Crippled by extreme weather, the Nordic states have long been a paradigm of practical fashion. Damning with faint praise but this translates as modern, minimal, functional fashion done brilliantly. From my three day trip to Oslo at the weekend, I have ascertained that Scandinavians like clothes with lines and structure and choose fabrics by the climate instead lazily peeling on tights. They like proper wool and neoprene and realise the importance of decent buttons. They also like vintage and H&M, both of which they wear excellently. With the ascent of designers like Nhu Duong and Peter Jensen through ACNE, & Other Stories H&M, I'd even hazard that Scandinavians have the monolopy on the northern hemisphere. Bold, sure, but true.
Indeed, while the tones of Øya festival bellowed out across the financial district, former baby-stars, The Olsen Twins of The Row fame were in town to launch the first of three collaborative collections with Bik Bok 'Scandinavian It Girl'. A niche label but one that's only available in Norway. They’re no fools.
Of course it's during the summer months that Scandinavian women, and indeed men, really come into their own. This is a time when they can go off-piste. In every sense. Truly you cannot move for Helly Hanson in downtown Oslo. With that in mind, I headed to the thick of alfresco vorspeil, which roughly translates as "warm-up party", of the festival and the leafy environs of Grünerløkka, Oslo’s Hackney, to see what I could learn from the men, women and couples of Oslo. A shedload, obviously.
1. High end (Carven skirt) can be worn to a festival when it's paired with low end (scuzzy Converse). Being a very fit music promoter also helps. Would that we all had such legs
2. Waisting is a thing outside of the UK. Stackforms, also
3. Ditto fringing. And see-through fabrics. Which Norwegian students like Maya somehow make infinitely classier
4. Although it is possible to wear all vintage without reaching critical mass if you're a Norwegian MA student. Note, also, how clogs are the new Swedish Hasbeen sandals. Really. *Purchases*
5. Norwegian couples are infinitely cooler than non-Norwegian couples. Even in head to toe H&M
6. Seriously, though, aren't they just? Hi, The Kooples IRL.
6. It's OK for couples to dress the same, and very possible without looking the wrong side of androgynous. (Here, Lars goes for pastels, and Elina goes monochrome. Works, right?)
7. Norwegian men in nautical-wear? The very template of fabulous
8. Lies. This is the template for fabulous. And Paul doesn't even work in fashion