how much I really learned there.

How has preparations for RFFbeen going?

Well, it´s going okay. It´s all has been just a little bit crazy lately and I´m doing it on my own for the first time since graduation collection. My mum hashelped me out a lot, I wouldn´t have been able to do it without her. And there has been so many things going awry.

Anything you can tell us about?

Well, just two weeks before the show the company which is printing my fabric called and said that they had ruined all of my fabric and it would take two more weeks before they could finish it. Then I just got a mild nervous breakdown and just went to my bed and cried for like a half an hour.

But when they heard how shocked I was, they just fixed it instantly. Before that we were just desperately trying to figure something out like printing on flag material.

How are you feeling about the festival?

It´s really exciting and I´m very happy to be part of it. I´m the only one that hasn´t showed a collection before. I´m grateful for the opportunity and am really looking forward to it. The execution of RFF is very good and it has become a proper Icelandic fashion week.

 

Hilda is showing in the second RFF show next Saturday, at Harpa, concert hall.
We wish her all the best and after our little sneak peek we can´t wait to see
what she´ll put on that runway.

millasnorrason
rff

Interview: Erla Björk Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

The Wheel Of Nutrition by HAF

Snoop-Around interviews Hafsteinn Júlíusson – HAF for the Reykjavík Grapevine, the DesignMarch special
issue #3 9.3.2012This interview originally appeared in The Reykjavík Grapevine

HAF is displaying The Wheel of Nutrition at DesignMarch. The Wheel, which is designed by HAF and Rui Pereira, is an archetype of a ceramic plate enhanced with explanatory graphics and distinctive colours. The idea is to remind people about the fundamental values of nutrition through the plate’s design. The plate is produced in three sizes, Diet, Extraordinary and Supersize, which are meant to correspond to people’s different nutritional needs. We met with Director of HAF Hafsteinn Júlíusson to learn a little bit more about the concept.

When did you start HAF and how did it evolve to where it is now?

I started the HAF project when I graduated in 2008 with a BA in product design. Shortly after my graduation my designs were published internationally and I got a lot of positive feedback. After I finished my Master studies in January 2010, I decided to make a company of it to follow up on all the attention I got, but I´ve also always been fascinated by things like branding in product design and such.

What can you tell me about the team behind HAF?

My father is the company´s general manager and my wife, Karitas Sveinsdóttir, who is an interior designer, works closely with me and approves the designs before we move to the final stage of our product production. I have also hired my best friend, Daníel Ólafsson, who is educated in business, to be the marketing and sales director for the company. The fact that the team consists of family and friends makes it more personal.

What can you tell me about The Wheel of Nutrition that you are showcasing at DesignMarch this year?

One evening, when me and Rui Pereira, a classmate from design studies in Milano where having some beers, we got the idea for The Wheel of Nutrition. We thought the idea had to exist somewhere in the world, so we googled it. But nobody had produced this concept so we had to do it!

Our motto in team HAF is that the designs are reminders about health, environmentalism. We´d like people to have a positive experience with the things we make.  The product itself has to have some kind of message. I am not going to design and produce a new chair, just to make a new chair. There are already so many good chairs in the world. It is about the story of why you are designing something, the new purpose.

So, are you a health junkie yourself?

Well not exactly. I am not a vegetarian or a passionate environmentalist myself. But we are reminding people about issues tied to health and the environment through the products that we design. We are also producing experiences in our design projects, not only materialistic things. I’m very interested in the idea of experiencing things.

Do you think it’s important to understand the story behind the design?

Well, it’s important to think about stories and how the products are presented. Our products, for example, do not have the same elements—each product is unique. There is no particular style, which becomes a style; you know what a mean? My design is about the concept behind the products and experiences that I design. We can’t be caught up in the Ikea development, where everyone has to buy the same thing. But that’s a story for another interview.

 

DesignMarch is 22.-25. of March, get more info here

hafsteinnjuliusson.com

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir Photograph: Nanna Dís