Going from strength to strength, Oslo Runway, now in its ninth year, is a reflection of the ever increasing international interest in all things Scandinavian, particularly style and design. Copenhagen Fashion Week might still be better known but Oslo’s annual fashion showcase continues to impress with innovative Norwegian designers who have a strong sustainable ethos. And this year, Oslo Runway has introduced the CPHFW’s sustainability requirements, where all brands and designers participating must report on their sustainable approach, as well as signing an ethical charter for the fashion industry, an agreement considering diversity and inclusion for models and staff.
With more than 30 established Norwegian brands and new designers on the schedule this week, Oslo Runway kicked off with a lively new talents runway show, followed by a series of shows, popups and presentations in unique locations throughout the city. For anyone visiting Oslo in August, Oslo Runway has some public events too. At Steen & Strøm, the world’s oldest department store (established in 1797) is a shopping event presenting Norway’s sustainable jewellery brands and a design/craft pop-up, a collaboration between knitwear brand 2 Much Pressure and design studio Sandland. Fashion meets music at the brilliant new Munch Museum on the waterfront, creating a fun audiovisual experience with DJs and fashion designers. While you’re at the museum, see the best views of the city from the 13th floor outdoor roof terrace bar.
For visitors to Oslo, a tax refund, along with the current favorable exchange rate, makes shopping very appealing. For customers outside of Norway, all brands showing in Oslo Runway have international distribution in shops or online. Of a strong lineup, here are some designers that really stood out in this month’s showcase.
Art meets fashion in Edda Gimnes’s spectacular, one-of-a-kind haute couture pieces, presented in a stunning show by Norwegian Royal Ballet dancers. Since graduating from London School of Fashion, her bold statement pieces have been worn by Lady Gaga, Gigi Hadid and Cardi B. Selected by The New York Times as one of 10 “Fresh-Out-of-Fashion-School Designers to Watch,” Edda Gimnes already has pieces in Norway’s art museum and the Met in New York. Her detailed, often intricate, illustrations are enlarged, printed onto canvases and turned into functioning garments or accessories.
Among the Norwegian brands with temporary showrooms or popups during Oslo Runway, brand new O.A.D. was a real standout. Launched only last fall, this new knitwear brand, headed by Maria Lilly Flakk, is already selling out of its highly covetable designs. Made from Norwegian wool, mohair, cashmere and silk, the collection is based on classic designs from Norway’s heritage merino wool brand Devold, reimagined for a contemporary consumer. A chunky cream cardigan can be worn as a chic jacket with jeans or a dress. Heavy weight, roll neck blue and white or rusty orange jumpers are ideal for cooler weather, while lightweight sweaters are great for summer evenings and simple, square scarves make the ideal finishing touch to an outfit.
A runway show at a historic banquet hall was a fitting venue for the first collection of Atelier Hinode. Solely constructed out of luxury surplus materials, the brand is helping to reduce the industry waste and saving meters from ending up in land fills. The designs are carefully constructed to feature multiple ways of wearing, ensuring the long life of each garment. The “Mini Skirt Top”, “Maxi Skirt Dress” and “Reversible Shirt” are each in a classic color palette that will stand the test of time.
Models wearing striking new handmade jewelery from Pearl Octopuss.y were accompanied by an energetic violinist, in a hip Oslo apartment. Genderless, extravagant pieces in recycled gold, silver and pearls were worn in multiple ways: bracelets and broaches double as necklaces. Launched in 2018, the Oslo based jewelery brand was established and crafted by Cathrine Boerter who continues to create eccentric, bold pieces that are a sheer delight.
One and Other
The gardens of the former Acne showroom, a gorgeous historic townhouse, were the setting of the runway show for One and Other . Since 2017, Lene Henriksen’s creative reinventions of wardrobe classics have included pieces strongly influenced by the Scandinavian climate. Signature pieces include the cable knit sweater and oversized wool coat, in a monochrome color palette. Ms Henriksen says “To us, the perfect garment equals high quality paired with a minimized footprint. We are constantly improving our way of working and using sustainably sourced and certified products have been a fundamental part of both our design process and production, since the beginning.”
Ilag, Norwegian for “togetherness,” was established in 2020 by Renate Nipe. A modern cut and an effortless sense of cool characterise the brand. The pieces have a relaxed fit and a Scandinavian simplicity and each collection is made from natural materials, surplus materials and certified recycled materials. Ilag is committed to using long lifecycle materials, to ensure pieces last longer.
Julie Josephine was determined to create “the perfect white tee.” A perfect white blouse followed and judging from the brand’s legions of fans, she has succeeded in creating staples without rival. Like other Norwegian brands, simplicity, functionality, and longevity are essential. The perfect staples can be purchased at her shops throughout Scandinavia or online.
In 2015, designer Elisabeth Stray Pedersen took over a 60 year old outerwear factory in Oslo. The ESP brand was born. Ever since, the brand has continued to evolve the factory’s signature style: iconic blanketcoats in pure Norwegian wool. ESP wool coats and separates were shown during Oslo Runway at a rooftop urban farm. The locally produced knitwear and outerwear is made from lambswool from the crossbreed sheep that have been walking freely in the highlands around Gol in Norway.
Envelope 1976’s edgy, seasonless designs were beautifully shown off against the stark white concrete walls and floors of a vast carpark. Founders, Celine Aagaard and Pia Nordskaug’s design ethos is timeless yet fashionable, with a careful choice of materials, design and color palette – all eco-conscious and natural.
Margaret Abeshu’s up-and-coming brand showed as part of the new, ambitious support program Oslo Runway NEXT. The young designer who won the DS Fashion Talent Awards last year, showed edgy designs inspired by Drexciya, a deep-sea civilisation that memorialises over one million Africans who died in the Atlantic during the slave trade.
AWAN continues to create silky soft, breathable garments made from biodegradable Tencel TM made in Portugal and designed in Norway. Waste is minimal as the brand produces everything in small batches on demand and only creates a handful of bestsellers in advance. Collections are seasonless and made for longevity.
The next edition of Oslo Runway will be in August 2024.