There’s a certain mysticism that strikes you when you first land in Iceland. Arriving in the wee hours of the morning, myself and three other groggy digital editors drove through epic landscapes of huge volcano rocks coated in moss, fog and the slight outline of monstrous mountains in the background with not a building in sight. It was as if we were transported in time (and possibly dimensions) and landed in the missing scene of Lord of the Rings. Alas, we weren’t there to indulge our imaginations (although that happened anyway, it was nearly impossible not to stumble upon inspiration), we were there to participate in the third annual Reykjavik Fashion Festival.
Feeling quite a bit like the beginning of stylish summer camp, familiar faces and new joined together to start a two-day marathon of fashion shows, musical performances, panel discussions and fashion chitchat galore. With the impressive presence of the Moda Operandi ladies, it was clear that this wasn’t a mom and pop event. Opening the event in a deserted garage at the bottom of the massive new arts building, Harpa (which, by the way was designed by Ólafur Elíasson, the same artist responsible for the sick waterfalls below the Brooklyn Bridge a few years ago), the event was refreshingly new wave with a twist of the old.
Excited editors buzzed as they greeted one another. Spotting people from Fashionista to Face Hunter, it was beyond evident that this was the place to be. Now, let’s get to the juicy stuff: the collections. It blew my socks off that a chunk of these designers stumbled into fashion from another pursuit or simply were a bit green. Many designers called upon other artistic motifs to accompany their shows whether it was a projection, film or live musical performance.
Fine art didn’t just live on the runways either. It was a consistent undercurrent with many designers also participating in collectives aside from their fashion endeavors. It infiltrated their work as well with bright and saturated colors, complicated (in a good way) influences and delicate pattern construction across the board, no matter what the aesthetic. Stand-outs included Mundi, Ziska, YR and Kron with completely comprehensive collections, it made us wonder a bit about what else is missed with such a huge focus on the main fashion week circuit of New York, London, Paris and Milan (be sure to come back for exclusive interviews and photos of the designers themselves).
There was a hunger and passion in each viewpoint expressed throughout the collections drawing parallels from the dramatic, obscure and slightly surreal landscape of the area. Giddiness was shared amongst attendees and volunteers (you heard me, people offered up their time to execute the festival) as each show came to an end. Acting as a small melting pot, international editors and buyers were able to mingle freely without pretension and ego – another refresher from other standard fashion events.
As the weekend came to a close and I relaxed in the mesmerizing Blue Lagoon spa, I felt not only rejuvenated by the mud mask (which I applied twice – can’t get too much of a good thing, right?), but energized by the purity of the designs uncorrupted by having to answer to commercialized demands. But, why drone on when I can share some of the sick imagery from the weekend?
Click through the slideshow to see a snapshot of the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and stay tuned for designer spotlights!