Friday, 17 May 2013

up north, on the farm


Iceland, despite its size, in recent years came into
its own as the cradle of several 'creative industries';
the arts are constantly flourishing turning the small
island country into a cultural destination full of vim
and vigor that also prides itself on a distinctive
Nordic approach to fashion. 'Farmers Market' is
a design company founded by textile designer
Bergþóra Guðnadóttir with her husband, musician
Jóel Pálsson, in 2005 which is strongly tied to the
local art scene and draws inspiration from the
island's unspoiled environment and traditional
Icelandic organic materials, primarily wool.
Bergþóra graduated from the Icelandic Academy
of the Arts in textile design, soon starting off her
own label with a small collection of woolen clothes
but shortly after she got the chance to become the
head of the design department of a notable local
outdoor brand where she hugely improved her skills.


Farmers Market debuted with a small range of hand
knitted sweaters for both women and men with a few
pieces for kids utilizing local wool that grew into a
line of multifunctional clothes and accessories
employing other raw natural materials such as silk,
leather, cotton and linen, developing a characteristic
style that subtly combines classic Nordic design with
chic modernity. ”We place ourselves on a junction.
A place where heritage meets modernity, the national
meets the international and the countryside meets the
city. We find this an exciting place to explore”
Bergþóra
declared introducing FM in an interview with Anna
Moiseeva for Reykjavik Fashion Festival where the
label's catwalk show featured live music and a king-size
waterfall in the background that suddenly jogged my
memory to the interactive installation by Rúri, one of
Iceland's most prominent artist, called 'Endangered
Waters' in which she came to 'archive' the images 
of Icelandic waterfalls threatened by 
increasing dam building.


Yet the core of the show was represented by the array
of genuinely styled woolen garments for men and women,
the natural fabrics they're made of and the timeless appeal
of well-crafted items suited both for outdoor activities
and city life. ”We believe that sustainable fashion and
recycling is not just a passing trend, but a key to the
future. As our brand name suggests, we focus on using
natural materials for our designs. Synthetic fabric
is kept to absolute minimum and only used for fabric
strengthening, water repellence or an occasional
 
decor deemed necessary by the designer” 
Bergþóra and Jóel affirm.


Farmers Market's fabrics aren't only sourced locally,
they include merino wool from Australia, yarns from
Italy as well as Indian raw silk; they like to work with
people who share the vision of creating beautiful,
high-quality products while maintaining the highest
ethical standards towards humans and nature.
But the label's pièce de résistance is actually the
Icelandic wool which is uniquely soft, warm and
water-resistant, in some sort a symbol 
of national identity.

RFF show images (4-5) © by Eva Björk Ægisdóttir
all other images from Farmers Market's website
The collection fully shows FM's elegant knitwear,
superb woolen sweaters and belted cardigans,
plaid-like and leopard coats, berets and shawls
seldom with fur warmers through gorgeous, warm
and I dare say friendly images of a farmhouse family
subtly emphasizing the label's signature style as
well as the natural 'country comfort' feel peculiar
to the island of fishermen, farmers and... 
talents to watch.

Farmers Market's founders, image © by blog.icelanddesign.is

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