What was the inspiration behind the collection?
Each collection responds to ideas we’re exploring within the previous collection. For us, this is really about evolving the pieces in ways that respond to ideas we feel are missing in the industry or garments in general. For us, it is really about evolving ideas around performance and functionality. We always look at places and scenarios where our clothing needs to function. For example, in Iceland you have to dress for the weather, it’s just something you have to think about given its position at the top of the globe. You need to always keep in mind that you have to avoid getting wet or cold and shield yourself from the wind. Firstly, our aesthetic is inspired by the landscape itself, which informs our earthy, neutral palette, but we’re also taking the fundamental elements of dressing for that harsh environment and appropriate it to urban living.
We’re interested in how the wearer’s relationship with a piece evolves over time, through use, and how well a certain piece performs, or what we’re asking of it. We’re always trying to make clothing that has a purpose, or use, and we build this approach into the way we develop each piece in the collection. Ensuring one garment isn’t merely replaced by a newer offering next season. We’ve also been incorporating aspects of product design, particularly Nordic furniture design. We felt that the people buying our clothes are naturally drawn to other areas of design that share a similar approach or ethos and wanted to link the two.
It was the natural thing to start looking at Icelandic and other Scandinavian furniture, and the way they are able to do so much with the materials. Nordic furniture never looks dated, and there’s this idea that a well-designed piece can increase in value over time, through use. We were looking into translating these properties into clothing. The use of natural material was also a big thing that we wanted to push this season. We worked with a range of performance fabrics, each selected for its adaptability to different environments or settings, and we’re constantly looking for natural alternatives to the fabrics typically associated with outerwear – harnessing the waterproof qualities of densely woven Ventile cotton or the natural stretch and water repellent properties of wool.
“Taking the time to refine ideas or develop a particular product is key to this, so overall we felt as though we were designing one collection but offering it in two separate periods. This way we’re not forcing ideas that take longer to develop just so they’re ready in time.” – Arnar Már Jónsson and Luke Stevens
What was the biggest objective for this season?
This season was really a continuation of our SS21 collection; taking those ideas forward into a winter wardrobe and developing these ideas with different properties for winter. We felt it was too soon to start working on something completely new when we’d only spent six months developing the ideas for SS21. When we look at our favourite brands it is never a huge surprise what you get season-to-season. You go to them for a reason and we want our customers to feel the same. Taking the time to refine ideas or develop a particular product is key to this, so overall we felt as though we were designing one collection but offering it in two separate periods. This way we’re not forcing ideas that take longer to develop just so they’re ready in time.
“Having designed SS21 from our homes during the first lockdown, it was good to be able to take a more hands-on approach with other areas of the development. ” – Arnar Már Jónsson and Luke Stevens
Did you experience any difficulties during the creation of this collection?
Yes, of course. Collection development somehow never goes to plan and the ideas are constantly evolving. The dyeing techniques went through a lot of stages and there was a lot of sampling that didn’t work. Our idea was to get the same effect as you get with bleaching but in a sustainable way. We were working with natural plant dyes to colour the fabric, rather than removing dye – this is basically reversing the process, so we had to totally start from scratch. Natural dyeing is a completely different process and harder to control if you don’t want an even colour, but right at the end we managed, and we really love those pieces.
Arnar was in Iceland for the whole design period, meaning we had to look at slightly different ways of working to avoid too much back and forth. We spent a lot of time designing over Zoom calls, which was new to us, and we dedicated a longer period to design at the beginning of the season in order to focus our efforts. This is definitely something we will adopt going forward. There were positives too. Having designed SS21 from our homes during the first lockdown, it was good to be able to take a more hands-on approach with other areas of the development. Being back in the studio meant we could work on new blocks and develop techniques through sampling which we hadn’t been able to do during the lockdown.