The name Oslo Runway doesn’t really sum up Norway’s annual fashion week. While there are several catwalk shows, the packed programme encompasses a variety of formats, from quirky and creative presentations, to shop and showroom events, pop-ups, performances, parties, exhibitions and talks. Some of the schedule, which takes place in numerous locations around the capital during August, is invitation only, but much of it is also open to the public.
Many of the participants choose to present their collections in a less traditional way. For example, this year, internationally successful womenswear and lifestyle brand ByTimo and luxury leather accessories label Cala Jade both treated guests to sumptuous handmade and home grown lunches. Edda Gimnes ditched the models and the catwalk and opted for a ballet performance instead. ESP took to the sun-filled roof tops and Cathrine Hammel staged an installation in her beautiful house.
Cala Jade, ESP, Cathrine Hammel, ByTimo
When one thinks of Scandinavian design, one thinks of quality, but with a rather sparse aesthetic, and yet there is more to Norwegian fashion than that. “Several of the up-and-coming fashion designers and jewellery designers are moving away from a long time established minimalist point of view, to becoming more maximalist and expressive, bringing a vibrant richness to Norwegian fashion and design right now,” says CEO of Oslo Runway Elin Carlsen.
It was with some of these emerging designers that Oslo Runway kicked off this year’s event, opening with the DS Fashion Talent Award, a competition for graduating students, and Oslo Runway NEXT, a showcase for up-and-coming brands, both sponsored by DS Automobiles.
DS Fashion Talent Award winner Ingrid Petterson and nominees Sunniva Oen, Klaudia Bartoszek & Espen Haugland
The winner of the DS Fashion Talent Award Ingrid Petterson was selected because, according to the jury, “This designer showcases a unique take on what fashion can be and creates clothes that have a positive and uplifting vibe. The craftsmanship and attention to detail, where movement, bounce and a distinct knitting technique, come together as this designer’s DNA. The elegant silhouettes, interesting use of colour and curated design details have both a high-end fashion feel and an artistic value.”
Meanwhile, the Oslo Runway Tribute Award, which was created in 2021 to promote sustainable practices, is granted to a Norwegian fashion or lifestyle brand that has excelled in the past year. Fashion brand Envelope 1976, which also closed the Oslo Runway catwalk with an impressive show, bagged this year’s prize for its “seasonless aesthetics and sustainable practices”, but also for having taken Norwegian design to an international stage. “Envelope 1976 has managed to create a brand rooted in a strong identity with a community that has its heart in Norway, yet still proves to succeed internationally,” explains Carlsen. “And with that, the brand also works with using what they have, by doing more with less – setting a great example for the next generations of designers.”
Other highlights on the runway included womenswear label ILAG, with its relaxed and fun take on everyday clothing. Atelier Hinode, meanwhile, focused on precise tailoring and simplicity, with multifunctional, quality garments that are designed to last for decades.
One and Other aims to produce “creative reinventions of wardrobe classics… collections that are minimal and with a strong attention to elevated details.” While there is a focus on luxury, the Scandinavian climate has a key influence, with garments crafted to withstand everything the weather can throw at them, from storms to late summer nights. In contrast, Pearl Octopuss.y, an Oslo-based jewellery brand, fuses bold, eccentric and maximalist aesthetics with craftsmanship and attention to detail in its unique, handmade designs.
One and Other
Jewellery appears to be a key focus at Oslo Runway, rather than an afterthought. An exhibition showcasing emerging talent, curated by artist Dev Dhunsi and supported by 150-year-old jewellery house David Andersen, ran throughout the event. Diawéne, a brand founded by sisters Haddy and Aissatou Ceesay, combines the simplicity of the Scandinavian aesthetic with the traditional detail and finishes of jewellery from Senegal and The Gambia. The siblings hosted a pre-party on the opening night as well as participating in a panel talk exploring what ‘heritage’ means to the next generation of designers.
“This season of Oslo Runway provided a new wave of creativity, with designers highly inspired by handcraft, their heritage and the purity of the Norwegian landscape,” says Carlsen. “As an annual fashion showcase, we try to slow things down, and to have a non-seasonal approach. To become a more responsible industry, we need to contribute to changes in cultural behaviour, as well as to changes in the way the clothes are produced. We root for all the designers who showcased excellent examples of more sustainable practices this season, where the use of surplus materials was a recurrent theme.”
Read more about Oslo Runway here.
words. Huma Humayun
images. Courtesy of Oslo Runway